EqualLogic Plans Disk Drive Technology

By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2005-07-11 Print this article Print

EqualLogic is easing server and storage consolidation by building iSCSI-based technology capable of observing storage patterns to determine the most efficient way to keep data.

EqualLogic Inc. is easing server and storage consolidation by building iSCSI-based technology capable of observing storage patterns to determine the most efficient way to keep data.

Set for release in the first quarter of next year, EqualLogic is designing new SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) and SATA (Serial ATA) disk drives on its flagship PS Series array products. The new, speedier drives will enable performance-based load balancing and a self-learning function to properly configure ideal storage-tier use while freeing up critical and costly capacity, said EqualLogic officials in Nashua, N.H.

The disk drive technology will be offered in two forms: SAS drives with 10,000 rpm at 80MB per second and SAS drives delivering 15,000 rpm at 110MB per second each. Those enhancements will greatly improve upon EqualLogics most current PS200E product, which offers 7,200-rpm drives at 55MB to 60MB per second in throughput.

The product will support operating systems such as Unix, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX and NetWare.

Sources said EqualLogic will unveil new SATA-II drives when available for PS200E providing Native Command Queuing, port multiplication and increased bandwidth between the controller and drive.

EqualLogics distributed page-based volume management functionality partitions pooled storage into fixed-size chunks called "pages." To sidestep problems, frequently accessed pages can be spread across disks or group members based on real-time capacity, status and historical access trends.

Josh Wopperer, network engineer for Uvest Financial Services Inc., in Charlotte, N.C., said emerging iSCSI innovation by vendors such as EqualLogic is better able to contain the data volume explosion than Fibre Channel-based storage alternatives.

"You have information all over the place that needs to be centralized," said Wopperer, who is running locally 2.7TB spread among three EqualLogic PS100E products for his Microsoft Corp. Exchange Server and SQL Server database deployments.

Of the EqualLogic enhancements, Wopperer said the increase in disk performance will be a major lift toward boosting productivity for him.

"The faster you can get to the [appropriate storage] disks the better. And the fact we can combine them with current allocations of our SAN [storage area network] devices and point certain databases toward the faster disks ... once that technology comes out, that will be a tremendous asset to us," he said.

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Brian Fonseca is a senior writer at eWEEK who covers database, data management and storage management software, as well as storage hardware. He works out of eWEEK's Woburn, Mass., office. Prior to joining eWEEK, Brian spent four years at InfoWorld as the publication's security reporter. He also covered services, and systems management. Before becoming an IT journalist, Brian worked as a beat reporter for The Herald News in Fall River, Mass., and cut his teeth in the news business as a sports and news producer for Channel 12-WPRI/Fox 64-WNAC in Providence, RI. Brian holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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