Scalable storage systems that reach into the petabyte level are becoming more common as the demand for storage continues to coincide with falling prices.
Exhibit A is the new NEC D-Series array that the company says can go from 219GB to 1.1152 PB without having to detach or reattach arrays, configure partitions, or perform any of the other network-dropping jobs of typical storage augmentation. The system can also easily scale that amount of cache on hand (2GB to 128GB), the number of 4G fibre channels (4 to 64) and the number of disk drives (4 to 1,156). It also provides an intriguing feature called RAID Triple Mirror, which combines random access with continuous operation for improved disk redundancy.
You can also leverage the Xframe with Intransa's StorStac PCU 100 enterprise-class IP SAN. The combo offers support for multiple SCEs that can be architected up to 1 PB with 3 GBps throughput.
And while Hewlett-Packard and LeftHand have been emphasizing smaller-scale combinations of the SAN/IQ and ProLiant servers lately, they still offer the platform on the ProLiant DL380 for a 1 PB+ solution.
Petabyte-level storage is also one of the last bastions of tape. IBM recently unveiled its Linear Tape Open (LTO) Generation 4 spec that provides for a new standalone drive, Fibre Channel connectivity and a configuration that could top 5 PB. To get there, you'd need to start with the TS3500 library system and fill out all 15 expansion frames with the maximum 440 cartridges each for about 5.3 PB. An expensive prospect, but certainly possible.
It would be hard to imagine the enterprise that would need such a massive storage array for run-of-the-mill data. It's more likely that petabyte-level storage environments will fill a need for increasing amounts of video and audio content. But with podcasts and enterprise video training and presentation increasingly coming into vogue, that future may be sooner than we think.