Enterprise storage firm Coraid has unveiled a new line of network-attached storage (NAS) appliances that combine the ZFS file system with Coraid's own Ethernet-based EtherDrive connectivity.
The firm claims this will help deliver scale-out storage that will be more cost-effective than rivals such as Fibre Channel, without compromising on performance.
Set to ship this month, the ZX-Series of NAS servers is intended to allow enterprise customers to build themselves a similar kind of scale-out storage infrastructure based on commodity hardware to that of cloud service operators such as Amazon, the firm said.
"People are realising that they need to do something that looks a lot more like Google and Amazon, both in terms of commodity hardware economics and also in terms of how you scale it, as Fibre Channel SAN and traditional big box approaches don't work anymore," said Coraid chief executive Kevin Brown.
Coraid's EtherDrive technology uses standard gigabit or 10 gigabit Ethernet to connect storage and server, but makes it appear to the host server as if the storage area network (SAN) is simply direct-attached storage (DAS).
Commands and data are simply encapsulated into Layer 2 Ethernet packets, avoiding the overheads of protocols such as iSCSI and Fibre Channel that require extra layers above this to function.
With ZFS, the new ZX-Series appliances also gain all the high-end features supported by Sun's high-end file system, including its high availability, storage pooling, advanced data protection and high scalability.
The aim is to enable customers to be able to build a single, expandable pool of storage that can be used for any application, as is increasingly required with the current trend towards private clouds and virtualised infrastructure.
"In the past, storage vendors have sold customers five different types of storage for different applications, with different file system, different operating systems, and different networks to access them. We're trying to unify that on the back end and have just one big pool of storage that's very flexible," said Brown.
The ZX-Series can be configured with Sata drives for capacity or SSD flash drives for very high-end performance, up to three million input/output operations per second (iops) per rack, according to Brown.
Pricing for the ZX-Series starts at around £800 per terabyte for a hybrid disk/flash configuration, which compares favourably to legacy solutions costing double that or more, Brown said.
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