Compellent Consolidates File And Block-Level Storage

By Steve Wexler  |  Print this article Print

Throwing down the gauntlet to EMC and NetApp in the SME storage market, Compellent is announcing zNAS, which consolidates file and block-level storage on a single platform based on the ZFS file system.

In what could be considered unusual timing, Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Compellent Technologies has announced zNAS, which consolidates file and block-level storage on a single platform based on the ZFS file system.

The timing is interesting because zNAS won't ship until the end of June, and the company, which is 100 percent channel, is holding its annual partner and customer event, C-Drive, next week.

Compellent says that with the Fluid Data architecture, zNAS can actively manage and move data in a virtual pool of storage, regardless of the size and type of block, file or drive. The 128-bit ZFS file system addresses 18 quintillion (1.84Ă—1,019) times more data than current 64-bit systems. Combined, that means the target customers -- mid-size enterprises -- can simplify management, improve performance for critical applications and reduce complexity and costs,  Bob Fine, director of product marketing for Compellent, tells Channel Insider.

This is especially attractive in the virtualization space because unified SAN/NAS management simplifies provisioning and recovery of virtual servers in VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and Oracle environments.

There is a dramatic change taking place in this market, he says, with customers buying more carefully than they did before.

"What the channel is saying, and we're seeing overall in the market, is that end customers are looking for consolidation in their storage," Fine says. They are taking more time and effort to evaluate their storage practices. "What they used to buy may not be what they buy in the future."

That's consistent with what the Enterprise Strategy Group is finding, states senior analyst Terri McClure. "Our research indicates that 2010 is the year of IT cost containment, and users are looking for ways to reduce operating expenditures by reducing storage infrastructure complexity."

Fine says the company addressed this need by combining two state-of-the-art technologies, the most advanced file system on the market (the open-source Zettabyte File System or ZFS) with the most advanced storage platform on the market (Storage Center). "You really have a compelling product. You get scalable easy to use NAS and likewise very scalable and easy to use SAN."

zNAS offers a single interface for managing mixed Unix, Linux and Windows (CIFS/NFS) file and block data. It starts at about $84,000 with two clustered zNAS nodes, two clustered SAN controllers, 8.7 TB of SAS storage capacity, and thin provisioning, automated tiered storage, snapshots, replication and storage resource management licenses. Compellent SAN customers can add two clustered zNAS nodes starting at $36,000.

Earlier this year the company updated its flagship storage virtualization platform. Storage Center 5 features Portable Volume replication, scalable SAS storage, automated tiered storage with RAID 6 protection, Virtual Ports I/O technology, Server Mapping provisioning and space-efficient Consistency Groups.

Analyst Dave Hill, principal, Mesabi Group, told Channel Insider it was an impressive announcement by an impressive company. "Of all the companies that use channels, I'm not sure how many do it effectively, but Compellent does. Their growth has been very good, and that's amazing… in this economy."