Storage Technology Corp. has announced a 4G-bps Fibre Channel-based storage-area network solution designed for high-end environments that demand maximum throughput.
The FLX380, which StorageTek says is the first 4G-bps enterprise storage system, is the next step in StorageTeks FlexLine 200/300 series, following 2G G-bps solutions that include the FLX210 for workgroups and departments; the FLX240 for enterprise, workgroup and departmental environments; and the FLX280 for enterprises and large workgroups.
"Its 4G on the front end talking to the SAN, but its also 4G talking to the disks on the back end, so youre avoiding a bottleneck in the controller," said Dianne McAdam, senior analyst at Data Mobility Group of Nashua, N.H. "Im impressed with the performance. Its a screamer."
The new storage system is not meant to replace StorageTeks other storage systems but to complement them, said Jay Seifert, senior manager of product marketing for information lifecycle management solutions at the Louisville, Colo.-based company.
"The FLX380 is a follow-on from a performance perspective and will be sold in addition to the FLX280," he said.
The FLX380 consists of two intelligent RAID controllers and eight 4G-bps host connections. It supports up to 224 Fibre Channel or SATA disk drives. Based on the Engenio 6998 controller, it presents an advance over existing StorageTek products, with twice the throughput performance of the FLX280 as well as 4G-bps front and back-side channels, more host-side and drive-side channels, a new switched-look back end, and more cache with options to add even more.
The system is managed by StorageTeks SANtricity Storage Manager, which offers snapshotting for making copies, volume copies for undertaking full data moves, synchronous and asynchronous remote mirroring for long-distance data protection, and partitioning.
The most appropriate environment for the FLX380, Seifert said, are those that need extreme OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) and database performance. Such environments particularly need the higher availability, performance and improvement in data protection processes that the FLX380 offers, he said. Other good candidates for this technology include any applications that involve streaming data, such as media companies creating video clips and movies on demand, surveillance systems and satellite feeds, or hospitals storing medical images.
For now, StorageTek has the fastest storage solution on the market, McAdam said—faster than EMC Corp.s Clariion and Hewlett-Packard Co.s StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array—but she expects the competition to catch up by the end of the year.
As for StorageTek, Seifert said the next step will be the gradual conversion of all of StorageTeks storage systems and arrays to the 4G architecture.