ONStor Takes On EMC, NetApp

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ONStor has unveiled an enterprise-class file service solution that compares favorably to offerings from NetApp and EMC.

ONStor says its SF4400 Series SAN filer is the first to consolidate enterprise-wide file storage on heterogeneous storage area networks (SANs), and is the only single hardware and software platform for managing enterprise-wide file services on open SAN storage.

Arun Taneja, founder and consulting analyst at the Taneja Group, feels ONStor’s new SAN filer is a “very good offering” for customers that already have a heterogeneous SAN and want to add file services to the infrastructure without resorting to integrated NAS boxes.

“Their product fully utilizes the SAN — all data, metadata, journal data, boot images, are kept on the SAN,” explains Taneja. “This allows any SAN filer to see all the allocated storage on the SAN. Architecturally, this is very different from the way NetApp or other filers work. None uses the SAN quite like the ONStor box, mostly because ONStor built it for the SAN from the start.”

ONStor marketing VP Peter Tarrant and marketing director Jon Toor contend their product has a number of other advantages. With the ability to back up and serve files at the same time, it eliminates the need for a separate backup window and allows for maintenance at any time. It also provides instantaneous restore, SAN-based disk-to-disk data replication, and seamless load balancing — and all for about half the cost of a NetApp box, according to Tarrant and Toor.

The ONStor filer also delivers solid performance of 35,000-140,000 IOPS (Input/Output operations per second), and offers scalability up to 40 petabytes.

The system “combines the simplicity of NAS with the performance and scalability of a SAN,” according to the company, consolidating storage and simplifying file management while ensuring continuous data availability and protection.

ONStor says it built its filer to allow data centers to consolidate islands of NAS storage into a single heterogeneous SAN with one common management interface.

The hardware platform uses a 64-bit symmetric multiprocessing pipelined architecture that enables a single ONStor SAN filer to do the work of several conventional NAS servers. Real-time data protection capabilities are enhanced by dedicated processors that allow continuous disk-to-disk data replication and disk-to-tape backup with no performance impact to ongoing file transactions. By contrast, conventional NAS devices may experience up to 60% performance degradation during backup processes, according to ONStor, limiting backups to specific time windows.

ONStor’s EverON software platform includes native CIFS and NFS protocols, data snapshot capability, and automated volume management. EverON also incorporates ONStor’s STOR-FS file system, a 64-bit file system that maintains all data and device state information on SAN-based disk, allowing any ONStor SAN filer to instantaneously assume the workload from any other SAN filer for load balancing, failover, or system maintenance purposes.

Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group, calls ONStor’s approach “perfect.”

“I’m on the record stating that CIFS/NFS are really applications that belong in front of a SAN,” Duplessie says. “I’m glad to see ONStor recognize what is by anyone’s estimate a massive market opportunity. This approach is perfect — it lets users gain all the enterprise file benefits while continuing to squeeze more value out of their SAN investment.”

The ONStor SF4400 SAN filer system starts at $85,000 and is available now.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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