Years ago, I was given a very basic demo of a XIOTech Magnitude. I recall being impressed with its ease-of-use and its powerful management software. I walked away from the presentation thinking that XIOTech was probably one step ahead of its immediate competitors and would soon cash in on that advantage.
They did. Now XIOTech has again moved into the technological avant-garde of storage with its latest offering, Magnitude 3D.
In short, the Magnitude 3D is a new member of its family of FC (Fibre Channel) arrays, which extends the capacity to 32TB and, more importantly, features a clustered architecture that should improve resilience, performance flexibility, and scalability.
The idea of clustered storage is not new: Prestigious small companies such as EqualLogic, LeftHand Networks, and Panasas already offer clustered solutions.
The Magnitude 3D implements clusters with controller nodes that are physically detached from actual disk enclosures, have peer status, equal knowledge of and access to SAN resources, and can mutually recover from failure.
In addition, each node has redundant ports to connect storage and servers, which adds another layer of resilience within each controller. Moreover, according to XIOTech, the Magnitude 3D can scale linearly -- add more controllers and disk space, and watch performance and resilience improve proportionally.
The current limit is a two-node cluster, but that should change in the future. In essence, you will be able to order a Magnitude 3D with just the disk space and performance needed at the moment, reserving the option to easily add more disk space and more cluster nodes as the requirements for performance and stability change.
Sounds great, but last year’s news didn't explain XIOTech's plans for SMBs (small to midsize businesses). After all, many analysts believe that’s where the most money is to be made.
However, with the latest announcement of the Magnitude 3D Edge, an entry-level version for SMBs, XIOTech fulfilled my curiosity. The company made clear that, aside from marketing differences, its storage solution for small datacenters is the same Magnitude 3D but in single-node configuration.
At an entry-level price of $50,000, the Magnitude 3D Edge won't win any awards for the lowest price. However, if XIOTech succeeds in offering essentially the same product to entry-level and midtier customers, the Magnitude 3D will be more than just cutting-edge technology; it could become a machine to harvest the company's long-awaited profits.