Dynamically Scaling out Storage

Michael Vizard

When it comes to high-end storage, there is a lot of built-in automation and support for things like parallel processing that allows these systems to dynamically scale.

The problem now is that with the advent of virtualization, smaller IT organizations now need the same kinds of capabilities at a fraction of the cost.

That issue is what led to the development of NASg 2.0 from Gridstore, a provider of NAS storage systems targeted to the small-to-medium business (SMB) market. According to Gridstore CEO Kelly Murphy, NASg 2.0 is built around a distributed grid architecture that allows IT organizations to truly scale out storage. Each storage node added to the system dynamically becomes part of the larger virtual storage pool, and access to the data is managed via parallel I/O channels to maximize performance.

The latest NASg 2.0 offering, which runs Windows Embedded on each storage node, is now four times faster than the company's previous offering and features 1GB of RAM and support for 1Gb Ethernet network integration cards. In addition, the new systems include support for Microsoft Active Directory.

What's interesting about this is that storage management is becoming complex at all levels of IT. Going forward, that means that IT organizations of all sizes are going to have to have access to sophisticated storage management systems. The issue that they will need to overcome, however, is how to gain access to that class of storage management systems without having dedicated storage management professionals around to manage those systems.

More than likely that means we'll soon see a lot more interest in grid storage architectures that, like Gridstore, automate most of the manual tasks associated with storage management. And once that happens, we should see fairly sophisticated storage systems being deployed at all levels of IT, even though most of that sophistication will be transparent to the people actually running them.

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