Storage Field Day 6 – Day 3 – NEC

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 6.  My flights, accommodation and other expenses were paid for by Tech Field Day and their sponsors. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

For each of the presentations I attended at SFD6, there are a few things I want to include in the post. Firstly, you can see video footage of the NEC presentation here. You can also download my raw notes from the presentation here. Finally, here’s a link to the NEC website that covers some of what they presented.

Firstly, I’d like to say up front that the NEC session was a little bizarre, in that the two lines of products presented, the M-Series block storage and the HYDRAstor deduplication solution, seemed years apart in terms of capability and general, erm, currency when compared to other vendor offerings. All I’ll say about the M-Series is that it seems like a solid product, but felt a lot like someone had taken a CLARiiON and added a SAS backend to it. (As an aside, a few people argued that that’s what EMC did with the first VNX a few years ago too). That would not be doing it real justice though, so I’ll stick with covering the HYDRAstor here.

Here are some of the highlights from that part of the session. The HYDRAstor is based on a scalable grid storage architecture using a community of smart nodes. These nodes are:

  • Industry standard x86 servers
  • Multiple types allowed (cross generation clusters)
  • Heterogeneous and open software

The system:

  • Is fully distributed
  • Is self-aware
  • Provides data management services
  • Virtualises hardware
  • And provides the capability to perform on-line upgrades / expansions with multi-generation nodes

There is no virtual edition, as NEC wants to control the performance of the whole thing.

The hands-free management also delivers:

  • Simple, fast deployment
  • Self-discovering capacity
  • Self-tuning and resource management
  • Self-healing
  • Web-browser GUI

I’ll say now that the GUI was a massive improvement over the M-Series Windows 2000-themed thing. It wasn’t amazing, but it was light-years ahead of where the M-Series is. NEC say that the system can scale to 165 nodes. Right now the biggest system in the US is 50 nodes.

In summary, I wasn’t a huge fan of what I saw from the M-Series, although I think it could be a solid workhorse in the data centre. I did, however, like the look of the HYDRAstor offering and would recommend you give it a look if you’re in the market for that kind of thing.

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