Xiotech Takes the Wraps Off Emprise
ORLANDO, FLA. Xiotech has debuted its new storage line borne from its November acquisition of Seagate's Advanced Storage Architecture unit.
The Emprise 5000 direct attached storage (DAS) unit and Emprise 7000 storage area network (SAN) can eliminate maintenance, prevent drive failures, offer a five-year warranty and can scale the 7000 goes from one terabyte to one petabyte at the same price point of competing products, according to the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based vendor.
The debut yesterday at Storage Networking World in Orlando pulled in press, industry analysts and even just a few curious users all eager to see what cost Xiotech $40 million.
The need for faster, more reliable and more resilient storage is a continuing demand, given the increasing data loads enterprises are managing. Enterprises are also wrestling with keeping storage costs down, and products that can provide greater performance, cheaper administration and higher reliability are guaranteed to get attention.
"These are the biggest, fastest, most robust and reliable products on the market," Xiotech CEO Casey Powell told the crowd.
While Xiotech is aiming to take on EMC marketplace, Powell isn't bashful about his full intentions.
"We want to get everyone and every customer," he said in an interview, "no matter what industry or vertical."
Xiotech claims its patented Intelligent Storage Element technology (ISE), which features a self-healing architecture, provides reliability that is 100 times greater than today's drives or drive enclosures.
Xiotech CTO Steve Sicola, whom Powell introduced to the crows as the "father of ISE," said the product solves the various issues facing NAS and SAN environments, from cooling and vibration issues to better connector and controller design.
"This is the beginning of being able to build autonomic SANs. We've fixed the ills of the SCSI interface," Sicola said. "Today's drive have gotten too big, and rebuilds take too long, so our approach is to recover in smaller increments."
Noting research that reported that 50 to 85 percent of drive failures in the field are "no trouble found" scenarios, the CTO said ISE technology provides "managed reliability and prevents failure."
The technology was developed over six years with more than 100 engineers, who developed 75 patents for the product.
The Emprise 5000, built on a single ISE, is self-enclosed and can be configured for high capacity or high performance. According to Xiotech, Storage Performance Council (SPC) benchmarks put it as No. 1 in lowest cost per SPC-1 I/Os per second (IOPS) for disk arrays and per SPC-2 megabytes per second (MB/sec).
The Emprise 7000 system, which supports up to 64 ISEs, is managed by dual controllers. The stack features the same functionalities found on Xiotech's Magnitude 3D 4000, such as the Web Services-based ICON Manager interface, virtualization, distributed cluster architecture and a suite of data replication units.
During the press conference, several beta customers provided testimony on the products' capabilities.
Newsweek CTO Len Carella told the audience he's "never seen anything like it" in his 25 years in the technology business. The network systems manager at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, called it "really impressive" in a statement.
But performance, reliability, stability and even the five-year warranty might not push Emprise into user environments for a few reasons, according to industry watchers.
"The one weakness is its general applicability in a market driven by niches and specifics," said Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Mark Peters.
A key aspect will be whether Xiotech can attract some OEMs to spread its storage gospel. One partner, Microsoft, is already on board.
"We recognize scale, reliability and performance are key attributes that customers seek as they manage ever-expanding capacity," said Bala Kasiviswanathan, director of storage solutions marketing at Microsoft, in a release. "We look forward to working with Xiotech to test and find opportunities to deliver value to our customers based on Windows platforms."
The ISEs for the Emprise 5000 and Emprise 7000 systems, which will be available in June, come in three flavors: high-performance (2.2TB), balanced (4.8TB) and high-capacity (16TB) configurations. The ISE features two sealed DataPacs, redundant power and cooling, 96 hours of battery backup and redundant Managed Reliability Controllers.
The self-healing aspect is software that detects, then repairs, disk failures and issues without interrupting performance. The "spare-in-place" technology automatically rebuilds data to another area within the DataPac if needed.
According to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, the Xiotech ISE casts light on a pair of storage trends: the desire for increased performance/reliability and the need for solutions that scale easily and effectively. He, too, believes Xiotech's primary hurdle will be getting its message heard.
"One task for Xiotech will be in getting the word out about the potential benefits of ISE. But a bigger challenge will be in effectively defining how and why this new technology is superior to better-known and established enterprise storage solutions," said King.
Xiotech's CEO said he doesn't expect any issues with that challenge, however.
"This breaks the EMC business model of selling replacement disks and storage maintenance to its customers," Powell said in an interview. "It's pretty spectacular."
Article courtesy of Internet News