Compellent Adds ILM to Solid State Drives


Solid state drives (SSDs) are one of the hottest trends in data storage, offering users hitherto unattainable performance for critical applications.

But the pricey drives are no place to store data that isn't being frequently accessed, a problem that Compellent Technologies (NYSE: CML) says it has solved with a new tiered storage, or ILM, feature.

Compellent says it will integrate STEC's (NASDAQ: STEC) 146GB ZeusIOPS SSDs into its storage area networks (SANs), using its management software to let customers deploy as few as two SSDs in a "tier 0" configuration, automatically migrating inactive data to less expensive hard drives. The two-drive configuration also lets users get into flash-based storage at a lower price.

The SSDs plug into existing Compellent Fibre Channel enclosures without downtime. Compellent says its Data Progression automated tiered storage minimizes the number of SSDs needed while giving a big boost to critical applications. Virtualized storage lets applications share the SSDs.

Compellent claims its block-level automated migration between SSDs and disk is unique, but it won't be available until sometime in the second quarter.

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Mark Peters said Compellent "certainly has something rare if not unique. ... There may be someone else with Compellent's ability of block-level management — there's always someone — but that doesn't preclude the value of the implementation, plus Compellent has credibility and experience in this level of data management."

The Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) Storage 7000 series claims a similar feature for NAS and iSCSI, moving data from SSDs to SATA drives after executing writes, and it also places frequently accessed data on an SSD cache to satisfy read requests.

SSDs have been a surprising bright spot in a tough economy. EMC (NYSE: EMC) CEO Joe Tucci said recently that the data storage giant is having a tough time keeping the drives in stock.

It's rare to find a storage vendor these days who doesn't offer solid state technology. Sun, HP (NYSE: HPQ) and Pillar Data are other vendors that have announced new flash drive offerings just in the last week or two.

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