Nexsan Gives ATA More Muscle with SATABeast

Nexsan replace ATABeast with SATABeast, a faster disk vault with better airflow and reduced power consumption.

Nexsan has replaced its ATABeast disk vault with one that is faster, has better airflow and is based on new technology designed to reduce power consumption and operational costs.

SATABeast doubles the performance of ATABeast by replacing the single RAID engine of the ATABeast with a dual XOR RAID engine.

The processing capability at each single engine is faster than the older, single engine, allowing the unit to run much faster, said Diamond Lauffin, senior executive vice president at the Woodland Hills, Calif., company.

SATABeast also has improved on the unrestricted airflow design of ATABeast, a nod to the fact that many users are using the boxes in environments where they dont have great control over their data center temperatures.

To remedy the problem, SATABeast has a front panel that folds down and houses three independently hot-pluggable fan assemblies, essentially increasing the airflow from a three-fan system to a five-fan system.

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"The three-fan system was adequate if everybody ran their data centers within normal operating conditions, but because these boxes in their ruggedized design are being used in some very extreme environments, we recognized the needs to place this additional airflow in the box," Lauffin said.

Putting greater emphasis on the power and cooling elements was a good move, said Tony Asaro, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group of Milford, Mass.

"High density drives draw a great deal of power and generate heat, so addressing power and cooling is critical to reliability and will be even more so as hard drives keep getting denser and denser," he said.

SATABeast also uses Nexsans AutoMAID (Massive Array of Idle Disks)—technology that automatically puts the disk drives into an idle state, waiting for commands.

To initiate these functions, users simply check functions from a menu. AutoMAID technology is optimized to take advantage of some of the newer functions being installed on disk drives, such as the dormant mode on Hitachis disk drives. With AutoMAID, "We can initiate the process of spinning a drive down by triggering their firmware for immediate action. We dont have to wait for inactivity from the host system. We can elect to do that automatically," Lauffin said.

SATABeasts AutoMAID feature also provides a full inactivity mode, allowing the system to turn the drives off completely.

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Basing SATABeast on MAID helps set Nexsans offering apart from its competitors, many of which dont currently support any type of MAID, Asaro said.

In fact, capabilities like MAID and better power and cooling can help Nexsan carve out a niche for itself in a crowded field, he said.

"Nexsan is a successful emerging storage vendor that has really created a brand and position for itself in the secondary storage market, and with SATABeast, they should continue to blaze through the market," he said.

SATABeast is available at no increase over the cost of ATABeast. In fact, the product sells for a lower cost per gigabyte than ATABeast, Lauffin said.

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