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BlueArc Gets Cheap

NAS vendor BlueArc Corp. is the latest storage company to roll out ATA disk drive options, aiming to provide lower-cost alternatives for its systems, which have previously been available only with Fibre Channel drives (see BlueArc Touts Multi-Tiered Storage).

The company's Multitiered Storage (MTS) strategy is supposed to let customers use both ATA and FC drive enclosures with different price/performance characteristics depending on their application needs -- all in the same rack. "This is pretty much our roadmap for the year," says Geoff Barrall, BlueArc's CTO and founder.

The lower-priced drives will let users consolidate all kinds of different data, from online archives to high-performance databases, into a single system, BlueArc says. "Normally when you deploy storage, you have to know what the storage is going to be doing for the rest of its life," says Barrall. "People don't want to spend money on 15,000-RPM disks for home directories."

The ATA-drive options, available for any of BlueArc's Si8000-series SiliconServers, are built around an ATA-to-Fibre Channel bridge licensed from Nexsan Technologies. That component allows it to slot in lower-performance, high-capacity ATA drive enclosures behind the same NAS front end as its faster FC disks. The ATA drives, manufactured by Maxtor Corp. (NYSE: MXO), include a 250-Gbyte model available now and a 300-Gbyte version that will be available later this year.

Table 1: BlueArc's Multitiered Disk Options

Interface Capacity Per Enclosure Drive Performance Unit Size
Fastest Fibre Channel 1 Tbyte (16 x 73 Gbyte) 15K RPM 3U
High Performance Fibre Channel 2.33 Tbyte (16 x 146 Gbyte) 10K RPM 3U
General Performance ATA 3.5 Tbyte (14 x 250 Gbyte) 7.2K RPM 3U
Online Archive* ATA 12.6 Tbyte (42 x 300 Gbyte) 5.4K RPM 4U
* Available later this year
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