Changing Face of Blade Storage


A few weeks ago, I highlighted some new storage options for HP BladeSystem users in a blog about direct-attached storage for virtual environments.


Turns out that HP was only one of a number of vendors introducing new or expanded storage options for blade enclosures. The past few weeks have seen a number of innovative developments, no doubt tied to the unflagging demand for more and better storage even in tight economic times.


One of the most expansive is Verari Systems new DataValet clustered storage solution for the company's BladeRack 2 X-Series platform. Based on content addressable storage (CAS) software from Caringo Inc., the system has the ability to scale into the hundreds of petabytes with an eye toward providing a self-managed, self-serviced pool for unstructured data. The company says the scale-out architecture of the system eliminates the need to separate active from archival storage.


IBM, meanwhile, is now offering a 1 TB disk for the BladeCenter S chassis for applications requiring large file transfers. The device spins at 7.2K rpm, putting it at the slow end of the OLTP market, although it does sport a SAS interface with a burst transfer rate of 116 MBps. The disk supports Windows Server 2003 and 2008, as well as RHEL 5, SLES 10 and ESX Server 3.5.2.


Why the sudden interest in blade storage? One reason could be the changing nature of e-discovery, according to storage consultant Henry Newman. Local storage offers better file system performance and cuts down on data fragmentation. It's also easier to scale processing with storage, ensuring that you always have a large enough repository for critical business data.


Increased reliance on blades is likely to keep the demand for storage high, even as other areas of data center spending start to diminish. By offering more options, blade vendors hope they stand a better chance of satisfying a steady market need.