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Startups Bring Unified Storage to SMBs

Every few years we hit a "Great Minds Think Alike" moment
where  products based on the same idea appear within months of
each other.  In Hollywood this gives us "Dante's
Peak" and "Volcano" or "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon". Here in Byte and Switch's
storage world we had Lefthand, Intransa and Equallogic all releasing iSCSI
clusters and now we have startups Prana and Scale Computing both announcing
scale out unified storage systems for the SMB market.

Now like a movie where a comet impact is about to create an extinction
level event unless Tommy Lee Jones or Bruce Willis blows it up scale out NAS
isn't a new idea.  After all Isilon,
Ibrix and HP with their ExDS9100 have been building scale out NAS systems for
oil companies, movie studios and other deep pocket customers for years.  

Both vendors have 1u systems that run a Linux variant to
provide CIFS, NFS and iSCSI access to storage that's managed through a web
interface. Both also support clustering so a group of nodes can support a
single NAS name space.

Scale Computing uses SuperMicro's solid, if not cutting
edge, 1U servers with 4 500GB or 1TB SATA drives as the basis for their
system.  Each node has 1 gigabit Ethernet
ports, 1 faces the user network and the other a private inter-node communications
net.  Rather than using conventional RAID
within each node Scale's OS stripes and mirrors data so there's two copies of
any data block on two different nodes which allows system with at least 3 nodes
to survive drive or node failures. 

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