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Nimbus SSD Competes On Price With Hard Drives

E-Series solid state drive array brings enterprise features such as scalability, fault tolerance, and high availability at $10 per gigabyte.

Nimbus Data unveiled Tuesday an all-solid state drive (SSD) array with high availability, fault-tolerance, and scalability.

The E-Series array is one of the first solid state drive arrays to offer scalability, fault tolerance, and high availability at $10 per gigabyte, a price that customers can afford.

Until now, SSD users were able to overlook the enterprise features that their storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) systems provided and were attracted to the performance of more expensive solid-state appliances. While solid-state appliances offered high performance at a higher price tag than traditional hard disk drives, the I/O per second cost was a fraction of that of hard drives.

But the early solid state systems were not widely adopted because of scalability and connectivity. They would scale to only about a terabyte of capacity in a single array and they connected via a narrow set of block storage protocols. In addition, file-based arrays only worked as front-end caches for existing NAS appliances. Capabilities like thin provisioning, inline deduplication, snapshots, and synchronous imaging were missing.

[ It's a challenge to sort through the maze of storage products to find the right solution. Are There Too Many Storage Solutions? ]

With the launch of the E-Class arrays, Nimbus has attained this data storage nirvana at a price that is competitive with hard disk drive arrays. The E-Class arrays include software features to support iSCSI, network file system (NFS), common internet file system (CIFS), Fibre Channel, and InfiniBand connections. The software also supports replication, mirroring, deduplication, and encryption, and finally, capacity aggregation, RAID, and a file system that is optimized for SSDs. These characteristics make it available as a block- or file-based system that users can access concurrently. Each feature is provided in a single-, all-inclusive license fee.

The E-Class consists of redundant controllers with multi-path connections to 24 solid state storage enclosures. Each controller has four active I/O modules that can use 10 GbE, 1 GbE, or iSCSI to support CIFS or NFS. Another I/O configuration supports Fibre Channel and InfiniBand. Automatic controller failover is enabled, as is hot-swappable flash memory, power supplies, and cooling fans.

The E-Class also supports RAID 5, 6, and 10 and can scale to 500 TB from a starting capacity of 10 TB. This scalability makes it useful for database, virtualization, high-performance computing, and cloud storage, according to Nimbus. The E-Class also supports VMware, Citrix Xenserver, and Microsoft Hyper-V. And the E-Class supports the power-saving capabilities of SSDs--it uses only five watts of power per TB.

Nimbus Data's E-Class is available now starting at $10/GB.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.

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