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It also has integrated policy-based migration – Unity Active Archive – which can be managed from the array UI.
Meanwhile, Nexsan has decided to hold off on introducing NVMe capability on grounds of cost and fit with its customer base.
Nexsan’s unified storage arrays – which allow SAN and NAS access as well as file sync and share – have been upgraded with Intel Xeon processors, a leap of two generations from previous processors and a performance jump of around 6x, according to Nexsan founder Gary Watson.
Also, all-flash options of Nexsan arrays are now available in boxes from entry-level to high-end. And flash has become standard as an accelerator cache, with two slots reserved at least in all array configurations.
Now the entry level 2200 series can house up to 182TB of flash or 280TB of spinning disk (plus flash acceleration). The mid-range 4400 series can scale to 1.7PB with spinning disk and 737TB as an all-flash array. The high end 6900 goes to 4.6TB or 1.6PB as an all-flash array.
“We’re seeing a transformation in which customers are transitioning to flash as a mainstream option,” said Watson.
Read more about flash storage
- When it comes to choosing between hybrid flash and all-flash storage, the question is increasingly not how much flash is enough, but whether you still need any disk at all.
- Computer Weekly surveys an all-flash array market in which the big six in storage have largely settled on strategy, but key new technologies – such as TLC flash and 3D NAND – are emerging.
Unity Active Archive comes from Nexsan’s Assureon, which has existed as a separate product – with an object storage-based back-end – for the best part of 10 years. The issue was that the Unity operating environment was Unix-based and Assureon didn’t have a Unix client. Nexsan therefore developed one, and policy-based archiving can now be run from the Unity UI.
“We just about got it working, but decided it was not our core focus,” he said. “We might go back to it later this year. We’ll focus on what we’re doing, but if we decide to play in it [NVMe], we know how to.”
“But to get the advantages of NVMe you need to transfer bare metal over the wire, which means NVMe-over-fabrics. Unity today has iSCSI, Fibre Channel and NAS protocols, so it’s hard to see the usefulness of that.”
The controller bottleneck problem
Watson also discussed the issue of the controller bottleneck to providing NVMe-based storage, with features such as snapshots, replication, data reduction and encryption.
“When you’re providing five to 10 million IOPS, you have to throw some serious hardware at those features to make them work instead of slow things down.”