Nexsan has increased the capacity of its SATABeast array by twenty five percent, by using 1 terabyte Hitachi disk drives. The arrays use just half the power of conventional drive arrays using Nexsan's AutoMAID technology.

The serial ATA (SATA) drives from Hitachi spin at 7,200rpm, have a 1.2 million hour mean time before failure rating and a 3 Gbit/s SATA 2 interface. Nexsan can put 42 in a 4U rack shelf unit to provide 42 Tbyte of raw capacity. It supports RAID levels 0, 1, 1+0, 4, 5 and 6, with consequent reduction in the usable data capacity.

Nexsan has also introduced the Hitachi drives to its smaller products: the 3U SATABoy with 14TB; and the 1U SATABlade with 8TB.

Customers such as i-cubed use these arrays for capacity-centric storage such as geospatial imagery. Others use them for secondary storage of unstructured data, disk-to-disk backup, virtual tape libraries, and online archives. Mick Garrett, i-cubed CTO, welcomed the new products and said: “With the vast amount of high-resolution satellite imagery and aerial photography that we produce for customers, we are always looking for an optimised disk solution that allows us to get the upper hand on our capacity requirements."


The products can save power, similar to a laptop computer's 'sleep' mode, by slowing down or completely stopping drives which haven't been accessed for a while. Nexsan calls this AutoMAID, standing for Automated Massive Array of Idle Disks. It is user-selectable at a drive level and involves the user deciding on the right balance between access time and power saving.

In a typical configuration a setting for 30 percent power saving means that, after five minutes of idle time, drives are programmed to unload their heads and slow down to 4000rpm. When access is required the recovery time to full spin speed is fast.

With a 52 percent power saving setting, drives are programmed to spin down after five minutes idle time. It then takes around 30 seconds to spin them backup to full speed. Such power-saving means that the arrays generate up to half as many carbon emissions through electricity use for power and cooling than conventional SATA arrays with the same capacity.

Nexsan says this is a more granular scheme with generally faster access to slowed-down drives than with Copan System's competing MAID technology. It also claims it is the only MAID technology to support RAID arrays.