Nexsan Unveils 42-Drive, 4U ATA Array With Full Redundancy

The ATABeast/HA, unveiled Tuesday, uses ATA hard drives to keep costs down but comes with a full range of enterprise-class redundancy features to ensure high availability, said Diamond Lauffin, senior executive vice president of the Woodland Hills, Calif.-based company. The array includes dual Fibre Channel ports or dual Ultra160 SCSI ports.

Typical RAID arrays in the 40-drive range come with five to 10 hard drives screwed onto a card that must be replaced if one of the drives fails, but the 42 drives in the ATABeast/HA are individually top loaded into the array so one drive can be hot-swapped for a new one in the event of a failure, Lauffin said.

The ATABeast/HA also has other high-availability features, notably the ability to split the capacity into two mirrored RAID sets, Lauffin said. Each set has a capacity of up to 19 500-Gbyte hard drives, as well as an extra drive to handle RAID parity and a hot spare. The hot spare drives can be used by either set for safety in the unlikely event that two drives fail at the same time, he said. In such a configuration, customers get a maximum of 9.5 Tbytes of mirrored capacity.

In addition, the ATABeast/HA features dual controllers, dual caches with fail-safe rollover and dual fans. The midplane is mounted horizontally in the bottom of the chassis, with the hard drives plugged vertically into the midplane. The result is an unobstructed airflow path from the front of the chassis to the back to eliminate heat buildup, Lauffin said.

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Based on customer inquiries and preorders, about half of the ATABeast/HA arrays are expected to ship preconfigured with 28 hard drives, while the other half should ship with the full 42 drives, according to Lauffin. With 42 500-Gbyte hard drives, the ATABeast/HA will have a street price of about $50,000. All of Nexsan's sales go through the channel, and the company has no direct-sales force, he said.