Dell announces object-based storage, de-duplication

The initial object-based storage cluster will scale to over 2 petabytes

Dell today announced its first object-oriented storage system for data archiving capable of storing more than 2 petabytes of data. The company also said it will begin reselling EMC's Data Domain de-duplication appliance and its Celerra network-attached storage (NAS) array.

Dell's new DX Object Storage Platform is a grid-based architecture built on x86 servers that are managed through Dell's own proprietary software, which creates a single global namespace accessible by HTTP. The initial product will be able to grow to more than 2 petabytes of capacity, according to Brett Roscoe, a Dell senior product manager.

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The storage platform uses a redundant array of independent nodes (RAIN) for resiliency. Similar to what RAID configurations do with disk drives, RAIN clusters together x86 processors and disk storage through a network topology that has multiple interfaces for fault tolerance. Dell's software management layer turns the nodes into clustered object stores where metadata and data are stored together under a single namespace. Because the metadata is stored with the data, it can be accessed regardless of location.

Dell said the DX Object Storage Platform will eventually support CIFS, NFS and eXtensible Access Method (XAM), a storage standard developed by the Storage Networking Industry Association.

Because DX Object Storage is based on a clustered RAIN architecture, anytime a node fails, it can be replaced nondisruptively while the data is automatically redistributed to the other nodes in the cluster, Roscoe said. In the same way, upgrades to the cluster are also nondisruptive.

"It easily scales," he said. "You just need to power on additional nodes, and you get additional performance and capacity automatically."

Each node has 12TB of capacity and is made up of a 2U (3.5-in) x86 server with 12 Serial ATA drives.

DX Object Storage has the capability of being configured as write-once, read many (WORM) storage for regulatory compliance purposes. Dell's management software also allows automated, policy-based data retention, replication, distribution, and deletion. The system will be available in May.

Dell announced that it will be rebranding EMC's Data Domain de-duplication appliances for resale. Dell is reselling EMC's entry-level DD140 as well as the DD610 and DD630 de-duplication appliances. The DD140 is made for remote site replication of data to a central data center. It can move up to 450GB/hour. The DD630 and DD610 appliances are built for remote data center use and offer up to 1.1 TB/hour and 675 GB/hour of inline de-duplicated storage throughput, respectively.

"We really believe de-duplication is a key technology moving forward, and backup is the hottest place in the storage market," Roscoe said.

Dell will also be reselling EMC's Celerra NAS array, which is scalable to 960TB of capacity. The Celerra offers four network connectivity options for the Celerra, EMC's own Multi-Path File System, NAS, iSCSI and Fibre Channel.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld . Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is .

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This story, "Dell announces object-based storage, de-duplication" was originally published by Computerworld.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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