Scale-Out Storage Provides Performance Edge As Capacity Increases

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IBM developed its own scale-out NAS offering, the IBM Scale Out Network Attached Storage (SONAS), to support multiple petabytes of storage in a single file system. For scale-out SAN, offers its XIV line, which it acquired in 2008. XIV and SONAS can be used together via a gateway that lets SONAS customers use XIV disk for back-end storage.

Hitachi Data Systems' Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) array provides both scale-up and scale-out capabilities, as well as what the company terms "scale deep," or the ability to virtualize heterogeneous storage arrays connected to the VSP, said Christophe Bertrand, senior director for HDS's product marketing platforms and business continuity.

Bertrand said he scale-out storage will become pervasive as it is something enterprises will be looking to implement to make their data centers run more efficiently. However, he said, basic implementations of scale-out storage such as loosely coupling whole storage nodes across a switch network like Ethernet, RapidIO, or Infiniband, will not accomplish this goal. Instead, he said, a more efficient way to scale-out storage systems is through the tight coupling of storage resources through an internal switch or network where individual components can be added as needed without having to add an entire storage node.

Xiotech's ISE and Hybrid ISE storage systems provide scale-out storage capability by building redundant storage capacity, controllers, and power supplies into a sealed 3U enclosure that lets customers start out with a single system and expand capacity and performance together by adding new units. About 90 percent of Xiotech's customers are using its ISE and Hybrid ISE technology.

Scale Computing's Intelligent Clustered Operating System (ICOS) technology provides scale-out storage capabilities to 100 percent of its customers, particularly in the SMB market. The company said that the scale-out storage model provides room for repeat business as a primary revenue driver by allowing customers to buy only the storage they need and add to it as requirements grow.

BlueArc provides scale-out capabilities as an integral part of its high-performance storage offering, and provides customers the ability to select how they scale, including bandwidth or IOPS performance, capacity, and how they manage a system at scale. Gridstore offers a scale-out NAS software for SMB customers which is delivered primarily by MSPs. The software can be used in conjunction with existing industry-standard servers to turn idle servers into a scale-out NAS platform and managing their combined capacity as a single pool of storage. Coraid's EtherDrive technology provides scale-out capabilities via its EtherDrive nodes, which are based on industry-standard components. EtherDrive scales up to 65,536 nodes per network, each of which can feature a mix of SSD, SATA, or SAS drives and multiple RAID configurations.

Quantum's StorNext data management software provides high-speed content sharing combined with data archiving. Its Distributed LAN Client (DLC) provides NAS-like scalability to thousands of servers and compute nodes, the company said.

Avere Systems offers its Avere FXT series of high-performance, scale-out NAS appliances for adding NAS functionality to both existing and new NAS deployments and both single-vendor and heterogeneous NAS environments.

DataDirect Networks provides three different scale-out storage solutions in its GridScaler, ExaScaler, and NAS Scaler lines. About 85 percent of the company's customers use scale-out solutions.

Symantec provides a scale-out storage solution in its Symantec FileStore software, which is used by about 25 percent of the company's customers, especially those dealing with big data workloads, including media repositories, large archives, and Web content storage. The company expects scale-out technology will be the foundation of all enterprise file-based storage platforms in five years.

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