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New 96 TB Exablox OneBlox 4312 targets production storage

Exablox uses global namespace and object-based file system to present itself as NAS share. The 4312 appliance doubles the capacity of the inaugural OneBlox 3308.

Startup vendor Exablox has expanded its OneBlox object storage platform with a denser version targeted at production workloads.

The Exablox OneBlox 4312 is a 2U appliance with 12 drive slots for 8 TB SAS and SATA drives from HGST Inc. Each OneBlox 4312 appliance provides 96 TB of raw storage. Customers can scale storage to 672 TB by clustering up to seven OneBlox nodes in a ring architecture.

The 4312 has a slightly longer chassis and provides twice the raw storage of the eight bay OneBlox 3308 that came out in 2013 and tops out at 48 TB with 6 TB HGST drives. Pricing for each OneBlox 4312 appliance is $11,995.

"The 4312 moves us higher up the food chain," said Shridar Subramanian, an Exablox vice president of marketing. "The primary target for the OneBlox 3308 was backup and archival storage. Now we are starting to focus more on primary storage for a variety of technical applications" that require high throughput.

Subramanian said the new appliance provides up to 10 times the performance of the OneBlox 3308. In addition to higher capacity, it comes with dual power supplies, four Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports and two 10 GbE connections.

Exablox OneBlox object storage resembles NAS share, enables faster rebuilds

The Exablox OneBlox system uses a global namespace and proprietary object-based file system as its underlying technology. The OneBlox device presents itself to applications as a traditional NAS device. End users access OneBlox storage with an NFS or SMB file share.

Inline data deduplication and continuous data protection are built natively into the vendor's cloud-based multi-tenant OneSystem management software.

"Exablox takes advantage of object storage behind the scenes for faster rebuilds. It gives more scalability and better protection as you move to larger drives," said Scott Sinclair, a storage analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). "Combined with the list price, it's a fairly attractive dollar-per-capacity point."

Customers are able to manage both OneBlox 3308 and OneBlox 4312 rings with OneSystem, but Exablox does not enable the two appliances to be mixed and matched in a single ring.

Exablox takes advantage of object storage behind the scenes for faster rebuilds. It gives more scalability and better protection as you move to larger drives.
Scott Sinclairstorage analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group

"We got around the split-brain problem by placing seven nodes in a given ring. That way, you can lose two members of the [OneBlox 4312] ring and still move forward with the file system," said Sean Derrington, director of products at Exablox.

Straddling backup and primary markets is a challenge

Law firm Hooper Lundy and Bookman was a beta tester of the Exablox OneBlox 4312 appliance. CTO Greg Williams said the performance and capacity upgrades enable the law firm to scale its Veeam Software backup infrastructure.

"I can run more Veeam proxy servers simultaneously without any performance degradation, which enables me to meet my backup window as our data grows," Williams said. "I'm also using OneBlox to store terabytes of Unstructured data that is routinely used in our operations."

ESG's Sinclair said Exablox will compete head-on with legacy storage vendors as it moves its scale-out storage up the production stack.

"Making the jump from backup vendor to production vendor is much more difficult than moving from [protecting] less-critical workloads to primary workloads. The hurdles to overcome are higher and the competition is more intense," Sinclair said. "That said, there is precedent for this," including NetApp evolving from file-based storage to virtualized and transaction-oriented storage.

Next Steps

Exablox technology gets a new investor with Dell Ventures

Channel program allows Exablox OneBlox to be offered by qualified partners

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