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Starboard Storage Systems Introduces Mid-Range Unified Array

Storage vets launch new company with unified system that offers data reduction, thin provisioning, space reclamation, snapshots, and capacity expansion capabilities.

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On Monday, the brand and website of the storage company known as Reldata will go away. Taking its place is a new company, Starboard Storage Systems, which also is introducing its first product on Monday: the AC72 mid-range unified storage system, configured for mid-size businesses with applications such as Microsoft Exchange.

Starboard Storage Systems is led by veterans of the storage industry, including CEO Victor Walker, formerly of Sun and StorageTek; CMO Karl Chen, formerly of LeftHand and HP; and vice president of product management Lee Johns, formerly of HP and Compaq. Kirill Malkin, formerly of Reldata, is the founder and CTO.

The AC72 storage system is named after the America’s Cup AC72 high-performance catamaran. The storage system ships completely through the channel and is targeted at the small and mid-size enterprise, where data is growing at as much as 40% a year, according to analysts. Starboard is targeting the system at companies looking to replace 10- to 20-year-old storage area networks and network-attached storage systems with a unified storage system such as the AC72, which ships with data reduction, thin provisioning, space reclamation, snapshots, and capacity expansion capabilities.

[ Managing big data introduces a new level of compliance challenges. See Big Data's Dark Side: Compliance Issues. ]

The AC72 is intended to run mixed workloads of unstructured, structured, and virtualized data. It is designed to be managed by an IT generalist, and at $70,000 to $200,000 includes automatic storage tiering and an architecture that allows storage virtualization, load balancing, and a variety of hardware configurations.

The AC72 has a capacity of 7.2TB to 24TB, consisting of either 12 15,000RPM SAS drives or 12 2TB nearline 7,200RPM SAS drives. It includes a solid state drive tier consisting of 200GB of write cache and 200GB of spillover read cache. The controller for the single- or dual-controller system is an Intel Xeon 5600 processor. The AC72 connects to the network with both 1 and 10GbE or 8Gbps Fibre Channel.

Three models of the AC72 and two expansion shelves, which can be stacked to support greater storage capacities, are available. The AC72 Storage System has a maximum capacity of 24TB; the AC72 ES16 maxes out at 224TB; and the AC72 ES45 supports up to 474TB.

At present, the AC72 ships configured for different workloads--what Starboard calls application-crafted storage--with each box preconfigured for Microsoft Exchange Microsoft Exchange workloads, file sharing with CIFS or NFS, and virtualization with VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V, iSCSI, or Fibre Channel.

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

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