GreenBytes Debuts All-SSD Storage Arrays for SMBs

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted February 22, 2012

GreenBytes joins a swarm of storage vendors debuting flash-based products this month. Companies like HP and Nimbus have unveiled solid state disk storage arrays for enterprises. However, the Ashaway, R.I.-based firm has an unconventional type of customer in mind: small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

While it seems contradictory to pitch pricey solid-state drives (SSDs) to the cost-conscious small business IT set, Michael Robinson vice president of marketing communications for GreenBytes, spells out his company's case for targeting smaller enterprises.

SSD: Plummeting Prices, Performance Edge

"All-solid state storage solutions are becoming more accessible to SMBs as the price of SSD continues to drop and capacities continue to increase," says Robinson. "SMBs are now able to enjoy all of the performance benefits that SSD can provide, while having the capacity available to store their user data on SSD when factoring in innovative capacity optimizations such as inline deduplication and compression."

In essence, complexity and an innumerable amount of storage options conspire against SMBs that crave performance and ease of management. Acquiring, managing and powering piecemeal storage infrastructures can drive up costs. GreenBytes' answer: Solidarity.

Meant to serve as a primary, production-ready tier of storage, Solidarity features dual, Intel Xeon-based controllers, each with four 1 GbE and two 10 GbE network ports. According to the company, the controllers can be outfitted with 48 GB of RAM each, resulting in caches 10 times the size of competing arrays. The 3U box can accommodate 3.5 TB to 13.44 TB of Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) SSD storage capacity.

GreenBytes is betting that to overcome some initial sticker shock -- more on that later -- SMBs won't care so much about what Solidarity is, but rather what it can do.

At the heart of Solidarity is the company's GO OS (Globally Optimized Operating System). It offers storage administrators a unified management console, complete with wizards and other user-friendly features for storage area network (SAN) monitoring and configuration duties like provisioning iSCSI LUNs.

Sweetening the Deal with Deduplication

Also key to GreenBytes' value proposition is in-line deduplication. Recently, companies like Dell and Symantec have brought the capacity-stretching technology to SMB backups. By providing the functionality to primary storage, GreenBytes wants SMBs to optimize their storage from the get-go.

GreenBytes estimates that virtual environments can see data reductions of up to 12:1. For databases, that ratio can reach 8:1. Add block-level compression, and this adds up to arrays that can "effectively" store up to 60 TB despite topping out at 13.5 TB of raw capacity, according to the company.

Performance and energy efficiency are factors, too. The arrays are capable of achieving 120,000 4K IOPS while enjoying the reduced power and cooling needs that are typical of SSD-based systems.

Solidarity will be available in March. Prices start at $59,000 for 3.5TB and $119K for 13.4 TB. At first blush, it appears to stretch, if not shatter, the limits of SMB budgets. When its capabilities are taken into account, Solidarity makes sense, according to Robinson.

"GreenBytes' Solidarity platform enables SMBs to address all of their storage missions, from virtualization (VDI/VM) through off-site DR replication with a single, all-solid state platform in a single data tier, with significant increases in performance and reduction in power, cooling and rackspace, and a lower acquisition cost and TCO," he says.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE

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