BlueArc Bulks Up Clustered NAS & File Services

NAS vendor unveils high-end systems and teams up with HDS and Brocade

March 5, 2008

3 Min Read
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BlueArc finally unveiled its family of high-end NAS products today, attempting to ride the growing wave of unstructured data storage solutions.

BlueArc hinted during its event for media and analysts in Boston last week that it was aiming to bulk up its flagship Titan hardware. This morning, BlueArc took the wraps off its high-end 3000 Series device and unveiled a raft of partnerships.

As part of BlueArc's ongoing attempts to challenge EMC and NetApp, the company extended its OEM deal with HDS, which will sell the BlueArc hardware as the NAS Platform 3000 Series.

BlueArc has also opened up a set of APIs on the 3000 series, which will be used to deliver file-based services from third-party vendors. The first real glimpse of this strategy was this morning, when BlueArc announced plans to offer search, indexing, and classification services from HDS on the Titan 3000 series.

HDS is not the only vendor that BlueArc is getting close to at the moment. The startup also inked a partnership with Brocade today to resell that vendor's StorageX file virtualization solution."This will allow us to extend our global namespace beyond the BlueArc product," explains Steve Daheb, BlueArc's vice president of marketing and business development, adding that additional services such as de-duplication are also on the roadmap.

This push into specialized file-based services underlines BlueArc's desire to seek out additional revenues in large enterprise environments at a time of economic uncertainty.

"We're going to remain focused on high-end, data intensive, markets," says Mike Gustafson, the BlueArc CEO, explaining his desire to target data-hungry sectors such as Web 2.0, oil exploration, and film-making, which still have money to spend.

The 4-Pbyte Titan 3100 and 3200 devices offer double the capacity and a significant performance hike on BlueArc's previous high-end offerings, the Titan 2100 and 2200, which will now be end-of-lifed.

The 3200, for example, can handle 200,000 IOPS and has a maximum throughput of 20 Gbit/s, compared to the 2200's 100,000 IOPS and 10-Gbit/s of throughput.The 3100, which replaces the 2100, offers 100,000 IOPS and 10-Gbit/s throughput, compared to its predecessor's 75,000 IOPS and 5-Gbit/s.

BlueArc says that it will price its 3000 series hardware, which is available now, in the same range as the 2000 series offerings, which start at around $100,000.

The 3000 series systems have already caught the eye of at least one user thanks to their scaleability.

"We're actively looking at replacing CXFS SANs [from Silicon Graphics] with NAS products," says Tom Burns, director of post-production infrastructure at movie company Technicolor, whose firm generates up to three-and-a-half Tbytes of new content every night.

"Storage is my lifeblood -- I will be taking a look at the Titan 3000," adds Burns, describing the CXFS file system as "a bit long in the tooth."Despite BlueArc's attempts to woo enterprise users onto its high-end NAS offerings, the company still faces a stiff challenge from NetApp's FAS and V Series offerings, as well as EMC's Celerra products.

The BlueArc CEO admits that NetApp is the 800-pound gorilla in the NAS jungle, but he insists that there is plenty of room for other beasts. "I think that NetApp continues to be the market leader relative to market share, but we're continually attempting to bring customers an alternative," says Gustafson, mentioning in particular BlueArc's 256-Tbyte file system, which he compares to NetApp's 16-Tbyte OnTap 7G.

  • BlueArc Corp.

  • Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • NetApp Inc.

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