Xiotech Enhances Performance, Cache Of Arrays

The Eden Prairie, Minn.-based vendor has moved from the proprietary processor and controller used in its existing products to dual Xeon processors, said Mike Stolz, vice president of marketing for the company. As a result, performance is between two times and five times that of its existing Magnitude 3D 1000, he said.

Also new with the 3000 is a built-in cache that can be set by the user to be available to certain applications and not available to others, said Stolz. For instance, he said if a database application needs cache to run faster, it can access the cache. However, for reference data, where performance is not as critical, it can be set so the cache is not available.

The ability to make cache available selectively is important for certain applications, especially for governments, Stolz said. "Cache has a security risk, or carries a risk of introducing contamination into data," he said. "Therefore, many government agencies don't want to use it."

The 3000 has a maximum capacity of up to 224 hard drives in up to eight drive bays, said Stolz. A mix of Fiber Channel and SATA hard drives can exist within the same array, but within a drive bay, all the drives must be of the same type, he said.

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It operates in Windows, NetWare, Linux, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX and IRIX environments when connected to SANs including switches from Brocade, Cisco or McData, Stolz said.

David Hiechel, president and CEO of Eagle Software, a Salina, Kan.-based Xiotech solution provider, said the 3000 pushes the envelope of what the channel can do in the midrange market. "It helps us compete against the EMC CX700," he said.

Hiechel said what Xiotech is doing with cache is especially interesting . "Xiotech has always had no cache in its arrays, and instead striped the data across all the drives for performance," he said. "It gives tremendous bandwidth."

The market has been waiting for an array that allows cache to be turned on or off according to the application. "Running an application without cache has not been a problem," he said. "We've been doing very well with it. So instead of looking at it as being able to turn cache off, we see it as, what apps do we need cache for."

The array is expected to be available to solution providers this week, with a starting price of about $50,000, which includes a minimum of 1 Tbyte of SATA storage.