MPC Computers Sizes Up Its iSCSI SAN

The DataFrame 440 SAN boasts improved RAID performance and the option of running either iSCSI or Fibre Channel connectivity on the same box.

MPC Computers rolled out the newest version of its DataFrame iSCSI SAN (storage area network) this week featuring improved RAID performance and allowing customers the option of running either iSCSI or Fiber Channel network connectivity on the same box.

Currently available, the new 3U-rack mount chassis DataFrame 440 supports 16 hot-swappable 250GB or 500GB SATA (serial ATA)-II hard drives on the inside with up to 8TB of storage per enclosure.

The device has been fitted with a different RAID controller architecture than the product it replaces, MPCs DataFrame 420 iSCSI SAN, along with new framework scalability enhancements.

Although the DataFrame 420, launched in Nov. 2004, is on track to be phased out effective immediately, the DataFrame 420 and DataFrame 440 models are interoperable by design.

This means customers can drop a 440 box into an existing 420 storage environment and cluster the two devices together, said Alex Smith, director of Enterprise Products Group for MPC, a subsidiary of Greenwood, Colo.-based Hyperspace Communications, Inc.

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Customers who want to bridge the gap between the 420 and new 440 iSCSI SAN can download a software upgrade from MPCs Web site to bump up 420s existing v.6.0 MPC software to v.6.3, which is delivered with the 440 model.

Management software embedded in the MPC 440 offers automated snapshots, backup to another DataFrame 440, as well as clustering/virtualization and replication between multiple 440 boxes.

In addition, a "Storage Over Subscription" management software feature alerts storage administrators to provision storage when additional capacity is needed, regardless of how much physical storage still resides on the DataFrame 440, Smith said.

The DataFrame 440 can be used to manage storage provisioning and utilization through LeftHand Networks SAN/IQ management software.

The product comes equipped with up to 4GB cache and up to six Gigabit Ethernet iSCSI/EBSD (Electron BackScatter Diffraction) Ports. An optional dual channel 2GB FC network interface is included, as is support for RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and 50 levels.

Pricing for the DataFrame 440 starts at $29,999 and includes 4TB of disk space and 2GB of cache.

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