back to article EMC reapplies iSCSI storage warpaint

EMC is reinvigorating efforts to win the hearts and wallets of SMBs with a new storage area network (SAN) array. The Clariion AX4 SAS/SATA disk array is heir to EMC's AX150 and CX300 in its low-end storage lineup. The box sports a capacity well above its predecessors and puts new emphasis on the iSCSI protocol. Set to ship …

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  1. mvrx
    IT Angle

    iSCSI is becoming a simple commodity

    It is kind of rediculous what people pay for this stuff. iSCSI technology is becoming simple commodity technology. EMC has been ripping off businesses since their conception. When storage was $1/GB the company I was at was paying $100/GB to EMC.

    What is really needed is simple off the shelf hardware with huge banks of memory for caching. With a little modification, a xeon server motherboard with 16-32 FB-DIMM slots (up to 256GB ram), RAID cards, and linux host storage software can offer very scalable storage units on the cheap.

    1GbE still doesn't cut it. 10GbE is getting there. But what I really look forward to is the 32nm based 100GbE optical chipsets that will make 100GbE storage networks common place (even in the home eventually). Someday, even a home enthusiast user will be able to buy a couple TB HD, drop it into his central home storage server (that is loaded with insane amounts of cache), and run all his home machines (and DVRs, HA, Security video DVRs, etc) on it.

    Stay tunned.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a comodity indeed

    as said its now a comodity, indeed even FreeNAS has iSCSI today, the biggest problem today is getting commodity end user ethernet cards fst enough to work with windows.

    when will the 3rd party ethernet makers bring out faster than 1 gig ethernet at a good price, if RTL can sell a generic 1gig ethrnet at less than £10 why are we not seeing 10gigbit or even better today in the end user consumer market?.

    hell, even some 2,4,6 and 8 Gigbit cards to fill the masive gap would be taken up by many windows/*nix home users for home NAS and other high data throughput tasks today.

    its crazy that the *NIX users can use generic Free ethernet Bonding device drivers to increase their throughput to 2, 4 and more Gigbit per second between any home linux/BSD NAS machine, but theres no sign of any Free windows Bonding software driver to be seen or had today....

    whats wrong with that, cant some 3rd party windows developers or MS take this simple step to write a Free Bonding driver to fill the gap thats been left by the 3rd party ethernet producers for a long time now?, are they not up to the task?.

  3. Deven Phillips
    Unhappy

    Where was this 2 years ago?!?!

    We ended up purchasing the Apple Xserve RAID 2 years ago because we needed SAN storage but could not afford the big-boy pricing. So, for US$12,000 we got 7TB, but it's not supported by VMware. Truth is, it works fine with VMware and even works with VMotion, but it is a little limited on how you can divide up the storage among LUNs. Additionally, the Xserver RAID can only do 2GB Fibre Channel and cannot be upgraded for 4GB throughput. Why did it take them so long to come out with this solution?!?!?!

  4. Andy Bell

    iSCSI is growing up, that doesn't mean it stays bargin basement

    The iSCSI solution mentioned in the first post by mvrx is not itself able to challenge the reliabilty of a tranditional FC SAN.

    A traditional FC SAN solution aimed at the low/mid range such as the Hitachi AMS200 is capable of five nines reliabilty in one box. It has dual everything, even controllers.

    A commondity iSCSI solution based on standard PC server hardware would need to provide 99.999% reliability with two such boxes and have replication between the two, by which time the cost difference has narrowed somewhat.

    I've deployed a few systems of each type and can see where iSCSI will encroach on the traditional FC SAN, but people need to get out of the cheap-as-chips mindset lest iSCSI never be seen as rock solid as a mission critical SAN needs to be.

  5. Michael Duke

    Ethernet and others.

    For the poster above. Broadcom do offer a bonding driver for Windows for there gigabit cards and with generic Broadcom NIC's in the USD50 range at that. But what home user switch has even a fraction of the capacity to make use of it? WIthout a decent switch you could have ten cards bonded and it would not help throughput.

    As for the "Cheap" 10gigE solution, the NIC's are not the issue, 10gig switches are few and far between and have port costs that make fibre channel look cheap.

    iSCSI is only as good as the rest of the infrastructure, you can have an iSCSI box with mech throughput but if the network is not capable of wire speed switching then all you have done is move the bottleneck. I build storage solutions for a living for customers and invariably these days a badly performing iSCSI solution is because of a badly performing network infrastructure rather than an issue at the storage array.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    good info, thanks

    thanks Michael Duke for that information, it will perhaps raise Broadcoms products and its Bonding Ethernet driver in this SOHO Ethernet speed mess thats been left for far to long IMO.

    i can see not having good quality/Capacity (powerPC based?)Switches, yet within the reasonable price range of the masses is a very big problem..., is there a current answer out there for the SOHO people that might want more throughput?.

    for a single/small iSCSI FreeNAS/LinuxNAS box would a simple 2 set of X-over cat5E/6 cables, direct to a set of windows Broadcom gigabit Ethernet devices work for near 2gigabit throughput at least ?, what might be the limit,3 ,4 ethernet devices in a generic PC.

    in no way perfect id agree, but if the companys are not currently willing to provide these required Bonding switches, then perhaps limited crossover ethernet cables and Broadcom devices are a workable option to get better SOHO iSCSI or whatever you might need in todays high capacity LAN speeds.

    im sure there is a good personal and SOHO market wanting this extra speed TODAY, the question remains, will the producers supply these things at a home user/SOHO price point any time soon? in the UK and EU/US etc?.

    any more info is most welcome from all the readers and staff here.

  7. Michael Duke

    More info.

    If you want a reasonable Gigabit switch there are products like the Linksys SR2024 which retail for around the USD300 mark. This is a wire speed unmanaged switch which will be fine for basic port bonding. A freeNAS machine with 2-4 GigE NIC's hooked to a SR2024 will give reasonable performance as long as you have enough disk spindles to provide the performance. It can be done fairly cheap but it requires a little unconventional thought and some reasonable knowledge of networking and storage. This will work fine at home but you are still looking at probably USD4K for 8TB of raw storage (16 x 500GB Disks) that will deliver a maximum of 1200 I/O's per second (IOPS). Cheap when compared to enterprise storage but still not *CHEAP*.

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