Xiotech announces new array, management software

Xiotech Corp. announced on Friday that it will soon be shipping three new products including new storage analysis software and an updated version of its storage array with up to 1.8 petabytes of RAIDed storage.

The product set is aimed at virtual desktop environments, enabling more efficient management of random I/O storage traffic by allowing centralized management and on-the-fly volume creation, as well as real-time data analytics for performance-sensitive applications.

The company also announced the next release of its ICE Manager software. Version 2.5 can now manage all of Xiotech’s ICE-based arrays through a single user interface. Previously, the storage arrays had to be managed through separate interfaces.

Xiotech’s new storage array, the Emprise 9000, follows the Emprise 7000-series box and is based on the company’s existing 3U (5.25-in. high) storage blade technology that Xiotech calls an Intelligent Storage Element (ISE) array.

The ISE is basically a self-contained drive tray that comes with all the essential functions of a storage area network (SAN). The ISE tray includes the disk drives, controller and management software.

As new trays are added, not only does capacity increase but so does processing speed. Xiotech’s ISE trays also come with dual power, cooling units and battery modules.

The Emprise 9000 scales from two to 12 controllers per tray and includes SAN virtualization software, which creates a layer of abstraction and pools disk capacity behind a single user interface.

It can connect via Fibre Channel or iSCSI protocols and can perform thin provisioning, as well as data snapshots, replication and clones.

The array’s virtualization capability allows for simplified provisioning and capacity deployments, which is particularly useful in virtual desk top environments using Citrix as well as virtual server environments using VMware and HyperV, says Xiotech’s chief marketing officer, Brian Reagan.

“The acceleration in the virtual desktop market that we’re seeing is very promising,” Reagan said. “At same time we’re hearing from customers there are some real limitations to using existing storage approaches to address these virtual environments, like choke points.”

Reagan said virtual desktop environments can task storage arrays with 20 to 40 I/O’s per second per PC, and because workloads are not linear or predictable over time, it’s hard to tweak an array for performance and capacity allocation.

For example, Reason pointed to “boot storms”, “anti-virus storms” and “e-mail storms,” where a workforce may bring up their computers around the same time tasking the storage environment, but employees then use the applications more randomly throughout the day with spikes here and there.

“So it’s very bursty,” he said. “Traditional storage architectures don’t play … with non-sequential I/O.”

The Emprise 9000 differs from its Emprise 7000 predecessor in that it can scale to 255TB per logical unit number (LUN) where the 7000 was able to scale to only 2TB.

The array can also perform cloning from data snapshots, offers data replication over iSCSI and can be configured for either 4Gbit/sec or 8Gbit/sec Fibre Channel.

The Emprise 9000 array performs thin provisioning, which allocates storage to application servers as needed instead of over provisioning capacity as is typical.

The array has four gigabit Ethernet ports per controller and comes with the option of adding two 10Gbit Ethernet ports per controller.

Combined with Xiotech’s new ISE Manager and ISE Analyzer software users can parse, provision, manage and measure all aspects of storage performance and utilization through a single interface, Reagan said.

Xiotech plans to begin shipping ICE Manager this month and the ICE Analyzer and Emprise 9000 array later this quarter.

The ISE Analyzer sells for US$15,921 and the ISE Manager software sells for $1,666.67 per ISE blade. Xiotech was unable to provide a price for the Emprise 9000.

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