Rackable Appliance Aims to Smooth Out Storage I/O Problems

Rackable Systems says its product eliminates I/O bottlenecks that slow down legacy NAS systems and delivers a single file system package that scales for large Linux data center deployments.

Storage server maker Rackable Systems on Nov. 14 introduced a new cluster file system storage appliance designed specifically for large-scale Linux computing environments.

The RapidScale SA3100 appliance, which attaches directly to the network, is designed to smooth out I/O bottlenecks commonly associated with legacy NAS (network-attached storage) systems and delivers a single file system package that scales inline with both capacity and performance, a spokesperson for Milpitas, Calif., company said.

RapidScale provides up to tens of gigabytes per second of I/O throughput, ultimately reducing wait time and improving overall storage performance, the spokesperson said. Each RapidScale SA3100 appliance adds 8TB of storage capacity and up to 200MB per second of performance.

/zimages/1/28571.gifNew Rackable rack-mount servers lower costs and increase capacity. Read more here.

RapidScale systems use Rackables storage server hardware platform and cluster file system software from its recent acquisition of Terrascale Technologies.

"We feel that clustered storage is going to completely change the landscape of storage," said Tony Asaro, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. "But just because you put the word clustered in your documentation doesnt mean you have what I am referring to. So buyers beware."

Rackable Systems has one of the most compelling clustered architectures and technologies in the industry, Asaro said.

"RapidScale has leading price/performance that uniquely provides extremely high performance in terms of throughput and IOPs," he said. "Additionally, Rackable Systems has focused on ease of use and scalability. We believe they can be a formidable player in the HPC [high-performance computing] storage arena."

Key features, according to Rackable Systems, include the following:

  • Scalability: The RapidScale file system is scalable to petabytes of capacity.
  • High throughput: The solution provides tens of gigabytes of throughput, delivering near-linear scaling. Performance is only limited by the number of spindles deployed in the RapidScale storage cluster.
  • High IOPs: RapidScales patent-pending architecture delivers equally scaling of small-file, random access performance, satisfying the requirements of a wider range of application needs.
  • Centralized management: The solution allows administrators to centrally manage all clustered storage servers from one file system.
  • Easy deployment: RapidScale deploys quickly with familiar Linux administration tools. With no kernel or application modifications needed for accessing clients, administrators leverage tried-and-true Linux utilities to create and manage the RapidScale file system.
  • Compatibility: Replication and backup software compatible with the XFS file system are compatible with RapidScale.
  • High availability and dual-level RAID protection: Leveraging optional RapidScale HA technology, Rackable Systems RapidScale clustered file system solution delivers two independent levels of RAID protection—hardware RAID with optional hot spare inside each appliance and storage-cluster-level RAID across appliances. In case of failure of an entire appliance, the 8TB of capacity is quickly restored to a hot spare appliance in the same length of time for a single drive RAID rebuild.

RapidScale is available immediately, with 8TB Gigabit Ethernet configurations of the SA3100 appliance at list prices starting at $38,750, or under $5 per gigabyte. For more information, go here.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...