Seven Hot Products from Storage Networking World

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Last week’s Storage Networking World (SNW) conference featured plenty of new products from storage vendors. Here are some of the highlights:

Coho MicroArray

Coho Data just released the Coho MicroArray, which combined Intel Xeon processors plus 10GbE NICs and PCIe flash as a way to get away from proprietary all-flash and hybrid flash-disk arrays by utilizing commodity hardware.

“Flash performance is doubling in capacity and performance each year at the same cost,” said Andrew Warfield, CTO of Coho Data. “But the likes of Violin Memory, Fusion-io and EMC are selling silos using the same model as disk – buy for five years and then dump.”

Coho’s concept is to eliminate the bottleneck often experienced when a large amount of flash is being fed into one or two controllers. The hardware is largely commodity-based in order to keep costs down. Coho seeks to add value via its own software, which creates a virtual pool of flash. This acts like a data hypervisor for the underlying flash and supplies a presentation layer on top.

“The software provides auto-tiering with little or no performance hit,” aid Warfield. “We can utilize whatever storage protocol we want within the presentation layer.”

How far does it scale? Each MicroArray provides 20 TB and 90,000 IOPS. As the units are doubled up for replication purposes, that means 40 TB of storage minimum. The company says the product can scale to 20 arrays and will be generally available in November.

“We thought we would earn our stripes in the low end of the market initially, but we are gaining traction more in the mid-sized to large enterprise space,” said Warfield. “We have several multi-PB pilot projects ongoing.

HighCloud Security

HighCloud Security has updated its security solution to simplify secure data migration and backup to the public cloud. It comes in two flavors: HighCloud for the Data Center; and HighCloud for the Public Cloud as tools to add encryption and key management to cloud storage.

The value proposition is that it is expensive to buy key managers, and to encrypt hard drives and flash drives. HighCloud provides an alternative by adding security within the VM itself. The keys are held in the data center and a service provider or anyone else can’t gain access – only those who own the data.

“This is a multi-tenant approach,” said Steve Pate, co-founder and CTO of HighCloud Security. “We are seeing a big rush of customers who see it as a solution to HIPAA-related compliance and security concerns, as well as those who have a lot of sensitive data leaving the building.”

Riverbed Granite

Riverbed Granite is all about recovery of data at the branch level. A Granite Core device sits in the data center and Granite Edge units are sited in branches.

“Granite has new DR capabilities as a means of rapid recovery if a branch experiences a disaster or a server fails,” said Eric Carter, Director of Marketing for Storage Delivery at Riverbed. “You can restart a VM and have access to all of its data in minutes.”

All branch data is centralized in the data center. The local offices send block data over the WAN, with block changes sent to the data center and deduplicated. According to Carter, recovery takes six to 10 minutes as there is no need to rebuild an entire server or data center. Granite provides remote access to whatever device and location the user desires.

Apposite Technologies

Netropy 40G from Apposite Technologies is said to be the first WAN emulator capable of simulating emerging 40 Gbps networks. According to Bojan Simic, an analyst at TRAC Research, 36% of organizations are looking to deploy 40 Gbps networks in the next two years.

“These next–generation high-speed networks are especially important for cloud computing infrastructure, storage replication and synchronization, and distribution of media assets,” said DC Palter, President of Apposite Technologies. “We are already seeing 40G in LANs and very soon it is coming to the WAN.”

His company provides test tools for developers and he said he is currently working with many of the big names in storage right now to test 40G products. But these are unlikely to appear on the market for the WAN until sometime next year. The basic issue is that at such high speeds, even a small amount of latency, caused by the distance between sites or an occasional packet loss due to errors on the network, can have an extreme impact on application performance.

Apposite’s Netropy WAN emulators simulate the bandwidth, latency, loss, and other conditions of the network to test application performance in the lab under real-world conditions.

The new Netropy 40G has one pair of 40 GbE ports and can handle an aggregate of 80 Gbps of application traffic (bi-directional). In addition to simulating a single 40 Gbps WAN link, the Netropy 40G can also be used to simulate four separate 10 Gbps links or up to fifteen lower speed links.

“It took a few years for our 10G emulator to be in high demand,” said Palter. “We expect a slow but steady adoption curve for 40G, similar to the transition from 1G to 10G.”

BlackPearl Deep Storage Appliance

Spectra Logic’s BlackPearl Deep Storage Appliance offers RESTful, web-based interfaces to tape library storage for the first time. RESTful is a protocol that apps on the Web use to talk to each other, as well as to storage and servers.

“Tape assets couldn’t access web apps, it just couldn’t be done before and now it can,” said executive Molly Rector, Vice President of Product Management and Worldwide Marketing at Spectra Logic. “BlackPearl enables a new tier of storage to manage massive amounts of data indefinitely at an extremely low cost.”

The pricing for a BlackPearl with a tape library ranges from $0.09 – $0.14 per GB, estimated Rector. She said that compares favorably with public cloud offerings that charge on the basis of ‘per gigabyte per month’ into perpetuity or disk array storage costs that average $1.00 per GB, and low-cost NAS at $0.45 per GB. It will be generally available in December.

“The whole concept of deep storage is on target with the trends and requirements ESG is seeing in the market,” said Steve Duplessie, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). “More organizations are recognizing the long term value that lies within their data, so data volumes and retention periods are increasing.”

Sepaton VirtuoSO

Sepaton VirtuoSO provides data protection for the enterprise, competing with the like of EMC Data Domain. CEO Mike Thompson said it offers innovation in deduplication such as a combo of inline and post-processing dedupe.

“We used to do only post processing but now we do both kinds of deduplication based on the data type and which is most effective,” he said. “Some want to get the data landed fast and don’t want it to go through inline.”

He added that inline was best for unstructured data but that it doesn’t do well with structured databases. Post processing comes into its own there. Similarly, he mentioned the inline dedupe systems can’t address encrypted or compressed data, whereas VirtuoSO will dedupe and back that up.

The system is planned to scale to 16 nodes with an ingest rate of 126 TB per hour, which Thompson claimed was 8X faster than the competition. It will be available in the first quarter of 2014 as a unit that can scale to 4 notes. It will be about a year before it achieves the goal of 16 nodes. But still, that’s 2.2 PB for the initial four nodes.

Fabric Network Controller

Jeda Networks Fabric Network Controller (FNC) is said to create high-performance storage networks over high-speed Ethernet fabrics. It works by residing in the network as a virtual machine, decoupling and extracting the storage networking control plane from the physical network hardware. The storage network overlay provided by the FNC works with many existing physical network components such as standard 10Gb/s Ethernet switches and 10Gb/s Ethernet adapters. No additional software and no specialized hardware are required. Jeda Networks is currently selling FNC through OEMs.

“Today’s storage networks are complex, expensive and are limited to scale as the applications they support grow at a projected exponential rate,” said Stuart Berman, CEO of Jeda Networks. “FNC resides within the network and abstracts the essential services of the storage network from the underlying physical network, simplifying management tasks allowing for much larger scaled networks.”

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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