Infortrend Storage Buying Guide

Infortrend may not be top of mind among users in the storage world, yet the company has assembled a broad product portfolio with an emphasis on storage tiering for the midrange and SMB markets. The company has also adopted a strategy of making its products available in a large number of configurations to offer users optimized hardware and software to ensure their storage arrays meet application demand.

“In the past, storage solutions mainly consisted of standardized systems with a relatively small degree of customization for specific market segments,” said Tony Chu, president of Infortrend. “Now, however, we are seeing a definite trend towards more horizontal differentiation that aims to serve the needs of specific market segments.”

Automation is another trend impacting product development at Infortrend. In response, the company recently launched automated storage tiering on its ESVA solution, deduplication on its EonNAS product line, and thin provisioning throughout its line-up.

ESVA Family

ESVA is Infortrend’s SAN product family aimed at midrange enterprises. Featuring a storage virtualization architecture, it comes with load balancing, automated storage tiering and data protection. Available in Fibre Channel (FC), iSCSI or hybrid FC/iSCSI configurations, ESVA is compatible with virtualization platforms from VMware and Citrix.

“To better meet demand in the midrange enterprise segment, we recently have added automated storage tiering technology to our ESVA family, enabling users to optimize performance and use their resources more efficiently,” said Chu. “We are also strengthening SSD support, having recently qualified new SSD offerings from Intel and STEC.”

Available products include the ESVA E60 (available in 1GbE and 10GbE iSCSI connectivity), F60 (8Gb/s Fibre connectivity) and F70 (hybrid FC/iSCSI connectivity). These models come in a 3U/16-bay form factor and can be expanded up to 1,344 disk drives.

The ESVA E10 (1GbE iSCSI) and F10 (8Gb/s Fibre) are entry-level options. As such, they expand to only 64 drives and feature less cache memory, but they come with snapshot, volume copy/mirror and remote replication.

“The ESVA F70, for example, provides storage virtualization, automatic load balancing, thin provisioning, automated storage tiering and more,” said Chu. “The hybrid FC/iSCSI connectivity of the system enables users to deploy high-performance SAN and conduct cost-efficient remote replication via the iSCSI ports.”

The starting price for the ESVA F70-2830 is $29,176.

In 2012, Infortrend plans to add a new storage engine to boost IOPS and throughput.

EonStor Family

EonStor is split into two camps. The EonStor DS (Data Services) and EonStor. Both are aimed at SMBs and feature similar modular hardware. The DS version comes with data services while EonStor does not. Data services on the EonStor DS family include snapshot and volume copy/mirror, as well as remote replication and thin provisioning.

Configuration options abound: 1U to 4U form factors; host connectivity of 4Gb/s and 8Gb/s Fibre, 1GbE and 10GbE iSCSI, 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s SAS; and 2.5 or 3.5-inch disk drives. Capacity can be expanded to a maximum of 224 disk drives.

Chu highlights the ESDS S16F-R2842. This system features dual-redundant controllers and hybrid connectivity consisting of eight 8Gb/s Fibre ports and four 1GbE iSCSI ports.

“The iSCSI connectivity offers remote replication by connecting directly to IP networks and eliminating expensive FCIP routers that are necessary for remote replication on pure Fibre systems,” he said. “Hybrid connectivity also enables users to deploy both FC and IP SAN and take advantage of consolidated SAN tiering.”

With 16 drive bays in a 3U form factor, the ESDS S16F-R2842 can be expanded up to 112 drives by attaching expansion enclosures. The system has up to 8GB cache memory and supports SAS drives, nearline drives and SSDs. Its starting price is $13,571.

Most recently, Infortrend added new models to the EonStor DS family featuring DC power, as well as high-density models with 48 drive bays in a 4U form factor. In 2012, both EonStor DS and EonStor will benefit from a new storage engine.

EonNAS Family

EonNAS is Infortrend’s answer to the explosion of unstructured data. This product family consists of rackmount unified storage systems for SMBs, remote/branch offices or enterprise departments. Supported file-level protocols on EonNAS include CIFS/SMB, AFP, NFS, HTTP, HTTPS and FTP.

Powered by Intel Xeon processors, EonNAS currently supports 15K 6Gb/s SAS drives and 7.2K 6Gb/s nearline SAS drives. The 2U systems can be expanded to 72 drives. Deduplication is included as well as an embedded ZFS file system.

The EonNAS 3000 series consists of three main models — the EonNAS 3210, 3220 and 3230. They differ in the amount of cache memory, scalability and SSD performance scaling options they have. The EonNAS 3230, for example, is the highest-performing NAS model. It supports up to 12GB in cache memory and SAS drives, as well as the option to integrate up to four SSDs. The starting price is $8,781.

More products will be introduced to the EonNAS 3000 Series in 2012, along with an EonNAS 5000 series that offers dual controllers and scalability up to 240 disk drives. In addition, connectivity for block-level storage on EonNAS systems, which at the moment includes only 1GbE iSCSI, will be expanded to include 10GbE iSCSI and 8Gb/s Fibre Channel in January 2012.

Finally, Chu called attention to a new product known as EonNAS Pro. This is NAS in a tower to help SMBs and SOHO users optimize file sharing, IP SAN applications and data backup. It is equipped with dual-core Intel processors, and it is available in 2-bay, 5-bay and 8-bay models, offering a maximum internal capacity of 24TB.

“EonNAS Pro differs from other NAS offerings in the entry-level segment by offering a focus on business applications,” said Chu.

EonNAS Pro comes with ZFS-based corruption elimination, deduplication, snapshots and a pool mirror function for replication.

Three versions are available: the EonNAS 200, 500 and 800. The EonNAS Pro 200 has two drive bays for up to 6TB, The EonNAS Pro 500 has five bays and 15TB, and the EonNAS Pro 800 has eight bays for 24TB of internal capacity.

“The EonNAS Pro 500 has a dual-core 1.8GHz Intel processor, 4GB RAM and two Gigabit LAN ports,” said Chu. “It comes bundled with five free licenses for FarStone Total Recovery Pro 7 backup software.”

The EonNAS Pro 850 is due in 2012. It will feature a more powerful CPU as well as 10 Gigabit LAN.

Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in California, he is originally from Scotland, where he received a degree in geology and geography from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).

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Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb has been a full-time professional writer and editor for more than twenty years. He currently works freelance for a number of IT publications, including eSecurity Planet and CIO Insight. He is also the editor-in-chief of an international engineering magazine.
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