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NexGen SAN Targets Shared Storage Mess

NexGen Storage has come out of stealth mode with a mid-range SAN it built from the ground up to solve the shared storage mess and unleash the full power of virtualization. The NexGen n5 Storage System uses off-the-shelf hardware to achieve VM density resulting in what the new company claims to be up to 90 percent storage operating expense reduction.

The secret sauce, of course, is not in the hardware. "It's all about the software we load on it," says NexGen CEO and cofounder John Spiers. Spiers has been around the start-up block before, with fellow Lefthand Networks cofounder, and now NexGen cofounder and CTO Kelly Long. Together, they sold Lefthand to HP for a cool $360,000,000 in 2008. It may not be the $1.4 billion Dell dished out for Equalogic, but it's still a decent payday.

Citing the litany of shortcomings associated with storage systems, including scale-out, solid state and the high-end midmarket, NexGen refers to itself as a second-generation storage vendor that is in effect coming in to clean up the mess made by its overly expensive and complex predecessors. For example, speaking of solid state, NexGen VP of Marketing Chris McCall says, "We see it as a component, but it's definitely not a panacea."

NexGen says managing capacity is easy, while managing performance is much more difficult because of the complexity, insufficient tools, difficulties associated with provisioning/allocation, and the fact that "everything impacts everything else."

The company hits on the familiar theme of breaking down silos of information so that it can be centrally maintained, controlled, virtualized and shared. In the case of NexGen n5, that means QoS that provisions performance just like capacity; Dynamic Data Placement that migrates data in real time to deliver guaranteed performance levels, and managed service levels that ensure each volume maintains its priority and performance levels at all times.

Spiers says that his new system is enhanced because rather than implement solid state behind SAS connections and controllers--which degrades performance--it integrates solid state next to the CPU on the PCI bus, which was designed for memory speed. "That way," Spiers declares, "It can unleash the full performance potential of solid state storage, and achieve 43 percent lower cost/IOP."

According to NexGen, when combined, "PCI solid state and Phased Data Reduction enable NexGen n5 to deliver up to 76 times higher VM density than a typical disk drive deployment, resulting in up to 90 percent storage operating expense savings." Phased Data Reduction includes multiple phases leveraging advanced QoS capabilities so application performance is never impacted. In addition, it applies to all tiers--not just solid state--to deliver 58 percent lower $/GB without decreasing performance.

The suggested price for NexGen n5 is $88,000, and the system is available through resellers.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 11/08/2011 at 12:48 PM


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