Huawei launches OceanStor Pacific 9920 entry-level NAS

Huawei adds to its OceanStor Pacific NAS family, offering entry-level 9920 with up to 92TB per node which can be combined into clusters and also used as a SAN device

Huawei has launched a network-attached storage (NAS) array in Europe, the OceanStor Pacific 9920, which will offer up to 92TB raw capacity in 2U of rack space. This move by Huawei aims at datacentres and dodges the equipment operator market restrictions it is subject to, notably from the European Union.

The 9920 is an entry-level version in the range, whose flagship 9950 drive offers up to 614TB (terabytes) raw capacity in a 5U chassis. What the two machines have in common that they are all-flash, in contrast with the 9520 (2U) and 9550 (5U) which are equipped with hard disk drives (HDDs). The family is completed by the 9350 (5U), which offers lower performance and is targeted at use cases that require less costly storage for archiving workloads. The advantage of the HDD-based models is that they can get close to 2PB (petabytes) in capacity.

Huawei also offers the SAN OceanStor Dorado range. However, its array families seem to rely less and less on technical criteria, and since the sixth generation of hardware launched last year, all models use more or less the same motherboards. Differentiation comes with functionality built into software, and increasingly via containers. In other words, that makes it theoretically possible to use an OceanStor Pacific 9920 in SAN mode.

Huawei also markets a monitoring appliance, OceanCyber, which surveys OceanStor traffic in real time via network cards installed in the arrays and which includes monitoring for cyber attacks.

File mode and block mode

OceanStor arrays are useable standalone or as nodes in a cluster via a system of “management via artificial intelligence” deployed on FastLink network acceleration cards that share access between them. According to Huawei, the arrays can share files over a local network – such as in video production where thoughput can be demanding – as well as distributed storage for high-performance computing (HPC) use cases.

At the front end, the OceanStor Pacific 9920 offers NFS and SMB connectivity and supports Posix file management, as well as MPI-IO for parallelised file systems. Object storage is supported via S3. HDFS connectivity is also possible.

The arrays can connect via Ethernet, RoCE or Infiniband with block storage in iSCSI and Cinder (OpenStack block storage). In a cluster, these connections can be privileged in communication between nodes.

Several levels of performance are possible. The machine can be delivered with two Kunpeng 920 ARM processors, which come from a Huawei subsidiary HiSilicon with 512GB or 768GB of RAM. There is also a version with two Intel Xeon processors and 1TB of RAM.

According to Huawei numbers, its base version can provide throughput of 20GBps and 230,000 IOPS. The version with Xeon CPUs can achieve 800,000 IOPS. In case of an outage, the ARM processor-equipped models can rebuild data at a rate of 2TB per hour, while the Xeon version achieves 4TB per hour.

In terms of drives, the OceanStor Pacific 9920 has two 480GB SATA SSDs to host boot systems, with up to 25 2.5in NVMe SSDs or 12 3.5in SSDs for capacity. At present, those would be high-capacity quad-level cell (QLC) drives, although Huawei has spoken of the potential to move to penta-level cell (PLC) drives when – or if – available.

Different connection options include 25Gbps or 100Gbps via Ethernet and RoCE, as well as 100Gbps via Infiniband.

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