BlueArc has announced a network-attached storage (NAS) product capable of holding 512TB in a single storage pool. It says the new Titan 2000, based on proprietary hardware, is 'the world's highest performing, most scalable network storage system"

At the same time Exanet says its ExaStore, a similar networked storage system built using commodity hardware, has recorded 'the highest performance achieved by any NAS vendor' on the SPECsfs benchmark.

The Titan 2000 provides up to 100,000 SPECsfs operations per second on a single node system and twice that on a twin-node product. BlueArc says this is twice the performance of its first Titan generation and 'nearly three times higher than the highest results from competitive systems in the market' - but see below in the Exanet section.

The Titan 2000 has a global namespace, virtual storage pools, virtual volumes and virtual servers. Its software suite includes policy-based data migration and replication, iSCSI support, a WORM file system and disaster recovery tools.

Existing Titan systems can upgrade to it courtesy of BluArc's bladed, modular architecture. Connectivity includes six GigE ports, four 4Gbit/s Fibre Channel ports and a 10Gbit/s interconnect between clustered Titan systems, each of which has a 40Gbit/s backplane. There is load-balancing between clustered Titans and continuous data protection facilities.

BluArc's VP marketing, Steve Daheb, is understandably enthusiastic: "The Titan 2000 family offers customers a new way of handling their data and business growth - far beyond anything on the market today, providing the world's strongest engine for server and application consolidation and unequalled application performance."

Exanet excels
The ExaStore achieved a world record 143,880 SPECsfs operations per second with a two node cluster. The overall response time was 1.47ms. The company thinks its four-node and six-node systems will scale linearly and provide near double and triple the two-node performance.

The Exanet result used a single file system and ran on two off-the-shelf IBM xSeries 366 servers, each with four 3.66GHz Intel Xeon processors, 24GB RAM, and a single Engenio 6998 disk subsystem with dual RAID controllers and 144 Seagate Cheetah disk drives. It was more than twice as fast as Exanet's previous SPECsfs results.

Exanet's CEO, Rami Schwartz, said, "Our customers tell us that the combination of ExaStore’s intrinsic features, such as unlimited scalability and bandwidth, and its ability to work with a wide range of hardware, adds up to a very attractive storage (product)."

Which is the biggest, most bad-ass NAS? Both Exanet and BluArc provide extremely high-performance and sophisticated NAS functionality. Choosing between them will require detailed checking and evaluation.