Nexsan Readies Next SATABeast Array For Mac Environments

The company's new SATABeast Xi delivers up to 42 Tbytes of raw capacity in a 4U format for Apple Xserve users, said Bob Woolery, senior vice president of marketing at the Woodland Hills, Calif.-based company.

Nexsan developed the SATABeast Xi in response to requests from its solution providers for Apple-specific storage solutions, Woolery said. "The Apple marketplace is creating a large amount of content, including video, photos, and music," he said. "And the Macintosh is big in the education market."

The SATABeast Xi is similar to Nexsan's existing SATABeast products, and includes both 4-Gbps Fibre Channel and iSCSI connectivity. It also includes AutoMAID, which allows idle hard drives to be spun to a lower speed to conserve energy, and a dual-redundant controller to protect stored data.

The SATABeast Xi also has software to simplify the configuration of the storage for Apple Xserve environments, as well as a new bezel to help complement Apple IT environments, Woolery said.

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Chris Donoyan, president of HomeRun Media, a Los Angeles-based solution provider focusing on the TV and movie studio market, said he likes what Nexsan has done with the new SATABeast Xi.

Professional video editing requires a huge amount of storage space, with a single minute of uncompressed high-definition video needing about 6 Gbytes to 8 Gbytes per minute of video, Donoyan said. And that data needs to be transferred at 300 Mbytes per second, he said.

HomeRun Media has been using Apple's Xserve RAID arrays in such environments, Donoyan said. However, they are limited to 10.5 Tbytes capacity in a 3U space.

The Nexsan SATABeast Xi offers up to 42 Tbytes in 4U, which is a great use of data center floor space, he said. And cost-wise, it is very close to the Apple Xserve RAID, he said.

Even more important is the SATABeast Xi's dual-redundant controllers, Donoyan said. "The Xserve RAID has dual controllers, but they're not redundant," he said. "We typically do seven hard drives per controller, and then mirror the two controllers using RAID 0 for protection."

Donoyan said he likes how the SATABeast Xi includes both iSCSI and Fibre Channel connectivity, as well as the array's power saving features including AutoMAID. Another interesting feature is its low noise level. "Before, we put the SATABeasts in the data center," he said. "Now they can be used as storage for individual work stations. And some video users need that kind of capacity."

Donoyan said he plans to offer both the SATABeast Xi and the Apple Xserve RAID arrays to customers. "There's nothing wrong with the Apple products," he said. "We have a lot of them out there."

Woolery said the SATABeast Xi will be shown publicly for the first time next week at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco. Shipments are expected to start March 15. The price of the new array will be about $1,200 per Tbyte, which is consistent with current SATABeast prices. "There's no extra price for using it in Apple environments," he said.