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HP recently introduced a clustered system purely for storage, the HP StorageWorks 9100 Extreme Data Storage System (ExDS9100). The ExDS9100 combines HP C-class blades running Linux, several 82-drive storage blocks, the PolyServe clustering file system, and management software that "treats the ExDS9100 as a single big blade," said Ian Duncan, director of NAS marketing for HP.
"It's scalable NAS for less than $2 a gigabyte," said Duncan. "File-based storage is where the growth is for 90 percent of the companies HP is talking to."
ExDS9100 is dense (12TB per U) and extremely easy to scale. It uses blades for compute units, but you don't need a lot of blades for the amount of storage supported because the drives aren't directly attached to the blades. The unit takes from one to four, four-blade performance blocks, and up to 10 82GB RAID 6 storage blocks (ranging from 246TB to 820TB in capacity).
You can scale both capacity and, for CPU-intensive storage applications like on-demand video, performance. "A newly plugged-in performance block is detected and initialized in literally seconds," asserted Duncan. ExDS9100 provides access to other systems via both via NFS and HTTP protocols and multiple storage systems can be linked together with PolyServe.
Duncan sees three types of customers needing Web 2.0 storage infrastructure. The first are pure Web 2.0 companies with a business model that delivers services or content over the Web. Second is existing traditional enterprises dealing with pockets of content explosion in their own corporate data. Life science companies sequencing genomes may produce hundreds of TB in a week. Third is traditional enterprises wanting to do SaaS. A good example is HP's own Snapfish on-line photo storage service, which has served as a proving ground for ExDS9100.
Still To Come
EMC (NYSE: EMC) has made announcements in the Web 2.0 storage area, and although details are yet to come, EMC's stature in the storage industry gets attention. In addition to the Fortress SaaS storage platform announced in January as the infrastructure behind its Mozy backup services (but not as a product itself), EMC has also been discussing since last year two products with code names "Hulk" and "Maui." Hulk may be a clustered NAS hardware system, and Maui is purported to be clustered file system software of a "global" scale. But users will have to wait for details as EMC's strategy evolves.