Review: Exablox OneBlox is a storage admin's dream

Smoothly scalable, automatically redundant, set-it-and-forget-it NAS rewrites the network storage playbook

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Exablox OneBlox

Network-attached storage servers typically offer similar feature sets, and they often deliver similar performance. RAID levels, networking protocols, and many hardware features are standard by nature, leaving little room for innovation in the NAS realm.

Exablox takes a different tack. Rather than compete directly on features and speed, Exablox focuses on simplifying scalability and data redundancy. The result is innovation rarely seen in a storage appliance.

[ Also reviewed by InfoWorld Test Center: 4 NAS appliances deliver big storage cheap. | Drag your backup and recovery system out of the Stone Age. Download InfoWorld's Backup Deep Dive special report. | Get the latest practical info and news with Paul Venezia's The Deep End blog and InfoWorld's Data Center newsletter. ]

From a hardware standpoint, the Exablox OneBlox closely resembles other storage devices. A three-inch LCD on the front panel displays basic configuration information such as the management URL, hostname, public IP address, and the name of the OneBlox ring it has joined (more on that below). When this panel is flipped down, it reveals eight 3.5-inch drive bays, which support any combination of SATA or SAS drives. LEDs representing each drive bay show basic health information for each disk. The rear of the OneBlox features a standard power connector, power switch, and four Gigabit Ethernet ports, which automatically bond to the same IP address. The appliance is stackable and supports rack mounting.

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