Compellent has launched Storage Center 5 incorporating several new features aimed at simplifying data replication and improving virtualisation.
The new version of the well-established Storage Center SAN employs Compellent's Dynamic Block architecture, as in previous versions but also offers users the company's Portable Volume data replication that was announced last year. Other new features include scalable SAS storage, automated tiered storage with RAID 6 protection.
Portable Volume has been designed to reduce the cost and complexity of replicating data for disaster recovery. It works by allowing customers to replicate data to portable external hard drives through Compellent's Enterprise Manager software.
According to Bob Fine, Compellent's director of marketing this move addressed a prime customer concern. "A lot of our customers need to do data replication but it's always been a difficult endeavour. Because it's crucial, network administrators don't want to make a mistake, so therefore to simplify the process as much as possible really helps the customer."
Other new features include the ability to scale from six to 384 SAS drives and automated tiered storage with RAID 6, allowing customer to store written data on fast storage configured with RAID 10 and then dynamically migrating the least active portions to RAID 6, without any need for manual intervention.
While Storage Center 5 offers a host of new features, Fine said that the product wasn't necessarily about offering the latest technology but meeting customer demands. "Most customers aren't bothered by the actual technology itself - they just don't want to be behind the curve. We can mix high capacity and high performance in both one enclosure, making it simpler for a customer to do automatic tiered storage."
Another key new feature is the inclusion of Virtual Port which improves the virtualisation process by virtualization by sharing or reassigning multiple virtual I/O ports with any physical port. Virtual Ports eliminates the need for dedicated I/O hardware and ports for failover. The SAN has five PCI slots"We keep the PCI slots available for the customers, who can choose different Fibre Channel cards. It's much more efficient for the customer, eliminating half the required ports," said Fine.
The last of the new features, said Fine was server mapping.This was aimed at those customers who have a high number of virtual servers. We allow them to put all servers in one cluster and then do all the mapping in one step."
Storage Center 5 has already got the thumbs-up from one early adopter. Martin Taylor, converged network manager for the Royal Horticultural Society, has been using Compellent for a number of years. He has been running the SAN for a number of months with little problems. "We're using Portable Volume slightly differently from the way that Compellent envisaged it," he said."We're a charity and money's tight and we don't have enough resources for a dedicated link. We still save a good deal on replication though," he said.