Attaboy For SATABoy

The Woodland Hills, Calif.-based storage vendor's new SATABoy array also sports true active-active failover for protecting data, said Diamond Lauffin, executive vice president at Nexsan.

Solution providers said they and their customers have been waiting for Nexsan to offer SATA and active-active technology, which stands to help the company better compete with other second-tier storage vendors such as Dot Hill and JMR Electronics.

Nexsan's older products, as well as those of many competing vendors, typically offer active-passive, passive-active failover, Lauffin said. In that system, the array's drives are split into two RAID sets, and the array's two redundant controllers connect to both.

But the cache in each controller contains different data, so even though a failure in one controller will trigger the second controller to work with both RAID sets, any data in the failed controller's cache may be lost, he said.

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In active-active failover, the cache memories are in sync since both controllers see the disks as one RAID set, a feature that Lauffin called cache coherency. A failure in one controller won't mean a loss of any data in the cache, he said.

Dave Holloway, executive vice president of West Coast Technology, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based solution provider, said he welcomes Nexsan's introduction of SATABoy. "People want SATA, and they really want active-active failover," he said. "Nexsan has great marketing. But the market's push to adopt SATA has hurt the company."

SATA is proving to be attractive to small and midsize businesses as well as enterprises, said Greg Knieriemen, vice president of marketing at Chi, a Cleveland-based Nexsan partner. "And active-active failover is a high priority in environments that need no single point of failure," he said. "It's not typical in arrays at Nexsan's price range."

Knieriemen added that Nexsan is an outstanding channel partner.

"They have a very strict account registration program that they police well that clearly protects channel partners selling their products. They also keep the channel clean by kicking out partners that don't play by the rules," he said. "They put the fear of God in you about protecting their programs, and that lets us lead with Nexsan without worries."

The SATABoy array contains 5.6 Tbytes of storage in a 3U rack-mount enclosure. It carries a list price of about $16,600, according to Nexsan. The product is already shipping in limited quantities, and it's expected to enter general availability next month, Lauffin said.