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Dataram this week began shipping high availability (HA) versions of its XcelaSAN accelerators for Fibre Channel SANs. The single-unit versions were introduced more than a year ago. The XcelaSAN 100 line of redundant appliances eliminates single points of failure.
The basic specs of the appliances have not changed since their introduction, except that Dataram has doubled the amount of flash memory in the appliances. Each solid-state accelerator has 120GB of DRAM cache memory and 600GB of NAND flash memory (multi-level cell, or MLC) for persistency. Due to RAID mirroring, 300GB of the flash capacity is usable.
Each XcelaSAN appliance has eight 4Gbps Fibre Channel ports. In a dual-appliance configuration, that means 14 usable ports (two ports are used for communications between accelerators).
Dataram is conducting ongoing performance testing, but Jason Caulkins, Datarams chief technologist, claims approximately 3GBps of throughput and 450,000 IOPS per appliance.
Other features of the XcelaSAN appliances include write coalescing and write avoidance.
Although the SAN accelerators could be used in low-end SANs, Caulkins says that the primary target is mid-range Fibre Channel SANs, or storage networks with disk arrays in the class of EMC Clariion, HP EVA, IBM DS and NetApp FAS arrays.
The XcelaSAN accelerator is priced at $65,000.
In a survey of Fibre Channel SAN users commissioned by Dataram, nearly half (48%) of the users said that they address performance issues by adding more disk arrays/spindles. Another 45% said that they were considering solid-state devices to solve performance problems, although only 15% have implemented solid-state devices.
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