Dot Hill Doubles Fibre Channel Bandwidth

Storage hardware OEM Dot Hill Systems today unveiled the 3000 series, an all-new line of rack-mounted storage area network arrays that support the 8Gb/s Fibre Channel speed variant as well as dual-interface models that add 1Gb/s iSCSI support, effectively bridging the two protocols without the need for a second network. The 3000 series is available now to OEMs and will begin shipping under the Dot Hill brand next week.

February 24, 2010

3 Min Read
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Storage hardware OEM Dot Hill Systems today unveiled the 3000 series, an all-new line of rack-mounted storage area network arrays that support the 8Gb/s Fibre Channel speed variant as well as dual-interface models that add 1Gb/s iSCSI support, effectively bridging the two protocols without the need for a second network. The 3000 series is available now to OEMs and will begin shipping under the Dot Hill brand next week.

The new 3000 series doubles the specified throughput of Dot Hill's 2000-series arrays. The 3730 (3.5-inch) and 3720 (2.5-inch) are a pair of dual-port 8Gb/s Fibre Channel 2U arrays that respectively can handle 12 and 24 drives each. The 3930 and 3920 are dual-interface models, with 1Gb/s iSCSI interface upgradeable to 10Gb/s.

"This lets you introduce iSCSI into an established Fibre Channel space without having to disrupt it," said Andy Mills, Dot Hill's vice president of marketing and business development, speaking of companies who'd like to migrate to from Fibre Channel iSCSI or vice versa. "We're cost effectively bringing Fibre Channel into the low-end space. This reduces the number of channels needed because you can pump more data through and reducing the complexities of maintaining multiple storage networks." 

Mills said the move also is "designed to 'uplife' our 4Gb/s Fibre Channel products firmly into the 8Gb/s generation" and "reinvent the entry level," with street prices expected to be less than US$15,000 for a system fully loaded with serial ATA (SATA) drives and a Fibre Channel host connect, or around $20,000 for the faster 6Gb/s SAS (serial-attached SCSI) drives.  

"Choice is always good when it comes to storage," said George Crump, founder and chief steward of Storage Switzerland and Network Computing contributor. "I'm always nervous about iSCSI-only solutions, so if you can get Fibre Channel and iSCSI in the same box, not needing a separate network is a good thing, assuming the technology works." Crump confirmed that the pricing is where it needs to be. "This is very interesting. If you want Fibre Channel performance, you've got a cost effective 8Gb solution."Dot Hill also has added remote replication capabilities to AssuredRemote, its optional embedded array-to-array copy tool, which simplifies off-site data storage. "For the SMB, remote replication for disaster recovery has been an expensive luxury," asserted Hill. "But with remote replication, AssuredRemote allows you to place one array in a primary location and another in a secondary location. You don't need to install any additional software or maintain a server. It's all done transparently inside the box." Mills inferred that RemoteAssured, which is currently available only to OEMs, will be offered to the public in a few weeks in the forthcoming R-series arrays.

With the growth of server virtualization, and its requisite storage needs, organizations have increasingly looked to transition storage systems from the relatively expensive and inflexible Fibre Channel technology to an emerging standard such as iSCSI, says Mills. Until now, the only option has been to employ parallel storage networks. "There's a cost implication with that," he said, adding that since iSCSI uses Ethernet, a dual-interface array lets companies keep Fibre Channel and add on more flexibly. "With two host connects, you can provision Fibre Channel, and as you employ server virtualization, which uses iSCSI more and more, you can mix SATA with SAS and do a data-in-place migration and you're not disturbing the infrastructure."

Dot Hill's 3000 series arrays are expandable with JBODs (just a bunch of disks), and can control a maximum of 144 drives totaling 192TB. General availability is set for March 5.

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