Intel Serves Storage With Its Chips

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Intel is just a chip vendor, right? Not anymore.

A casual glance at the company’s home page reveals news stories about rugged PCs for elementary schools, the thinnest laptop in the world and even online gaming. Of course, there is plenty of real estate given over to processors, too.

But look to the left of the page at the product section. Below processors, chipsets and motherboards are categories for desktops, laptops and servers. And within the server categories, you can drill down into a series of storage servers.

“Intel has made it easier and more cost-effective for storage solution providers to bring enterprise-class storage solutions to businesses of all sizes,” said Mike Wall, general manager for the Intel Storage Group.

He’s talking about products such as the Intel Storage Server SSR212MC2, the Intel Entry Storage System SS4000-E, and the Intel Storage Systems SSR212CC, SSR212PP and SSR212MA.

Entry-Level NAS

The SS4000-E is an aimed at the small office, remote office and home network markets. Costing less than large file servers, the SS4000-E is a NAS appliance that manages shared files by user names or groups. It also features a client backup and recovery system.

The SS4000-E can connect to a Gigabit Ethernet network and support up to four SATAdrives. It has a Web-based interface and can be used in a RAID Level 5, 10 or 1 arrangement.

Flexible Storage Appliance

The Intel Storage System SSR212CC also targets the SME market. It can be coupled with various types of software to create a SAN, NAS or DAS appliance. As a basic building block for storage, it provides from three to six TB within a 2U rackmount form factor. With 12 x 250 GB SATA drives, it provides 3 TB. Disks can also be 400 GB or 500 GB.

Low Voltage Intel Xeon 2.80 GHz processors are used, which have a 800 MHz system bus and 1 MB L2 cache. Memory is expandable up to 12 GB. OSes supported include Red Hat Enterprise Linux and various versions of Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003.

EMC Inside

The Intel Storage System SSR212PP is actually based on EMC’s CLARiiON AX150. This is an SME platform that can be used for DAS, SAN or NAS. CLARiiON, in any case, utilizes Intel processors. This is part of an overall collaboration agreement between the two companies, with Intel pushing this product via its vast global reseller network, and EMC also working with Intel via VMware.

“We expect that the reach of Intel’s channel will help give EMC an edge in serving a much broader set of SMBs in emerging markets around the globe,” said Joel Schwartz, senior vice president at EMC. “This collaboration also provides the foundation for future engineering collaboration between EMC and Intel for this growing market segment.”

The SSR212PP is similar in many ways to the SSR212CC — up to 12 SATA drives, 2U enclosure, up to 6 TB. It is offered in single- or dual-controller configurations, and iSCSI or Fibre Channel.

Intel IP SAN

The Intel Storage System SSR212MA is described by Intel as a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective SAN storage system for medium-to-large-sized enterprises. It is designed for easy deployment and future growth. It is an IP SAN system with a single Xeon processor, and the usual support for up to 12 SATA drives.

It also includes SAN management tools. Storage System Console (SSC) is a GUI to perform configuration, auto-discovery and remote diagnostics on Windows and Linux systems. Volume management capabilities include the ability to configure and provision volumes quickly without taking the system or existing volumes offline. This also includes snapshots, the ability to dynamically increase capacity of the storage pool or to provision volumes in excess of the actual physical capacity.

Storage Server

The most recent release — in April of this year — was the Intel Storage Server SSR212MC2. Intel characterizes it as an enterprise-class storage server for SMB, and as a flexible, high-performance hardware platform for SAN, NAS and DAS.

“With more than twice the performance improvement over our previous product generation, the SSR212MC2 hardware platform provides resellers and integrators a high-performing building block upon which they can build effective solutions,” said Wall.

The SSR212MC2 is a 12-drive (SASor SATA), quad core Xeon machine. It is a 2U machine that supports up 32 GB memory, as well as quad port Gb Ethernet, 10 Gb Ethernet, Fibre Channel, or InfiniBand. It can hold up to 12 TB. Pricing starts at $2,800, though it is not available off the shelf. Intel only sells the system to integrators and resellers as a base building block.

Article courtesy of Enterprise IT Planet

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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