SGI To Unveil High-Density, Low-Cost Storage

SGI's new InfiniteStorage 6120 fits up to 60 1-TB hard drives in a 4U enclosure, which means up to 120 TB in an 8U pair or up to 660 TB in a single rack, said Kurt Kuckien, product line manager for the Fremont, Calif.-based storage vendor.

With a full 60 TB of hard drives, the SGI InfiniteStorage 6120 will have an average selling price of about $60,000, compared to the full list price of $66,000 for the bare enclosure with no hard drives, Kuckien said.

The new SGI was formed last month when Rackable Systems closed the acquisition of the original Silicon Graphics and then kept the SGI name for the combined company.

Unlike the legacy SGI's current storage arrays, which feature high-end processors on their controllers along with custom-built RAID chips, the SGI InfiniteStorage 6120 features x86-based processors and software-based RAID to bring the cost down significantly, Kuckien said.

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The 6120, which was built in conjunction with OEM storage vendor DataDirect Networks, allows mixing and matching of SAS and SATA hard drives. For higher performance applications, customers can also order solid state hard drives.

The array features 8-Gbit Fibre Channel connectivity, and should have InfiniBand connectivity by year-end, Kuckien said.

"We are also tracking the need for iSCSI," he said. "Because the legacy SGI was focused on the HPC [high performance computing] market, we didn't look at iSCSI in the past. But we'll be considering 10-Gbit Ethernet iSCSI in the future."

SGI also plans to launch the 6120 with 2-TB hard drives early in the fourth quarter, giving it a total capacity of 120 TB in a 4U space, Kuckien said.

The 6120 also includes Data Direct's SATAssure data integrity checking feature, which detects and corrects silent data corruption and protects against double drive failures, Kuckien said. The result is increased reliability for large pools of SATA drives, he said.

With the 6120, SGI is looking to target a wider channel base than in the past, Kuckien said. Before it was bought by Rackable Systems, SGI saw about 10 percent to 20 percent of its sales volume go through channel partners, mainly ISVs and government solution providers. But with the new lower-cost 6120, SGI would like to bump that figure to up to 50 percent, he said.

The 6120 is expected to be generally available by the end of this month.