Nexsan Software Virtualizes, Scales Data Archives


The new Assureon 6.0 now includes such capabilities as physical separation of individual customer files in multi-tenant environments and nearly unlimited scalability of an individual archive, said Bob Woolery, senior vice president of marketing for Nexsan.

With the upgrades, solution providers will be able to either set up their own storage-as-as-service offering or build internal storage-as-as-service for customers, Woolery said. They can use the Assureon either to offer either archiving or traditional storage as part of that service, he said.

The Assureon 6.0 is the latest version of the company's Assureon compliance appliance, which was launched in August of 2005. It was updated last year with the introduction of new compliance features for smaller and midsize businesses.

New for version 6.0 is the addition of new privacy capabilities that allow data to be separated into separate archives without the possibility of those separate archives comingling, Woolery said. "We guarantee everybody's data is separate," he said.

Sponsored post

The Assureon 6.0 is also scalable as a customer grows and adds more archives. "There's no limit," Woolery said. "We virtualize the archives together to manage and protect the data and to grow the performance as it scales."

Nexsan does this with a virtual CAS (content-addressable storage) archive, or a federated CAS archive, Woolery said. With this capability, as an archive reaches the limit on the number of objects it contains, which may or may not depend on the application, a new archive is opened, with multiple archives being virtualized to look like a single archive to the application, he said.

This is especially important with email archives, which typically consists of a large number of small objects, Woolery said.

Nexsan also takes advantage of its AutoMAID (automatic massive array of idle disks) technology to cut the power consumption of the Assureon as archives scale, Woolery said. AutoMAID can be set to turn down power to or shut down hard drives that have not been accessed for a customer-specified time to reduce overall power usage.

As certain files become accessed by users less and less over time, they can be set with AutoMAID to go idle, Woolery said. "With other technologies, everything is in one big archive," he said. "You can't put parts on different levels of hard drives. In this case, if one item is accessed, it spins up all the disks."

Bill Allen, president of Enterprise Storage Solutions, a West Lake Village, Calif.-based storage solution provider and Nexsan partner, said the ability to build archives with unlimited scalability will be important to his financial customers and other large customers such as NASA.

"One thing people don't want is to be limited in the number of objects they can archive," Allen said. "This is huge. I'm not sure if customers really need this capability, or if it's just a sales point for now. It's hard to say. But it's a big selling point. And once customers have it, they will appreciate it."

The biggest problem Nexsan faces with Assureon sales is the fact that compliance just has not yet become a big issue with customers, Allen said. "It's because customers fight compliance," he said. "Every customer has a different way to implement it, and from the executives at the top down to the IT administrators, the view is different. But it's slowly coming together."

The Assureon 6.0 is currently available through the channel, with pricing starting at about $50,000 with a configuration of 14 Tbytes of storage.