Network Attached Storage

Network-Attached Storage (NAS) is a pervasive part of any IT infrastructure and enables storage to be delivered to any client, anywhere, with minimal effort and cost. Additionally, networking infrastructure is becoming increasingly capable of delivering much higher performance, with much lower latency, allowing many datacenters to configure their own file-based storage with the scalable performance, reliability, and availability that are the well-known requirements for business-critical applications (Tier 1). With these capabilities and the cost-effective delivery of high performance file-based shared storage, enterprises are looking for ways to expand the reach of these solutions to benefit application server clients where traditional performance-handicapped NAS solutions fell short. An ideal solution is one that can deliver predictable application accelerating performance; cost effectively and with the highest availability—the ideal solution is the File Storage Controller 2200.

File Storage Controller 2200 (FSC 2200) is a certified Cluster-in-a-Box appliance that brings together the very best of Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2012 and the X-IO Intelligent Storage Element (ISE) family of enterprise disk and hybrid storage products. It delivers an enterprise appliance that can serve a file-based shared storage solution with a cost-effective, highly reliable, high performance storage service for critical applications.

Powered by ISE, the FSC 2200 covers what X-IO believes is the core enterprise application performance range: 400 to 8000 IOPS for every 1 TB of provisioned storage. This range is above that of utility and archival (Tier 2) storage, and below that of real-time, ultra-high-performance applications. It covers the performance range of performance-sensitive data files, associated with desktop and server virtualization, OLTP applications, data warehouses and business intelligence environments, and most Big Data environments.

Reduced Cost & Complexity

Traditional enterprise NAS solutions can have a high degree of complexity and cost to deliver the performance required, for application workloads, like databases and virtualization. Typically these legacy systems require multiple racks of hard disk drives to reach the performance requirements, at the cost of wasted capacity. Conversely, expensive SSDs can carry a lot of cost in unused performance as capacity is limited. Even when storage is configured properly, it is not uncommon for these systems to experience a drop in performance, as the system reaches capacity levels of 40-60 percent. The FSC 2200 (with ISE) offers the following benefits:

  • Does not require this performance and capacity trade-off and is capable of delivering up to 10x the performance of legacy storage systems, at full capacity
  • Offers maximum performance with reduced power and cooling requirements and a radical reduction in floor space.
  • Enables volumes to be configured with state-of-the-art data deduplication and compression, designed for primary data.
  • Easy to use and requires very little administration. The FSC 2200 can be configured in about 30 minutes with a total install time of less than two hours.

Predictable Performance from Server to Client

To use network attached shared storage for application-intensive workloads, the system must be able to provide performance in a predictable way, over the complete lifecycle of the product, from back-end storage to the application servers, accessing that storage. FSC 2200 opens up network file-based performance to all new levels with:

  • The true performance of ISE which comes from the industry-unique capability to achieve 200-300%, of the performance, per enterprise grade hard disk drive (HDD) versus that of traditional enterprise, high-duty cycle disk drives.
  • The flash-enabled Hyper ISE takes this outstanding performance and accelerates it even further with Continuous Adaptive Data Placement (CADP), which can effectively quadruple the performance of the system, delivering a rated performance of 60,000 IOPS per Hyper ISE, even when the system is at its maximum capacity.
  • The latest network file sharing protocols, including SMB 3, NFS 4.1.
  • SMB Direct Protocol, supporting the use of network adapters that have Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) capability and enabling the network adapters to function at full speed with very low latency, while using very few CPU cycles.

Enterprise Reliability and Availability

Traditionally enterprise applications have been left to the proven benefits of block-level storage area networks, providing the performance, capacity, and availability requirements, necessary to run business critical applications. X-IO customers value the unmatched reliability and availability of ISE and insist that any storage solution, acceptable for them, carries the same maintenance free attributes. With the reliability of ISE and the high availability features of Windows Storage Server 2012, the FSC 2200 delivers a continuously available solution for business-critical applications, using file server protocols (SMB 3, NFS 4.1). The experience starts with multiple, redundant, network paths to the client which are delivered by the clustered FSC 2200. The FSC 2200 failover clustering enables Continuous Availability, a transparent failover mechanism that allows SMB 3 clients to non-disruptively ride through a planned or unplanned cluster failover. Coupled with the redundancy of the ISE storage system’s active-active controllers, redundant power supplies, self-healing managed reliability, and the redundant super-capacitor cache backup batteries, FSC 2200 can deliver the guaranteed level of service that Tier 1 applications require.