Compellent Extends Storage Center SAN Architecture

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Compellent Technologies is now shipping a new version of its flagship SAN system – Storage Center 5.4 – with virtualization software and a hardware refresh that allow for the creation of a grid of multiple Compellent storage arrays managed as single pool of storage.

At the heart of the 5.4 release is Compellent’s (NYSE: CML) Live Volume software, which acts as a storage hypervisor and simultaneously presents storage to two Compellent arrays, allowing storage administrators to shift volumes between systems to provide continuous data availability.

Live Volume works in concert with virtual machine (VM) technologies, such as VMware vMotion or Microsoft Live Migration, by automatically moving associated storage volumes when VMs move throughout the data center. In a Storage Center grid, storage can be accessed and shared from multiple locations. Live Volume works with multiple hypervisors, including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer.

Bob Fine, director of product marketing, said Storage Center 5.4 with Live Volume represents a new approach for Compellent as it enables a larger system architecture.

“The key to Storage Center 5.4 is its software and at the heart of that is Live Volume. Live Volume acts as a storage hypervisor and provides a virtual [management] layer across multiple Storage Center systems to create one, larger system,” Fine said. “Much like VMotion for VMware allows an administrator to move an application, Live Volume has that same capability on the storage side by automatically moving storage volumes to the proper side of the system.”

Compellent’s Enterprise Manager multi-site storage management tool serves as the umbrella management dashboard, overseeing multiple arrays whether they are local or geographically dispersed.

Enterprise Manager allows customers to initiate replication between arrays, access server virtualization infrastructure and manage any number of Live Volumes between Compellent systems through a single interface.

The 5.4 release also includes a VMware vSphere 4.1 client plug-in and the Compellent Storage Adapter for Citrix StorageLink, which enables IT managers to create and recover storage for Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer VMs.

Beyond the software enhancements, Storage Center has also been given a hardware makeover. The new Series 40 controller uses Intel Xeon quad-core processors for a performance boost and support for 6Gbps 2.5-inch SAS drives, which are two-thirds smaller and twice the speed of their 3Gbps 3.5-inch counterparts. As many as 24 of the 2.5-inch drives fit in one 2U enclosure, with each drive providing four 6Gbps lanes.

Storage Center 5.4 supports FCoE and 10Gbps iSCSI connectivity, including Cisco’s converged network architecture and its line of Nexus multi-protocol network switches.

All told, a single Storage Center system is capable of scaling in capacity to the multi-petabyte range.

According to Compellent, a typical Storage Center 5.4 configuration with 6TB configuration of tiered 2.5” 6Gb/s SAS storage starts at $73,000 and includes clustered Series 40 controllers, software licenses including Live Volume, Enterprise Manager, Data Progression tiering and Remote Instant Replay replication.

From a business perspective, Compellent is on the rise. The company recently reported record revenue in Q3 of $42.1 million, a 31 percent boost over Q3 2009 revenue. GAAP net income was $3.3 million (or 10 cents a share). Gross margin was 55.9 percent and the company gained 179 new customers in the quarter, bringing its total to 2, 303.

As reported by sister site InfoStor, Compellent’s stock price jumped more than 32 upon its earnings report, surpassing $26 per share – an all-time high. As of this report, the stock was trading at $25.32. Part of the boost was due to reports that Compellent was actively seeking prospective buyers and held talks with Qatalyst Partners, the firm that spearheaded the $2.4 billion acquisition of 3PAR by HP and, according to reports, engaged with Isilon Systems, which was just acquired by EMC for $2.25 billion.

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Kevin Komiega
Kevin Komiega
Kevin Komiega is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor.

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