Virtualization is far more advanced in servers than in storage, and that causes provisioning headaches for storage administrators who sometimes struggle to keep up with the demands.
"When we ask users what storage-specific factor would allow more widespread use of server virtualization, the top array-related answer is faster provisioning," said Terri McClure, senior analyst at ESG. "When you have a server environment that can be provisioned with a mouse click you can't have a laborious storage change management process, so the ease and speed of provisioning is really key here."
Overland Storage believes it has an answer to this problem via its DynamicRAID technology which is built into the latest SnapServers. The SnapServer volumes reside in the storage pool and share the available storage, which eliminates the need to set volume limits or monitor volume capacities.
"DynamicRAID eliminates the need to provision storage," said Jillian Mansolf, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Overland Storage. "All SnapServer hard drives contribute to an easy-to-manage storage pool that can be allocated into volumes for different departments, users or applications."
SnapServer is a network-attached storage (NAS) line that is powered by Overland's GuardianOS. It functions with Windows, UNIX/Linux, and Mac environments, supports iSCSI block-level access with Microsoft VSS/VDS integration, and includes replication, snapshots, and backups to disk, VTL, or tape.
The line includes several models:
SnapServer 210 is aimed at remote office locations requiring RAID protection, centralized management and replication back to head office. The company differentiates the SnapServer 210 from commodity desktop NAS devices built for sharing consumer files and home media due to its management, application integration and security features. Snap Enterprise Data Replicator (Snap EDR) software, for example, replicates between sites over a WAN.
It is configured with 2 SATA II drives for up to 4TB of storage capacity, supports RAID levels 0 and 1 and has one Gb Ethernet port.
SnapServer DX1 is one of several Overland systems with DynamicRAID. The 1U, 4-drive unit can scale up to 120TB using the optional SnapExpansion chassis. With both block- and file-level access, the SnapServer DX1 is built for file sharing and storage consolidation.
"It is best fitted for small businesses with growing storage needs," said Mansolf.
For all DX models, the connectivity options are two ports, upgradeable to six ports, and with 10 GbE optional for both. A 2 TB SnapServer DX1 costs $1,699.
The SnapServer DX2 SnapServer DX2 is a 2U storage array that supports up to 12 SATA or SAS hard drives. It can be scaled up to 288 TB by adding seven SnapExpansion chassis. This machine is faster than the DXI and includes an Intel quad core 2.4GHz processor. Traditional RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 or DynamicRAID dual or single parity are available. One SnapServer DX2 with 8TB capacity costs $4,999. Bump that up to 36TB and price is $7,699.
The SnapSAN product family provides block storage and comes in two flavors:
The SnapSAN S1000 is built for ease of use and comes with a choice of single or dual controllers; iSCSI, Fibre Channel (FC), or SAS connectivity; and the ability to scale to 180TB. This 2U unit has RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 3, 5, 6, 10, 30, 50 and 60. It supports Windows, Linux, Mac, VMware and Solaris. A starting price of $6,895 covers a 4TB iSCSI solution.
The SnapSAN S2000 is a 2U iSCSI SAN appliance designed for businesses with growing storage needs and limited resources. It comes with a mix of features including auto-provisioning, mirroring for high availability, replication and snapshots. It works with SAS or SATA drives and scales from 7.2TB to 192TB by adding SnapServer E2000 Expansion Arrays. Pricing starts at $8,999.
"To ensure that essential applications remain available at all times, the SnapSAN S2000 supports multiple servers reading or writing SAN volumes simultaneously across multiple Ethernet ports," said Mansolf. "It is compatible with the Windows Multi-Path I/O (MPIO) framework and supports Microsoft Cluster Server and other third-party management applications."
Overland's NEO Series
Overland's line of NEO Series tape libraries and autoloaders has more models than all the SnapServers and SnapSANs combined. The NEO Series includes NEO 200s, NEO 400s, NEO 600s, NEO 800s, NEO 2000e, NEO 4000e and NEO 8000e.
The NEO 200s is targeted at small businesses or remote locations. Packing up to 36TB of storage capacity in 2U, it is available either as a 12-slot autoloader or a 24-slot library.
The NEO 2000e is a midrange offering that starts at 12TB and scales up to 90TB within a 5U module. If you join several 2000e modules together (or mix and match with 4000e modules), the capacity can be expanded to 720TB. AES 256-bit encryption maintains security, and connectivity support includes SCSI, FC or SAS.
The NEO 8000e is Overland's high-end tape offering for long-term data storage and archiving. It can supply up to 3PB of capacity and reach transfer speeds of 24TB/hr.
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).