I'm only about 6 months behind many of the world's leading independent storage bloggers on learning about HP's storage products, so I've been eager to catch up to them. Imagine my delight this morning when I picked up Greg Knieriemen's tweet on the most recent report from ESG on our X9000 Scale-Out NAS systems. Thanks to Brian Garret and Vinny Choinski of ESG for their straightforward analysis.
I was somewhat familiar with Ibrix as a software product that powered NAS clusters, but the new ESG Labs report helped me grasp HP's vision for the X9000 storage appliances much better.
Interested readers should view the report to see the results as well as the methodology that was used. There were three test beds covering throughput, content delivery and file creation metrics culled from a mix of X9000 configurations. The X9320 is a storage appliance with internal disks and the X9300 is a gateway version of the product that connects to external SAN storage. Another model, the 9720, which is the super-sized version of the 9320 (full 42u rack) not used in the tests.
3PAR customers will be familiar with the processing architecture of the X9000. The granular "head unit" of the X9000 system is called a couplet, and is a pair of fault-tolerant NAS heads. This is similar to 3PAR's storage system architecture where nodes are added in pairs.
But the surprising thing about scalability for the x9000 is not necessarily how large it can grow, but how effectively it can also be employed in much smaller environments. As the ESG Labs report concludes:
Who would have guessed that companies overwhelmed by Word and PowerPoint archives could benefit from the same solution as those burdened by 100-TB annual growth of genome sequencing data? Who knew that a NAS file system developed for high-performance computing could evolve into a graceful, cost-effective scale-out solution with predictable and near-linear performance for small and large files and exotic and everyday applications? The challenges that scale-out NAS solves are much more “everyday” than “lunatic fringe,” and the X9000 makes it consumable by almost anyone. If you are facing file system growth and complexity challenges, you should consider the X9000. It’s affordable, includes commercial features like snapshots and replication, and lets NFS and CIFS work on the same file system. You can buy a scale-out architecture that will grow with you and meet the needs of your business without interruption. The Fusion segmented file system, combined with HP’s servers and storage (not to mention HP’s buying power and supply-chain advantage), brings what started as a niche solution to the masses.