Nexsan Unleashes Its DATABeast

SAN specialist takes the wraps off its 4-Pbyte SAS/SATA combo

July 22, 2008

3 Min Read
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Nexsan has merged SAS and SATA drives into a single system, touting its DATABeast as a new form of tiered storage.

We believe that there is a need in the market for a new class of storage,” says Bob Woolery, Nexsan’s senior vice president of marketing. “What we saw in the larger SME space was that customers were going from storing tens of Terabytes to storing hundreds of Terabytes.”

Previously, Nexsan offered either SAS or SATA storage in dedicated systems such as the vendor’s SASBoy or SATABeast , making the DATABeast the vendor’s first product to consolidate different media.

The DATABeast, which is available in 42U and 25U configurations, can scale up to 4 Pbytes in a single system. The 42U configuration uses a dozen 336-Tbyte racks, and the 25U version uses 24 168-Tbyte racks, according to Woolery, who is aiming the DATABeast at businesses looking for a mixture of fast-access SAS and low cost SATA.

“Where we see this being used is [things like] medical imaging and medical scanning for hospitals,” he adds. “They can put medical images on the SATA storage, but if they want to review those slides, or send the data quickly, they can send it cover to the SAS storage.”Nexsan is not the first vendor to put SAS and SATA into the same system, although the startup is pushing the capacity envelope, according to SSG chief analyst Deni Connor.

“Wasabi Systems with their iSCSI arrays have a SAS and SATA intermix, but these don’t have the scalability of the systems from Nexsan,” she says, explaining that RAID Inc. has also been busy in this space. “RAID does have some large customers because they are able to build modularly, but not within a single array or enclosure.”

Nexsan’s Woolery told Byte and Switch that the DATABeast offers both block and file-level storage access. “Four-gig Fibre Channel is our block-level access [and] file-level access is [via] NAS, CIFS, and NFS.”

Analysts feel that the DATABeast represents a step in the right direction at a time when users are looking for new ways to deal with their data explosion.

”This allows the customer to say ‘what are my requirements, how much is focused on performance’?” explains Mike Kahn, managing director of the Clipper Group. “It’s really about providing the right mix of storage to enterprises and medium-sized businesses.”The analyst describes the DATABeast as offering a “second and a half tier” of storage, and expects that other vendors will follow suit.

”The reality is that you can use the same controller to control SAS and SATA, so that capability will result in more products like this,” he says. “It’s not a surprising thing to do.”

Nexsan, which along with BlueArc, is one of only two storage vendors pursuing an IPO, is using the DATABeast to push its green credentials.

Like the vendor’s other offerings, the DATABeast uses AutoMAID,which is Nexsan’s take on Massive Array of Idle Disks (MAID) .

”This allows you to save energy on this system,” says Woolery. “We allow you to select the level of energy savings on those disks that are not being used.”Pricing for the DATABeast, which is available now, starts at $200,000.

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  • BlueArc Corp.

  • The Clipper Group Inc.

  • Nexsan Technologies Inc.

  • Raid Inc.

  • Wasabi Systems Inc.

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