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Avere Systems Upgrades NAS Appliance Line To Deliver More 'Horsepower'

Network-attached storage (NAS) vendor Avere Systems has added to its FXT line of NAS appliances with two new models that feature faster Intel Xeon quad-core processors, more DRAM capacity and both 1Gbit Ethernet and 10Gbit Ethernet ports. An industry analyst says that the new models represent a "horsepower bump" for Avere and can be paired with a customer's existing NAS appliances to deliver an extra storage tier and provide scale-out capability to handle growing data storage needs.

The FXT 2550 and FXT 2750 appliances are based on Avere's A-3 Architecture, which includes three core Avere technologies, the company says: a Tiered File System that dynamically tiers data by moving it to the optimal storage tier based on demand; scale-out clustering, which provides high availability across a cluster of up to 25 FXT appliances; and virtualization and visibility, by leveraging Avere's recently announced global namespace (GNS) capability to manage multiple heterogeneous NAS systems as one, whether storage resources are on site or in the cloud. The FXT 2550 includes 72GBytes of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), 1GByte of non-volatile random-access memory (NVRAM) and 3.6TBytes of 15K serial attached SCSI (SAS) disk storage, as well as six 1Gbit Ethernet ports and two copper 10Gbit Ethernet ports for a list price of $72,500. The FXT 2750 is similar but substitutes the SAS disk tier for 512GBytes of single-level cell solid state disk (SSD) storage for $82,500. A version of the 2750 with dual 20 Gbit Ethernet optical ports sells for $85,500.

The value of Avere Systems appliances is that they can run alongside a data center's existing NAS appliances and extend their useful life by providing a high-performance storage tier, says Terri McClure, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategies Group. "Unlike a lot of performance-boosting solutions that just provide a front-end cache, Avere creates a scale-out virtual NAS environment that optimizes the existing infrastructure, without ripping out and replacing it," McClure says.

More well-known NAS technologies from companies such as EMC and NetApp were designed to handle generally small file requests, but, with increasing demand for delivering larger files or streaming video, those systems, even if users add more disk drives to meet demand, still eventually become a bottleneck, she says. "But if you drop the Avere system in front, it provides a tier that can handle the bigger data requirements without a complete system upgrade," McClure says.

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