This Apple Xserve RAID box looks simply amazing. I thought about this hardware again as I read Steven Hill's current issue column on IP Storage Devices. Steven looked at storage technology and solutions for mid to small companies. He didn't cover the Apple solution directly but Don MacVittie mentions it in his Survivor's Guide to 2005: Storage and Servers column.
Want to know why I like this Apple system? Small footprint, good performance, fault tolerance, capacity, and price. Check out the reliability built into the architecture. Read on......
Don MacVittie wrote in his column:
"Apple Computer and Xiotech Corp. are the front-runners in what will turn into a growing trend: Fibre Channel SAN in a box, a full-blown SAN with a low price tag and easy configuration. "
The options start at $5,999 for 1 terabyte of storage. How about fully configured for $16,597 via the Apple online store you get 5.6 terabytes of storage, cache battery backup modules, spare parts, and onsite service for 3 years. You need to factor in fiber channel cards for your servers that will connect to the Xserve and maybe also a fiber channel switch if you want to go that route for more than two hosts. But any way you look at it this is one of the most fully packed and lower cost options for storage.
I have found this system from Apple to be an incredible price value. It also appears to meet the needs of most smaller firms for storage. I would think it could really be good for Exchange and SQL for instance. Again, Don wrote:
"For the data center of a large enterprise, FC SAN-in-a-box storage space may be too limited to consider. But for the data center of a small or midsize organization, such a SAN may be just the thing to provide storage on demand at the performance of Fibre Channel and the cost of iSCSI or NAS."
Okay, I am not sure why I am in love with this particular piece of technology but as your next question might be "so do you guys at ACME have one of these" I would have to answer no. We did quite a bit of work looking into our SAN requirements and we opted for a traditional vendor versus a technology like this from Apple. But then again we are larger than a medium or small-sized firm and that is really the niche for the Apple Xserve.