The Scale N05 unified storage cluster starts at three 1U nodes for 1.5 TB of usable capacity for $7,500. Additional 500 GB nodes cost $2,500 per node.
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Scale's unified architecture offers iSCSI connectivity for block-based storage and CIFS and NFS access for file-based storage. Scale uses SATA drives and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.
"It's a scale-out architecture based on commodity, off-the-shelf hardware," Scale CEO Jeff Ready said.
Terri McClure, a senior analyst with the storage market consulting firm Enterprise Strategy Group, said Scale's architecture makes it scalable. "What's nice about cluster technology," McClure said, "is that it's that it's a modular architecture and as you add nodes to it you maintain a single namespace. So it maintains the appearance of being one system to manage. And you don't have to buy a big frame ahead of time."
Each node uses RAID 10 striping and mirroring for data availability, and a three-node system can withstand one complete node failure without losing data integrity. Customers can expand or remove capacity without taking the system down. Removing a drive or entire node would look like a drive or node failure to the system so it would immediately begin re-striping the removed node's data across the remaining disks. Ready said it takes about 20 to 25 minutes to re-stripe data from a failed drive.
McClure likes Scale's efforts to make the system simple to use. "What's really, really important in this market is that it be simple," McClure said. "Scale is really trying to make this usable for someone that doesn't have dedicated IT people. There are no specialized clients to install. They've automated a lot of tasks and tried to make it as easy as possible to get up and running. A sys admin that's running your Windows servers could also be your storage guy."
The N05 will compete against systems such as Dell Inc.'s EqualLogic iSCSI storage area networks (SANs), Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co.'s StorageWorks P4000 SAN platform (formerly Lefthand Networks products), and systems from Nexsan Technologies Inc. and Promise Technology Inc.