Xiotech Pitches Scaled-Down SAN for SMBs

The entry-level Magnitude 3D 3000e storage cluster is easier to manage and lower in cost than the company's enterprise offerings.

Xiotech has introduced a scaled-down version of its Magnitude 3D 3000s SAN intended for small and midsize organizations. Intended as an entry-level storage cluster offering, the Magnitude 3D 3000e offers much of the same functionality as other members of the Magnitude 3D family, but with less capacity and performance, and at a lower cost point.

As the entry-level offering in the Eden Prairie, Minn., companys Magnitude 3D 3000 series SAN (storage area network) line, the 3000e serves as a companion to the enterprise-level Magnitude 3D 3000s. The main differences between the two lie in capacity and performance, with the 3000e supporting up to 19.2TB of capacity, versus 76.8TB in the 3000s.

The 3000e has one-half a gigabyte of protected memory for cache operations within a single system, versus 2GB with the 3000s, and supports 64 drives, versus 224 drives in the 3000s.

In addition, the 3000e supports up to four host ports on the front and back ends, while the 3000s scales up to eight ports on the front and back end.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about Xiotechs Magnitude SAN line for midrange customers.

Other than its scaled-down performance, capacity and price point—the 3000e starts at $40,000, compared to about $90,000 for the 3000s—the Magnitude 3D 3000e also is simpler to manage, said Eric Lomascolo, a Xiotech Corp. senior product marketing manager.

"We removed the complexity that underlies the standardized RAID group thinking and simplified it by letting users create virtual disks at the size they need them," he said. "They can make them granular. There is no limitation, whether they want to create virtual disks in megabytes or gigabytes or terabytes."

The simplification extends to making changes to the system, Lomascolo said.

"If a customer wants to change it from RAID 5 to RAID 10 for better performance, they dont have to bring a consultant in to migrate the data from one to another," he said. "If they have sufficient capacity in the system, they can simply change the RAID level from RAID 5 to RAID 10 on the fly without downtime to the application."

Lomascolo also said that as SMBs grow, they can easily migrate to other products within the Magnitude 3D family without application downtime.

Xiotechs intent to make its Magnitude 3D more attractive to the lucrative SMB market is a good move, said Natalya Yezhkova, senior research analyst for storage systems at IDC Corp. of Framingham, Mass.

"In the short term, it has an advantage because it has been in the SMB market for a while, knows its customers, and has a good channel, whereas some of the vendors currently entering the space still dont have the expertise necessary to really target SMBs and develop relationships with the channel," Yezhkova said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about IBMs 4G bits SAN offering, demonstrated at Storage Decisions.

But in the long term, Xiotech must keep its eye on the prize, continuing to develop more sophisticated solutions for the SMB market while keeping a close eye on major competitors like EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Corp. and IBM, she said.

While some speculate that it could be a replacement for the Magnitude 3D 1000e, a similar product geared to the midmarket, Lomascolo disagreed, saying that while the 3000e has the same relative maximum capacity as the 1000e, the 3000e provides more performance, two additional host interfaces, configurable cache at the VDisk level, and configurable VDisk prioritization.

"While we believe new customers will choose Magnitude 3D 3000e, customers may still chose Magnitude 3D 1000e," he said.

Lomascolo said the 3000es advanced capabilities around VDisk prioritization may come in handy as the company readies the newest version of its DataScale software, which uses VDisk prioritization to allow users to tune their performance for any one of the virtual disks.

"They can change the quality of service to the VDisks that underlie an application to give it better performance," he said. "Where a customer has multiple servers attached to the SAN, this allows them to set the priorities to the servers that have applications that need that additional performance."

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