SGI Couples Server, Storage For High-Performance Workloads

Server and storage vendor SGI this week unveiled a new modular storage platform which uses "storage bricks" to increase performance or capacity per customer requirements.

SGI's new Modular InfiniteStorage integrates the company's server and storage platforms into a single scalable appliance for cloud computing and other storage management applications requiring tight coupling of compute and storage resources, said Floyd Christofferson, director of storage product marketing for the Fremont, Calif.-based vendor.

"We address markets from cloud to high performance computing to manufacturing," Christofferson said. "The InfiniteStorage provides extreme density. Customers can repurpose it from high-performance platforms to high-density platforms as they need to."

Storage capacity in the InfiniteStorage comes in the form of up to eight plug-in storage bricks per 4U chassis. Each brick can be configured with nine 3.5-inch or 18 2.5-inch hard drives, Christofferson said. Those drives can be SAS or SATA spinning disks, or SSDs.

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The devices also include one or two Intel "Jefferson Pass" motherboards, each of which includes one or two Intel Sandy Bridge processors, he said.

The result, Christofferson said, is up to 2.3 PBs of storage connected to up to 40 processors in a single standard rack. "You don't have that capacity with any other platform," he said.

Because the motherboards are industry-standard models, customers can run a full range of applications directly on the InfiniteStorage. "You can run a wide variety of applications like any high-performance system," he said. "But in this case, the processing is tightly coupled to the storage. So it's great as a media server, or for data warehousing or cloud compute clusters."

For extra high storage density, the InfiniteStorage can be configured as JBOD (just a bunch of disks) storage without the motherboards, giving room for a ninth storage brick, he said.

For extreme performance, customers could also couple the four motherboards to up to 14 SSDs, Christofferson said. "Not everyone needs that kind of performance," he said. "But the key is, this is a modular system. It can be configured as needed."

The SGI InfiniteStorage is also a very channel-friendly product, Christofferson said. Solution providers can configure it per customer requirements, and can start with a small configuration which can grow in nine-drive increments, he said. "Channel partners can offer a solutions platform which allows them to address different markets," he said.

The SGI InfiniteStorage is expected to ship towards the end of March.