BlueArc upgrades fast NAS servers

Storage vendor BlueArc Corp. this week launched the next version of its high-end network-attached storage array.

The Si8000 series NAS systems have expanded capability for accelerated remote copy between devices, snapshot backups, quota management and virus scanning, as well as support for virtual volumes in which administrators can subdivide volumes into groups or partitions of storage that can be managed under a single interface.

BlueArc uses Field-programmable Gate Arrays in its NAS designs to speed throughput and eliminate the bottleneck the NAS server normally puts on the transfer of data between the disk and the network clients. The company claims that its SiliconServers can reduce the size of that bottleneck from 200-400 M-bits/sec. to over 2,000 M-bits/sec. the speed of a bi-directional Gigabit Ethernet pipe.

The new family of NAS devices increases the capacity the SiliconServer from 8.7 terabytes per standard rack to over 26 terabytes.

The Si8000 family consists of three arrays of different sizes: the Si8300, which has a total capacity of seven terabytes; the Si8700 with 98 terabytes of capacity and the Si8900 with 228 terabytes of capacity. The largest device, the Si8900 also uses 2 G-bit/sec. Fibre Channel drives.

Virtual volumes allow administrators to create logical volumes on the fly from physical volumes and apply rules to them to enforce service level agreements. Up to 2,032 virtual volumes can be created from a physical volume.

The SiliconServer now also supports snapshot backups in which multiple images of the disk are taken at any point in time, and in the event of a failure of the media, the contents can be reconstructed from the snapshots.

Accelerated Data Copy allows the contents of a volume or entire server to be copied from one volume to another or from one SiliconServer to another.

Further, the new SiliconServers allow quotas to be applied by user, group or files.

BlueArc has also added a systems management unit to its SiliconServers. Consisting of a 1U (1.75-inch) industry-standard server, it lets administrators manage and configure the NAS devices, provide anti-virus support and perform Accelerated Data Copy.

The Si8000 family is available immediately starting at under US$50,000.

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