Storage Vendor Nexsan Touts Archiving-as-a-Service

New features in Assureon 6.0 are designed to appeal to service providers

October 6, 2008

3 Min Read
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Jack Henry & Associates, which provides a wide range of IT services to more than 8,800 customers in the financial services industry, is a proponent of archiving as a service, which it describes as a way for customers to cut costs and improve security and disaster recovery by outsourcing their hardware storage needs. The service provider is using Assureon 6.0, the latest version of a disk-based archiving platform from Nexsan Technologies Inc. , as the underlying archiving architecture for its Synergy Express enterprise content management service.

The archiving-as-a-service offering lets customers retain control over their own content, while Jack Henry stores it in a secure facility and replicates it to another location for disaster recovery purposes. The Nexsan Assureon 6.0, which is being introduced today, "has proven to be an ideal image storage component for our new service," said Stacey Zengel, general manager of imaging solutions for Jack Henry, in a statement.

Nexan's content-addressable storage archive can now be used to offer an economical archive as a service with the addition of several new features, Bob Woolery, senior vice president of marketing at Nexsan, told Byte and Swtich. They include the ability to separate customer data on individual drives to ensure greater privacy or to let several customers use shared resources for a less expensive service; the elimination of object limits through the use of virtual file system, which operate as an individual CAS archive within a shared system; AutoMAID capabilities that move unused data to disks that are slowed or powered down completely to save power and cooling costs, and what it calls "digital fingerprinting" features that track the chain of custody for each file for compliance and auditing purposes.

"Some of our customers have seen power reductions of 50 percent to 70 percent, which brings down operating costs," Wollery said. The Assureon can provide several levels of "green" for customers who want to determine their own tradeoffs between performance and cost savings. It can spin down or slow down storage disks or park the head while the disk is in a light sleep, the company said.

The product, which also offers information-lifecycle management and encryption features, is available in packages with 42 TB of SATA or SAS drives in a 4U-high rack, or the Assureon software can be installed on an industry-standard server. "We are offering Tier 1 storage at Tier 2 prices, trying to price disk storage as close to tape as possible," Wollery said.Earlier this year, Nexsan introduced its SASBoy device, which it touted as an energy-efficient, fast-access alternative to SATA-based secondary storage systems. The 4.2-Tbyte device was a departure from Nexsans traditional SATA-based offerings and was the vendor’s first product to combine SAS and MAID-style technology.

At the time, at least one analyst called it a bold move to package SAS as a secondary storage option. "I am not aware of any archival platform that is not SATA. Nexsan is kind of bucking the trend," said Taneja Group analyst Arun Taneja. "They are making the argument that although SAS is a high-performance drive, there is a place for it in the world of secondary storage."

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