Open Source Goes on RAID

 
 
By Karen Schwartz  |  Posted 2005-10-04
 
 
 
With the release of three new RAID storage subsystems built entirely on an open source platform, Open Source Storage continues its march to offer a full line of open source storage products.

The companys new RAID storage products all support both AMD Opteron dual core or dual Intel Xeon processors and offer Ultra320 SCSI and SATA 2 (Serial ATA) support.

The RS1000, with a capacity of up to 1.6TB in up to four hard drives, provides four SATA ports and 32-bit PCI slot, as well as two independent PCI-X buses. The 1U rack mount product also can support RAID 1, 5 or 10 with an optional RAID card, and users have the option to add an HBA (host bus adapter) or dual-port Gigabit Ethernet card.

The RS3000 is a high-availability database, MySQL server or Riser XFS server solution that provides up to 6.4TB on up to 16 hard drives and up to 16GB of RAM. The 3U rack mount product also includes an integrated SATA RAID accelerator.

The RS8000, an 8U rack mount subsystem, is designed for compute-intensive environments and comes standard with a database file server and MySQL. The system supports up 32MB of RAM and provides space for 40 hot-swappable SCSI or SATA hard drives.

Although the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has released other open source storage products in the past, this is the companys first foray into the RAID arena, said president Eren Niazi. Typically, a system from Open Source Storage will ship with an operating system, servers, storage and applications, he said.

The companys RAID storage products are very dense, Niazi said, and the company can provide organizations with the fastest and newest technology without relying on specific vendors.

"If you buy from a Tier 1 [vendor], they cant always give you the fastest and newest technology, and sometimes you are waiting for them to catch up," he said. "You can come to us and ask for the fastest CPU, dual core, with 32GB of memory and request it in a server, and we can deliver that."

With its line of open source-based storage products, Open Source Storage may be riding an early wave toward buying storage technology based on open specifications and technologies, said William Hurley, senior analyst at Data Mobility Group, of Portland, Ore.

"In the past, particularly in large enterprises, weve seen an affinity for certain brands, but today there is a breaking open of allegiances based on standards-based computing," he said.

The companys open-source approach to storage also is well-timed to coincide with the changing world of technology purchasing, Hurley said, as organizations lines of business become more involved in making technology decisions and being more responsible for their lines of businesses profit and loss. That makes it a particularly opportune time to introduce lower-cost, open-source storage products, he said.

"These guys have a very interesting opportunity, not solely because of the price, but because open source provides an enormous advantage to the customer in terms of licensing costs and customization," Hurley said.

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All of these factors should force industry leaders like EMC Corp. and others keep their eyes open.

"Its an early indicator that new technologies and new routes to market for standards-based technology can begin to crimp at the edges of brand-name vendors," Hurley said. "If vendors arent attentive to these things and dont have a mature story to tell their customers about open source in general, this could be very problematic for them."

As Open Source Storage grows, Hurley said he expects the company to consider alliances with vendors that either make their own hardware or have a robust requirement for their storage function to run on hardware.

As for the company itself, Niazi said he plans to work on solutions that focus on power savings and density.

"Were looking at ways to put more machines in a smaller footprint," he said.

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