back to article Nexsan gives 42TB array a make-over for picky Apple fans

Storage system developer Nexsan Technologies is releasing a new version of its SATABeast disk array designed for Apple XServe and Mac Pro systems. The SATABeast Xi holds up to 42TB of storage in a 4U form-factor. The hardware is similar to Nexsan's current SATABeast array, but with tweaks to the box design, web management GUI …


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  1. Andy Tunnah

    its just so...beautiful

    not the apple-fied asthetic change to appeal to macboys, but the abundance of hard drives dipped in it..i wanty!

    one thing tho, it doesn't look like it has much room for air flow - how hot does the mofo get ? i mean obviously they've sorted a heat issue out they're not that stupid, its just me who is..what takes care of the heat issue ?

  2. Joni Kahara
    Jobs Halo

    ^Air flow

    The brochure ( for that previous "butt ugly" (which it is) model states that it has a "Revolutionary cooling system." What ever that means. They also mention "..tachometer-monitored blowers to provide maximum power and cooling."

  3. Nexox Enigma

    That sun thing

    I'd rather have one of those 42 sata drive sun rackmounts. They used to be called 'thumper' but got renamed to xfire something or other. Not only do those pack 42 sata drives, but also dual quad core opterons.

    I imagine that the airflow is created by a generous set of industrial strength fans. Dunno if you've been to a server room, but they really don't worry about noise. at all. I've seen some 40mm fans in 1U units that put most 80mm fans to shame, cfm-wise. And they sound like a world war 2 dog fight.

    I personally can't stand the look of brushed metal in a rack, though. It just looks out of place, since nobody has brushed metal racks or switches or... anything useful really. Flat black or grey w/ excessive flashing lights for me, thanks.

  4. wim


    well the "non apple" version has a big fan in front.

    I guess the "apple design approved" version avoids the heat because it is just sooo cool.

  5. Carl Williams
    Thumb Down

    How will you maintain the thing

    With the amount of disks in it and the fact you have to withdraw it from the rack and remove the lid to change a failed drive (and with the heat that is bound to build because of the amount crammed in it will happen). It doesn't even look as if you can see a failed disk from the outside of the box. For IT manager and support personnel this box would be their worst nightmare, stoopid design.

  6. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    "..tachometer-monitored blowers to provide maximum power and cooling."

    Ah, that'll be fans that "go faster the hotter it gets" then.

  7. Andy Tunnah


    guess the "apple design approved" version avoids the heat because it is just sooo cool.

    ahahahaha sorry but that made me laugh out loud :D

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From the school of "If it fits in a rack it isn't proper storage"

    If it fits in a rack it isn't proper storage.

    This is proper storage:

  9. TeeCee Gold badge

    "Revolutionary cooling system"

    This means that it's cooled by things that go round. i.e. it's got fans in it.

    Oh, I see that they're "tachometer-monitored" as well. This means that you can see how fast they're going round.

    I take it that the brochure has been classified CGSM?

    (Hmm, where's the "bollocks" icon when you need one?)

  10. Graham Human
    Thumb Up


    I had a couple of Satabeasts at the last place I worked, and believe me, they were possibly the loudest things in the whole server rooms including the aircon.

    Can't remember where the fans were exactly, but I do remember the huge plastic 'fan' on the front was only a decoration, it was just a molded plastic fascia.

  11. Edward Berwick

    We've got two of those

    (Well the not apple version) They are great cooling is handled by three large fans at the front. they don't get that hot and are pretty cool.


    It's no biggie to slide it out of a rack when it's on and each HDD has a status light. You jut need to remember to let the front drop down (on its gas ram!)

  12. Lozzer


    Very pretty, but it's just little boy's kit.

    Gimme mainframe any day.

    I'll get my (old) coat...

  13. Owen Williams

    SATABeast and thumper (x4500)

    The SATABeast is very nice. As is the thumper. The way the disks are installed in either, vertically and perpendicular to the front of the machine with gaps between them, allows air to flow nicely. Better than say front loaded disks. With a cable extension arm the boxes slide in and out of a rack nicely too.

    The thumper to education with 24TB disk and 16GB ram, 4 x 1Gb/s ethernet and 2xdual core cpus is £10k plus VAT. Very useful box. I've been creating x264 video at 2x realtime with the OS loaded into RAM which you can't do with a SATABeast.

    Noisy but nice.

  14. Simon Greenwood

    re: How will you maintain the thing

    The same as any other SATA array, using SNMP and an enterprise alerting system. 42Tb capacity would translate to around 30Tb available at RAID5 (that's off the top of my head and probably quite conservative). The 42Tb number is arrived at by using 1Tb disks in a 6 x 7 array so replacing a disk is a case of sliding the case out, replacing the disk that has problems and letting it sync up again. It would be even more interesting to use it with Hadoop or other distributed file systems, which would be more suited to the media market.

  15. wonton

    Noisy? Hell yeh!

    We have 5 of these in a rack shared with two bladecenters. It wins our "noisiest rack award" hands down.

    So much so that health and safety have made us wear ear defenders when near it.

    With all the flashy lights it is like tool time for geeks. ugh-ugh-ugh-ugh

    Trust Apple fanboys to want them "tasteful", "practical" or "quieter".

  16. Matt
    Thumb Up

    SATAbeast, Cooling, Maintenence & Experience

    Hi all

    It was interesting to read these posts...I have worked for a company that sells (& provides maintenance contracts) for Nexsan SAN arrays over 5 years....almost 3 years of which are for this '2nd Gen' system!

    My / our feedback is that the Nexsan (particularly the SATAbeast’s) are VERY reliable, have excellent standard warranties, easily managed, very power, cool, rack space efficient...& we have SO many reference site to back this up ranging from Media/Post Production houses through to Banking/Finance, Education, Govt & even an F1 racing Team!

    We would not offer onsite maintenance contracts on unreliable kit as we would not be in business still I can assure you.

    (They even have a UK based R&D as well as manuf. facility here... shipping Petabytes of SAN storage per month)

    Matt Moss


    PS The Sun Thumper does not offer SAN disk provisioning (block level provisioning) as far as I am aware, is way more expensive to buy / maintain as well as from we have seen so far, not quite as good performance!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Nexox Enigma

    "since nobody has brushed metal racks or switches"

    Oh but they do, the Cisco 3750's...

    :) They look pretty neat in a rack as well!

  18. Nexox Enigma


    Ok, those brushed metal Cisco things look god awful - yellow silkscreen w/ brushed metal w/ grey? In any case they wouldn't go with this raid box or an xserve. I think that someone should bring back paisley, or maybe just pinstripes - that could really make a rack look trendy. Unless you went with the paisley idea.

    And the Thumper offers ZFS, which I have yet to play with, but from what I've seen it is far more capable for logical volumes and raid than any dedicated array hardware that I've configured. I've used a fair amount of different web interfaces for the things, and I can't say that I've gotten all the way through a single deployment without at least a few outbursts of uncontrollable swearing. Then again I've never gotten through a Solaris 10 install without a similar amount of cursing.

    Oh, and because nobody has mentioned it yet...

    42 Terabytes? Thats a whole lotta porn!

  19. Julian King

    Not that good...

    We trialled one of these boxes a while ago as an alternative to a Thumper (X4500). The performance was attrocious. As far as I recall the price wasn't competetive compared to the X4500 either (this is academia, so it may be different in the real world). Courses for horses, however we just bought 1 ~35TB (usable) X4500, and I think have 5 more on order.

    I'd rather use that with NFS and an Xserve.

  20. Silicon Sorcerer
    Thumb Up

    They are good...

    So I have more of these then you can count on your fingers and toes, actually more then all your friends fingers and toes. Yes they are a bit noisy, no they don't overheat, in my world they are very affordable MUCH better then the thumpers which DO overhead and frankly ZFS s..ks put a lot of small files in a multiple TB file system and it's toast. I've tried EVERY other vendor I think there is out there including the other 48 bay guys, they may supply the chassis for all the netapps, but it's clear why no-one uses their controllers and firmware... I easily put eight of these in a rack without going to high to get to the drives out the top, I've never had a problem with that part of them, there's nothing else (that works) that gives you this kind of density. The only complaint I have is the front cover and how the led's are covered you either have to be far away which I can't be with rack after rack row after row or you have to bend down to see the lights. Guess I should request this style... HOWEVER the email notification has never failed me so I don't care much about the lights and I don't even bother doing the smtpwalk or wget nonsense etc like I've had to do with many other vendors.

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