Dell and Tricord Power Up NAS Wares - Page 3

Lunar Flare

the Lunar Flare NAS appliance provides small and midsize networks with a scalable, fault-tolerant storage system that is very easy to implement. The Lunar Flare runs on a Linux kernel optimized for file services, and up to 16 devices can be clustered using Tricords proprietary Illumina clustering software.

The cluster provides an aggregated storage pool that, like a RAID subsystem in a file server, can be allocated to network clients via shares. Also like a RAID array, all the data is copied across every node in the cluster to provide parity fault tolerance, and unused nodes can be designated as hot spares to automatically fail-over disabled devices. The cluster can be managed and scaled as a single system, providing a lower TCO (total cost of ownership).

Each Lunar Flare node in a cluster can be mapped to different clients, so the performance of the cluster scales linearly to the number of nodes in the cluster. In the NetBench 7.0 tests, the default two-node cluster delivered a throughput of 51M bps—on par with workgroup-class NAS boxes such as Snap Appliances Inc.s Snap Server 4100. The Lunar Flare scaled to almost 2 terabytes in tests.

The Lunar Flare costs $5,700 per node and has a raw storage capacity of 129GB in a 1U form factor. In tests, the basic two-node configuration provided about 116GB of usable storage due to the clustering software overhead. Each additional node joining the cluster adds about 117GB of usable storage.

Although the Lunar Flares clustering abilities are impressive, there are some issues that Tricord needs to address. Because it supports only the CIFS protocol, the Lunar Flare can be used only with Windows-based clients. Administration would be more efficient if the Lunar Flare allowed clients to map a network drive to a share under the cluster name, instead of requiring that clients map to each node. The Lunar Flare also cannot limit the amount of space each user or group can use, an important issue in larger networks.