Nexsan Puts 60 Drives In 4U Chassis

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Nexsan this week added a new level of flexibility and convenience into its storage appliance line with the introduction of a new product family featuring pull-out drawers for hot-swapping of drives and components.

Nexsan's new E-Series off appliances feature what the company calls active drawer technology. This allows solution providers or customers to pull out one of several drawers to swap out SSDs or hard drives instead of pulling out the entire appliance when updating or replacing the drives, said Victoria Grey, senior vice president of marketing for the Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based vendor.

Active Drawer Technology lets a single IT administrator support the storage systems, Grey said.

"One appliance might account for 300 pounds of equipment in the rack," she said. "Now there's no need to pull the entire system out. Just pull out the drawer and swap the drives while the system is running."

Doug Cole, a partner at LH Computer Services, a Coral Springs, Fla.-based solution provider and long-time Nexsan partner, said the technology is a big plus over previous versions of Nexsan's storage appliances.

"Keeping the weight in the rack with pull-out drawers is a great idea," Cole said. "It keeps the rack from falling over. With other appliances, you need to slide the entire chassis in and out. And you often need a second person in back to move the cables."

Nexsan's Active Drawer Technology is available on three new E-Series appliances.

The E18 puts up to 18 SAS hard drives, or up to 10.8 TBs of capacity, in a 2U chassis, and supports a mixed SAS drive and SSD environment, Grey said. It also includes one or two of Nexsan's new storage controllers, each with two 8-Gbps Fibre Channel and one 1-Gbps iSCSI interface. It is expected to be available by the end of March.

The E60 can be configured with up to 60 SAS or SSD drives, or a maximum of 120 TBs of capacity, in a 4U chassis, and comes with two of the new controllers. It is currently shipping.

The E60X is similar to the E60, but it has no controllers, making it an expansion chassis for Nexsan's other appliances.

Along with the new appliances, Nexsan has also enhanced its AutoMAID technology which slows down the spinning of idle disk drives to reduce power and cooling costs. AutoMAID, which previously had three power-down levels, now has a fourth level in which the power to the spindle motor and the drive electronics is turned off, cutting power consumption of the arrays by up to 87 percent. Should data be required, the drives can be powered up in 30 to 60 seconds, Grey said.

Nexsan also updated its corporate logo and the look and feel of its storage appliances for the first time since the company was founded, with a stylized "E" representing ease of acquisition and operation, efficient operation, and enterprise-class capabilities, Grey said.

"We have been working on updating the brand for about a year," she said. "The old purple look did well for us for a while. But it's a '90s look. The new style focuses better on who we are and what we do."

One thing that has not changed is Nexsan's 100-percent focus on the channel, Grey said.

"The midmarket customer looks to the channel for help configuring, buying, and deploying storage," she said. "The typical midmarket customer doesn't have the expertise to do that on its own."

The Nexsan E18 lists starting at under $45,000 with a single controller and nine 450-GB SAS hard drives. The E60 starts at under $52,000 with a single controller and 20 1-TB SATA drives. A second controller for either one lists for under $12,000.

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