Category Archives: Data Storage

New FreeBSD Foundation Project: HAST

FreeBSD foundation logoThe FreeBSD Foundation has announced that is funding a new funded project: HAST

“Pawel Jakub Dawidek has been awarded a grant to implement storage replication software that will enable users to use the FreeBSD operating system for highly available configurations where data has to be shared across the cluster nodes. The project is partly being funded by OMCnet Internet Service and TransIP BV.

The software will allow for synchronous block-level replication of any storage media (GEOM providers, using FreeBSD nomenclature) over the TCP/IP network and for fast failure recovery. HAST will provide storage
using GEOM infrastructure, which means it will be file system and application independent and could be combined with any existing GEOM class. In case of a master node failure, the cluster will be able to
switch to the slave node, check and mount UFS file system or import ZFS pool and continue to work without missing a single bit of data.

High-availability is the number one requirement for any serious use of any operating system,

Pawel Jakub Dawideksaid Pawel Jakub Dawidek, FreeBSD Developer.

Highly available storage is one of the key components in such environments. I strongly believe there are many FreeBSD users that have been waiting a long time for this functionality. I’ll do my best to deliver software that matches FreeBSD quality and that will satisfy the needs of our users.

Pawel has been an active FreeBSD committer since 2003. During this period, he has touched almost every part of the kernel. But, his main interest in FreeBSD is storage and security related topics. Pawel is the author of various GEOM classes (eli, mirror, gate, label, journal, hsec, etc.), geom(8) utility, various opencrypto improvements as well as port of the ZFS file system from OpenSolaris to FreeBSD.

The project will complete by February 2010.”

If you want, you can support this project too.

Sun Microsystems’ new storage arrays (F5100 Flash Array)

Sun Microsystems has unveiled new integrated Flash arrays, promising to increase database performance by up to 10 times while reducing operating costs.

The company describes the Storage F5100 Flash Array as a “significant leap forward in the industry”, claiming to be the first to bring fully-integrated Flash-based storage with Flash-optimised software to enterprises.


The F5100 Flash Array has up to 2TB of solid-state Flash capacity, and provides 1.6 million read and 1.2 million write input/output operations per second in a single 1.75in rack unit, the firm said.

The Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array is the world’s fastest and most power efficient flash array for accelerating database applications. It redefines database performance, cutting transaction times in half and doubling application throughput. The Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array lets you scale your performance and capacity needs efficiently without impacting data availability so you can meet your growing business needs.

Sun claimed that this makes it comparable to 3,000 enterprise hard disk drives that would span over 14 datacentre racks and consume more than 10 times the energy, or 40,000W.

“This builds on Sun’s strategy to lead a new storage hierarchy driven by Flash technology to accelerate input/output throughput,” said John Fowler, executive vice president of Sun’s Systems Group.

“No other vendor today is shipping fully-integrated Flash-based hardware and software that leverages a world-class operating system to deliver breakthrough performance and value to our customers.”

The array has performed well in benchmarking tests, according to Sun, clocking up records on systems such as the Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise Payroll 9.0 application, where it was found to improve input/output performance with 10 times better latency compared to traditional Fibre Channel disks.

“San Diego Supercomputer Center [SDSC] has been evaluating the F5100 Flash Storage array as a high-performance SamQFS metadata target, which sits at the core of our archiving services and hosts well over 100 million files,” said Don Thorp, a production systems evaluator at SDSC.

“Performance improvement of 2.5 to four times was demonstrated for file cre ation and metadata scans, such as listing and backups.”

iXsystems introduces iX-N4224 Orion Server Series (ZFS)

iXlogoiXsystems has introduced the iX-N4224 Orion Server Series, designed for storage-intensive applications, ZFS implementations, and virtualization, iX-N4224 Orion servers offer up to 48 terabytes of storage with 24 hot-swappable SAS/SATA drive bays in a 4U configuration. The iX-N4224 is expandable to up to 240 drives and 480TB storage capacity with the optional Orion JBOD Expansion Units.

The iX-N4224 provides the ideal platform for high-capacity storage applications requiring simplified server management, performance, and power savings. The intelligent Intel® Xeon® 5500 series quad-core processors adjust performance and power usage to meet the exact requirements of computing workloads. Power is conserved by automatically putting the CPU into the lowest available power state during low utilization periods. Performance is also maximized by the processor operating above the rated frequency to speed specific workloads. This intelligent power management, coupled with ultra-high efficiency power supplies and optional low power hard drives and RAM, make the Orion servers and JBODs top of their class in storage capacity/density per watt.


Features of the iX-N4224 Orion Include:

  • Intel® Xeon® 5500 series server processors for ultimate compute power and intelligent energy usage
  • Up to 144GB of DDR3 1333 energy efficient RAM
  • 250MB, 500MB, 750MB, 1TB, and 2TB hard drives for fully customizable storage sizes
  • 24 hot-swappable SAS/SATA drive bays offer a maximum of 48 terabytes of storage per server
  • Expandable to up to 240 drives and 480TB storage capacity with optional Orion JBOD Expansion Units
  • A Gold level, 93% energy efficient power supply to cut energy costs
  • Three 5000 RPM cooling PWM fans and two 5000 RPM rear exhaust PWM fans for fantastic cooling
  • Integrated IPMI 2.0 Remote Management, Lights Out Management, KVM over LAN, and Dedicated Management Interface.

The iX-N4224 provides the ideal platform for deploying a ZFS-based solution, says Matt Olander, CTO of iXsystems. The ZFS file system requires hardware with the capability to expand on the fly. The iX-N4224 Orion Server Series provides this needed expansion capability.

As a highly scalable storage system, the Orion server is optimized for ZFS implementations. ZFS is a 128-bit file system, able to address 18 billion times more data than a 64-bit file system. This gives ZFS systems a technically limitless capacity, with limitations so large that the system will never encounter them. Instead of relying on one device, ZFS file systems utilize virtual storage pools to seamlessly store and pull data from multiple devices or many virtual storage pools amongst one or a few devices. This eliminates the need for a volume manager when using multiple devices.

Up to 9 Orion JBOD Expansion Units can be added to the iX-N4224 to provide massive storage capacity capable of handling ZFS file system requirements. With its large initial capacity and the potential to add further storage as requirements increase, the iX-N4224 provides an excellent choice for ZFS implementation.

Iomega’s NAS: Is the mainstream ready for network storage?

Iomega Announces High Performance yet Affordable Four-Drive NAS Appliance With Innovative Features for Small Businesses and Distributed Offices

Iomega, an EMC company, announced the next generation of its quad-drive desktop NAS appliance with the worldwide launch of the new Iomega® StorCenter™ ix4-200d. Based on industry-leading enterprise-class EMC® storage technologies, the affordable ix4-200d is the ideal NAS appliance for small businesses, distributed offices and home office networks that require advanced data storage and protection features without the need for a dedicated IT staff.

Up and running in a matter of four mouse clicks and a few minutes, the ix4-200d NAS appliance provides up to 8TB* of networked storage that easily integrates with existing infrastructure for expanded storage, file-sharing and backup of critical business data. The ix4-200d delivers advanced features such as:

  • iSCSI block-level access for efficient storage utilization
  • Device-to-device replication to network targets for business continuity and file recovery
  • Multiple RAID configurations for the highest level of data protection
  • Windows® Active Directory support
  • Remote access and management
  • IP security camera support
  • A new front panel LCD and QuikTransfer button for easy one-touch copying of selected files
  • And unique to this category of products VMware® certification for virtualization installations – all at a starting price of less than $700.00.

Affordably priced for small businesses and home office use, the new Iomega StorCenter ix4-200d NAS appliance is now available to IT resellers worldwide via select distribution channels.

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Enterprise Technologies to change consumer PC market

The average consumer may be unaware of high-end storage  and network technologies such as pNFS, PCIe and 10Gb Ethernet (10GbE), but they could revolutionise the consumer PC market in ways that most consumers can’t even begin to imagine.

Henry Newman analyses how consumers will eventually benefit all the exiting technologies that are now being used by enterprises and datacenters:

nas storage

“One of the biggest problems for home PC users is migration of data to new systems. Most consumers get new computers every three to five years. During that period, the amount of data they amass from cameras, video, music and everything else increases fairly dramatically. Getting that data from one system to another is no easy task. You can use USB, Ethernet or some other method, but it can be a slow process.

A cottage industry of products and services has sprung up just to move your data, including external storage devices that are basically low-end NAS devices. Data Robotics (Drobo), HP, EMC, Seagate, Western Digital, and many others, have all stepped in to fill the need. I am not going to talk about the merits of products or methods, but needless to say, some products are designed for some parts of the market better than others, and some are easier to use and to migrate to new technologies than others.

So you have small NAS boxes getting more affordable and disk drive costs dropping significantly, but the performance to move data to a new system is constant or at best a bit faster, so with so much more data, it is a big problem to reliably move it all. Another thing to remember is that these home NAS devices are relatively slow compared to the speed of a hard drive. The performance available today for home PCs ranges in the marketing literature from 100 MB/sec to 66 MB/sec. We all know what marketing speak is, but for the sake of this discussion, I will use the upper end at 100 MB/sec. The fastest current NAS network connectivity is 1Gbit Ethernet, but plenty of PCs are limited to Firewire or USB-2 speeds.

Using 1GbE hardware, NAS speeds are limited to a peak of 125 MB/sec. The real number when you add NFS or CIFS communications protocols and file system overhead is more like 30 MB/sec for write and maybe 50 MB/sec for read. So at best this current crop of NAS boxes is much slower than disk drives, between one-half and one-third the performance of current disk drive technology. This all changes when 10GbE becomes available later this year at commodity pricing; then the channel becomes much faster than the drives. For now, though the usage model for these low-end NAS devices is for bulk storage. They are not fast enough to replace local disk drives yet and the latency is high, but with 10GbE, pNFS and faster, lower-latency PCIe buses, the game will change.

When a home user wants to upgrade storage, generally what happens is users get new storage with a new machine and have to move the files on the old system to the new one. This is a great business model for many organizations that support national chains that charge good money to move the files to the new system. With technologies like Drobo and others that allow for storage migration inside the box to higher density storage, data migration becomes significantly easier, as you just have to add new disk drives and wait for the box to rebuild itself. The problem today is these technologies are too slow for many home users doing video editing or editing large photos or temporary files; the write performance is just too slow and read is not much better. These performance problems get eliminated with the commoditization of 10GbE. The Ethernet connection will be faster than the drives, which has never happened to my memory. 10GbE speeds are around 400 MB/sec to 600 MB/sec for some vendors, including the NFS overhead. Imagine that for video editing.”

Read the whole analysis: A Home PC Revolution Coming (