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Storage technology has advanced in significant ways in the past few years, as networked storage, storage appliances, and storage networks became key parts of the infrastructure at many businesses. Now a new approach--"clustered" storage--is making a bid for a place in the enterprise.
Xiotech Corp., which makes storage area networks, on Monday will introduce Magnitude 3D, clustered storage that's designed to automatically react to outages and keep data flowing by shifting data to another device when a potential failure is detected. To start, a Magnitude 3D cluster will include two nodes or devices, each with a controller and eight host-bus adapters for connections to drives and switches. Each cluster can store up to 30 terabytes of data. Xiotech early next year plans to offer a 16-node cluster.
Andy Porter, a senior network engineer at St. Vincent's Hospital in Indianapolis, tested the system and plans to buy one for $200,000 as soon as the paperwork is approved. St. Vincent's is one of the largest health-care providers in the state with 80 locations. Porter says the 3D worked as promised, and it lets him easily add capacity. "Xiotech is the only vendor doing SANs right, and you don't have to be an engineer at NASA to figure it out," he says. "They have high-end capabilities in the silicon so we don't have to administer [storage] virtualization."
Xiotech is the first SAN vendor to offer a cluster with failover capabilities, says Steve Kenniston at Enterprise Storage Group. He says failover is always handled by software on the host server. "When building the infrastructure, it's nice that storage is always on and always available," he says. "And you can continuously grow capacity without heavy lifting."