HDS Unveils SATA Option, Enables SATA/Fibre Channel Mix On Thunder Arrays

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Hitachi Data Systems became the latest top-tier storage vendor to jump on the Serial ATA bandwagon with Monday's introduction of a SATA option for its midrange arrays.

The company's SATA Intermix Option, available now, will allow the company's Thunder 9500 V series of arrays to be configured with a combination of SATA and Fibre Channel arrays, said Scott Genereux, vice president of global marketing and business development for the company.

Using the SATA Intermix Option, an HDS array can be configured for up to 107 Tbytes of capacity in a single storage system.

HDS is targeting the new option at the growing number of fixed content applications generating data such as e-mails, databases, videos and medical records, which must be available on-line but is not frequently accessed, said Genereux.

The SATA Intermix Option is related to HDS's application-optimized storage strategy that moves IT's focus from the device to the application, Genereux said. "Customers today talk about applications," he said. "They don't talk about a Thunder 9500 or 9585, or [an EMC] Symmetrix. It's the app."

Customers are still concerned about the reliability of SATA in enterprise applications, said Genereux, and so HDS has added reliability features to its SATA system. These include the ability to read the data that was just written to check for reliability, a feature which tape drives offer but few hard drive systems do, he said. There is also a call-home feature which proactively scans hard drives on a regular basis and reports to a remote location, he said.

The SATA Intermix Option is also compatible with HDS's Open LDEV Guard data retention utility, which provides disk-based WORM capabilities to ensure data integrity for compliance and regulatory purposes, Genereux said.

The option is available for HDS's Thunder 9570V, 9580V, and 9585V. List price for a 5-Tbyte configuration split evenly between SATA and Fibre Channel drives is about $95,000. For 13 Tbytes, of which 85 percent is SATA-based, the list price is about $170,000.

Mark Teter, CTO of Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based solution provider, said HDS's SATA option is a seamless solution to allow data lifecycle management be done with two tiers of storage, especially as HDS starts to offer more pre-packaged services to the channel, including hierarchical storage management services based on its recent deal with AppIQ.

Until recently, this capability was not so important, said Teter. "But with all the new software from companies like Veritas, and other companies bringing out their information lifecycle management strategies, it is becoming important," he said.

SATA goes well with backups or with fixed content storage, Teter said. "To have that alongside an on-line transaction processing system using high-speed Fibre Channel storage, it's real nice to be able to populate (an HDS array) with a proper mix of SATA and Fibre Channel drives," he said.

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