StoneFly adds RAID 6 to products

StoneFly Inc. has become the latest in a number of vendors to support of RAID 6: the capability to have two disks fail in an array without losing data.

"RAID 6 is interesting to me because it affords you extra protection," said Brad Green, director of information services for the Denton Central Appraisal District for the city and county of Denton, Texas.

Denton Central Appraisal is using economy-class ATA disks for archival and imagery volumes.

"When we have a volume fail it takes forever to rebuild. It doesn't happen that often, but when it does, if you suffer another failure, you lose data," Green said.

While Denton Central Appraisal has yet to experience a volume failure, Green said he just wants to be safe.

Ace Asphalt of Arizona, in Phoenix, has two RAID arrays that they mirrored data between by using an earlier StoneFly product that doesn't have RAID 6 because it wasn't available at the time they purchased it, according to Darin Soll.

"Since RAID 6 wasn't available, we went with two arrays, so we doubled the expense," he said. Since Soll's already made the investment he said he's not going to implement RAID 6 now, but he does see it as a more cost-effective way of updating his hardware in a couple of years, he said.

RAID 6 does have one detraction: because it writes additional data it is slightly slower than RAID 5 and uses slightly more disk space, users said. "You're using a few more milliseconds for an extra write, for protection during rebuild time," Green said.

Thus far, StoneFly is providing RAID 6 only on some of its platforms, including the recently introduced Integrated Storage Concentrator (iSC), ValueSAN, and OptiSAN product lines. Green doesn't believe his SAN is supported but he hopes that StoneFly brings the functionality to the rest of its product line as well so he doesn't have to buy new hardware.

StoneFly plans to eliminate RAID 5 as an option and sell its products as RAID 6, but network administrators can continue to configure them as RAID 5 if they don't want to have RAID 6, said Jame Ervin, technical account manager San Diego-based StoneFly. Pricing for the product is not expected to change.

StoneFly was acquired earlier this year by Dynamic Network Factory, in San Diego, for an undisclosed price.

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