Little-known vendor CrossWalk is launching a storage grid claimed to be far superior to existing networked storage products for high-performance computing.
It is based on the computational grid idea and links legacy data silos into a gigantically scalable storage pool, up to 100 exabytes - one million terabytes - in capacity.
CrossWalk claims that existing network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area networks (SAN) are limited in scalability both in capacity and performance. By interposing a layer of storage nodes between NAS and SAN storage arrays and servers running applications, CrossWalk's iGrid offers parallel file access to any storage resource by any application server over any available network path - Fibre Channel (FC) or gigabit Ethernet (gigE).
The storage nodes are 4-way, 64-bit CPU-based and are connected by gigE links for co-ordinating their workloads. There can be 8 - 12 gigE links and 8 - 12 2Gbit/s FC links per node.
New nodes can be dropped into place, up to a limit of 256. Node addition is non-disruptive and N+1 resiliency means grid workload is shared across nodes if one should fail. The highly-resilient nodes combine all the storage silos behind them into a single shared repository, supporting NFS and CIFS file-based access. CrossWalk says they support dynamic load-balancing. The parallel access means lower-priced media can be used, SATA drives instead of Fibre Channel for example.
The storage nodes form a 'workload concurrency layer' that completely segments the application processing from the storage pool. Any type of storage media can be added to the storage pool and become instantly available to all application servers.
What about CrossWalk's credibility? It has two iGrid customer references and the company founder and CEO is Jack McDonnell, who founded McData. It has previously launched a storage management and data protection reporting product.
However, there is no information on how existing storage products can be linked into iGrid, nor about how iGrid relates to other storage grid concepts, such as HP's smart cells or the GridFTP file transfer protocol.
Similarly there is no information about how data is stored on the media, how iGrid is managed, or whether storage standards are supported, such as SMI-S. Like Oliver Twist, CrossWalk's iGrid information gruel leaves you asking for more.
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