Pliant claims 180,000 IOPS per drive with new SSDs; Intel to ship 'Nehalem for storage' chips

Headlines: Pliant's Lightning EFD family is welcomed into an SSD market that needs more competition, analysts say, but the firm has yet to announce channel or OEM partnerships for products; Intel previews Jasper Forest processor to be released in early 2010, bringing the Nehalem chip architecture to storage controllers for faster performance with lower power needs.

Pliant claims up to 180,000 IOPS per drive with new Lightning Enterprise Flash Drive

Pliant Technology Inc., which first came out of stealth with plans for a new line of solid-state drives (SSDs) 18 months ago, is making its Pliant Lightning Enterprise Flash Drive (EFD) family available for the first time today.

The Lightning EFD family consists of 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch SSD offerings, both with SAS connections. The LS 3.5-inch model comes in 300 GB and 150 GB sizes, and is capable of reading up to180,000 IOPS sustained, according to Pliant officials. The 2.5-inch LB model holds 150 GB of data and can sustain up to 160,000 IOPS.

Pliant claims its drives are higher-performing under different workloads than current offerings on the market from STEC Inc. and Intel Corp. With a read/write ratio of 70% to 30% in 4K blocks, the LS drives are rated for 80,000 IOPS, and the LB drives for 45,000 IOPS.

Read about the differences between flash-based solid-state disk and DRAM-based solid-state disk.

Intel to ship 'Nehalem for storage' with Jasper Forest storage controller chips

Intel Corp. executives are talking this week about plans for the next generation of processors for storage controllers, code-named Jasper Forest, set to be released in early 2010.

The new Jasper Forest processors build on the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series for servers, code-named Nehalem. The chief differentiator for Nehalem is called the Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) architecture, which adds parallelization of access among chips on a board to the memory controller. Previously, all the cores on a given chip board shared one bus, which slowed performance.

Jasper Forest will add storage processing features to the Nehalem base, potentially improving throughput for storage systems as well as raw processor performance.

Read the rest of this article on Intel's 'Nehalem for storage.'

Oracle aims Sun-based Exadata 2 for OLTP at IBM, Hitachi Data Systems

Oracle Corp. Monday night launched Exadata 2, its first joint product with Sun Microsystems Inc. since Oracle said it would buy Sun.

The product is specifically meant to support online transaction processing (OLTP), putting it squarely into competition with tier 1 storage vendors. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison provided plenty of rhetoric during the Monday launch webcast, calling out specific rivals in the high-end storage and server market, including IBM and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS). Meanwhile, previous hardware partner Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. is out of the mix, according to an Oracle FAQ.

Oracle has not yet completed its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun. European Union regulators are scrutinizing the deal, first revealed last April. But following a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal last week quelling speculation that Oracle planned to discontinue or spin-off Sun's hardware products, the two moved forward Monday night with the joint announcement of a new database machine based on Oracle software and Sun hardware.

Read the full story on Oracle's Sun-based Exadata 2.

GreenBytes launches data deduplication for primary and secondary data storage

GreenBytes Inc. today launched its first enterprise data storage system based on a modified version of ZFS file system that can deduplicate primary and secondary data.

There are a few differences in the GB-X Series from the system that GreenBytes previewed last year. While the systems are still based on Sun Microsystems Inc.'s open-source ZFS, GreenBytes has replaced Sun's SunFire X4540 storage server with whiteboxes from an unidentified OEM partner. GreenBytes now calls its proprietary file system GBFS instead of ZFS+.

GBFS enables inline data deduplication of block storage through iSCSI support as well as files through NFS and CIFS support.

The GB-X series includes two models with Intel Xeon 5520 processors and 2.5-inch Seagate Constellation drives with SAS interfaces. The GB-2000 is a 2U system with 24 drive bays and four internal SAS channels for 12 Gbps throughput.

Learn more about data deduplication for primary storage.

NEC upgrades Hydrastor data backup/archiving system, expands deduplication support

NEC Corp. of America is upgrading its Hydrastor grid-based data backup and data archiving system by bumping up performance, adding WORM capability, and expanding its application-aware data deduplication support.

Unlike last year's Hydrastor hardware upgrade, the current upgrade consists of software enhancements.

NEC director of product management and technical marketing Gideon Senderov said while current nodes can reach 300 Mbps throughput, the upgrade will allow throughput up to 500 Mbps with existing hardware.

Learn about developing online backup and archiving services.

Storage, I/O and server virtualization turn on the juice for electrical distributor

When Houston-based electrical equipment distributor Wholesale Electric Supply Co. decided to centralize management of server resources by virtualizing with VMware, it also needed to install a storage-area network (SAN) and I/O virtualization switch to keep infrastructure costs from spiraling.

Bill Fife, director of IT at Wholesale Electric Supply, said he managed to get funding for a new Compellent Technologies Inc. Storage Center storage system and a Xsigo Systems Inc. I/O Director despite the economic downturn last fall.

"A SAN is necessary for [server] virtualization," he said, adding that server virtualization is necessary for cost-effective data center management.

"We currently have our [physical] servers in a server room, not a T4 data center," he said. "As our business grows and we expand our domestic and international scope, keeping systems up 365 days per year becomes of higher importance. In order to have a highly available system, I have to move it into a data center.

Read the rest of this case study on storage, I/O and server virtualization at a Houston distribution company.

Health care provider takes control of data backups

After using a managed service for backups, one Florida health care provider brought its backups in house last year to cut backup times in half at a lower cost while taking more control over its data.

Community Health Centers Alliance (CHCA) in St. Petersburg switched from a managed service to in-house backup with disk and tape because it cost more than $50,000 a year to back up around 4 TB per month, according to IT systems administrator Dave Henson.

Read the rest of this case study on how CHCA returned to in-house backup.

Texas Memory Systems acquires storage virtualization IP from Incipient

Solid-state drive (SSD) vendor Texas Memory Systems (TMS) Inc. has acquired patents and intellectual property assets from storage virtualization startup Incipient Inc., opening the door for Texas Memory Systems to create tiered storage systems with SSDs and spinning disk.

Incipient first demonstrated its split-path network-based storage virtualization product at Storage Networking World (SNW) in the fall of 2003, but didn't make its Incipient Network Storage Platform (iNSP) generally available until the fall of 2006. The firm was privately held and financed by venture capital firms Greylock Partners, Sigma Partners, Globespan Capital Partners, HLM Venture Partners, GrandBanks Capital, QuestMark Partners and Wasatch Advisors. Overall, it received $95 million in venture capital funding.

Woody Hutsell, president of Texas Memory Systems, said Incipient remains a separate entity, and TMS acquired only its data management patents and source code.

Read the rest of this story on Texas Memory's storage virtualization IP acquisition from Incipient.

ConnectWise acquires ConnexIT assets

ConnectWise, a professional service automation applications provider, has acquired the PSA assets of CoreConnex Inc., a systems provider to VARs, MSPs and IT service companies.

ConnectWise has more than 30,000 customers worldwide. CoreConnex was established in 2005 and partners with numerous MSP and CRM providers that deliver business platforms using a cloud/SaaS model.

Read more about ConnectWise.

Neptuny announces partner program

Neptuny, a performance optimization and capacity planning solutions provider, announced the launch of its Business Partner Program.

The program is designed to support partners in reselling its solutions and providing their consulting and support services on Caplan, a capacity planning tool.

The company's program includes business development and other support and marketing resources. For more information, send email to partners@neptuny.com.

Additional storage news

Check out last week's storage channel news roundup here.

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