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Nexsan's Latest Unified Storage Systems

Nexsan on Tuesday unveiled the NST series, a unified storage system that supports both block-level and file-level storage.

The systems, which attach to the network via Ethernet or to the storage area network via iSCSI, can be scaled with 7,200RPM Serial ATA (SATA) for capacity or with solid state drives (SSDs) and 15,000 RPM Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drives for performance. The systems support simultaneous iSCSI, CIFS, and NFS and provide integrated dynamic
provisioning and capacity expansion, application-consistent snapshots, and asynchronous and synchronous replication capability.

Nexsan's NST series uses the Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Services Provider to snapshot Windows servers and can support manual or scheduled snapshots
for Linux or UNIX servers.

The NST series is managed by FASTier Cache software, which provides the automatic and non-disruptive tiering of data to the SSD, SAS, or SATA drives. SATA and SAS drive random IO performance is tripled with the use of FASTier Cache.

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As many as 64TB LUNs are supported on an IP SAN. Three models are available--the NST5100, NST5300, and NST5500--which support iSCSI only, NAS only, or both iSCSI and NAS, respectively. NAS-only and iSCSI-only customers can upgrade to unified SAN/NAS storage.

Nexsan's FASTier Cache works as a write journal, where write transactions are drained and applied to the underlying rotating media. SSDs with a SAS interface contain a second copy of each controller's
write journal, which is used to aggregate write blocks without increasing the wear on flash memory. Onboard flash is used only in abrupt power-down operations, to protect data.

In the NST series, the SSDs are single-level cell with a 100-200GB capacity, which can be scaled to over 3TB in size to accommodate entire working sets of data.

Further, the NST series uses 4-24 Intel Xeon processors, 12-192 GB of DRAM, as many as 12 RAID engines, and as many as 360 drives, for a total capacity of over 1PB. They contain up to 12 1GbE ports, as many as four 10GbE ports, and connect to storage via as many as 12 8Gb Fibre
Channel ports.

The NST series is Nexsan's entry into the enterprise, placing it in competition with Dell Compellent, Dell EqualLogic, NetApp FAS3200, and EMC VNX5500 arrays.

Pricing starts at $16,000 for the arrays, which are available now.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.

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