Coraid Unveils New Scale-Out File Storage Arrays

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-07-17 Print this article Print

Coraid claims to be the first provider to deliver enterprise-class storage based on a new scale-out, file-based architecture using Ethernet connectivity.

Coraid, a next-generation virtualized storage networking provider that is rapidly gaining industry traction, on July 17 launched a new line of Ethernet networked-attached storage servers for midrange and larger enterprises.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based company, which has built an installed base of more than 1,500 customers worldwide since it started selling products in 2004, unveiled its new ZX-Series servers designed for cloud, video and big data-workload customers.

"With this system, users can basically look at their entire storage function as a virtualized, basically unlimited-capacity pool of storage, if they choose to do so," CEO Kevin Brown (pictured at right) told eWEEK. "We provide hybrid storage pools, data deduplication and compression to optimize storage utilization, which all adds up to a huge reduction in acquisition costs and in total cost of ownership."

Data center managers do not have to worry about "forklift"-type changes using Coraid software, which integrates with virtually all other hardware and security products, Brown said.

"We focus on letting our customers use whatever equipment and software they already have, and we add speed, capacity and network flexibility into the mix," Brown said.

Coraid's high-performance unified system (can run SAN or NAS) is powered by the Sun Microsystems-developed Oracle Solaris ZFS file system combined with its own EtherDrive secret sauce.

RAIN in the Forecast

The new ZX-Series servers include RAIN (redundant array of inexpensive nodes), which enables users to deploy big data-type workloads on smaller, x86-powered machines that can be hot-swapped out as needed. Thus, Brown said, Coraid is the first storage provider to deliver enterprise-class storage based on a scale-out block architecture using Ethernet connectivity. Hardwired Fibre Channel is the convention here.

Other features, according to Brown, include read- and write-optimized NAND flash caches; massively parallel 1Gb/10Gb Ethernet connectivity; and a scale-out architecture for multi-petabyte capacity. Advanced data protection and efficiency features include:

The ZX series also includes triple-parity RAID; active-active clustering; unlimited snapshots; deduplication and compression.

While at Cisco Systems in the 1990s, Coraid founder Bradley Coile invented the PIX firewall and LocalDirector for the world's largest Internet networking equipment supplier. Coile later developed the ATA over Ethernet (AoE) protocol at Coraid, which enables storage networking using raw Ethernet frames for transport.

In 2011, the company entered the virtualization storage market with the VSX virtual storage solution. Coraid also supports VMware ESX environments.

The Coraid ZX-Series is available now, Brown said.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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