Storage firm Drobo has announced a new product aimed at small-to-medium sized businesses, offering advanced high-end features such as tiering but without the cost or complexity seen in many enterprise-grade products.
The Drobo B1200i, available from September, is an iSCSI storage array offering up to 24TB of capacity from a maximum 12 drives, and is designed to provide smaller companies with the protection of a Raid array, plus automatic optimisation of performance through a feature called data-aware tiering.
However, unlike some of Drobo's existing products, the B1200i is available only as a rack-mount chassis, which means it is probably destined for firms large enough to have a separate server room and at least one IT operative, rather than the smallest start-ups.
"The target customer for this is probably smart enough to manage a Raid array themselves, but they value their time," said Jim Sherhart, senior director of business development at Drobo.
Drobo's storage arrays are based on a technology called BeyondRaid, which removes the need for customers to have any technical knowledge about details such as Raid levels, and even allows for arrays to be built from drives with differing capacities, automating the mundane legwork of managing storage.
Data-aware tiering in the B1200i extends this approach so that data is automatically stored in the optimal place for best performance, based on the application the data is associated with, according to Sherhart.
"If you configure [the B1200i] with SSDs, it will automatically place data there that it knows is performance critical, such as Exchange data, while other data gets stored in the bulk tier," Sherhart explained.
This allows the B1200i to operate as primary storage for multiple applications, rather than requiring a dedicated array for each application, as is often the case in enterprise storage.
"Rather than buy a dedicated array for applications, we can intelligently deliver the right performance level for all applications with a single B1200i," said Sherhart.
Prices start at £7,650 for a unit with 12TB storage (six 2TB SAS drives). The B1200i also includes redundant field-upgradable power supplies, and supports three gigabit Ethernet ports for host connectivity.
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