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NEC upgrades HYDRAstor grid storage system

NEC Corp unveiled several upgrades to its flagship HYDRAstor grid-storage system, adding write-once, read-many (WORM) capabilities and the ability to encrypt data in transit. The upgraded system also provides de-duplication capabilities for more third-party backup applications.

NEC officials said that the upgraded software will increase performance by 67% while boosting security by improving HYDRAstor's ability to archive mission-critical data.

“Over 70% of even high I/O data from source applications such as databases have not been touched after six months. A lot can be offloaded onto more efficient platforms,” said Gideon Senderov, director of product management for NEC's IT products group.

The new HYDRAlock WORM capability allows administrators to lock out any changes to documents or other records, maintaining a chain of custody for regulatory purposes, Senderov said. The new RepliGrid in-flight data-encryption capability protects data as it's being transmitted between HYDRAstor grids and data centers, he added.

NEC also announced that it will allow users to license additional physical capacity that can be activated without adding other components. For example, users can now license as little as 12TB of capacity in a 24TB configuration and then pay a fee to activate additional capacity as needed.

A new quota management system allows administrators to set limits to the maximum effective capacity allocated for each file system and its associated application. The quota management system also offers threshold notifications and the ability to set aside a capacity reserve for other applications, such as critical archive data.

Previously, the HYDRAstor's grid architecture had a default capacity of 256 petabytes for all applications.

“We are really looking forward to taking advantage of the new in-flight encryption and quota management functions,” said Scott Ashton, a LAN/WAN specialist at TLC Engineering for Architecture Inc., an Orlando-based engineering firm. “We've really seen the return on our initial investment as we've been able to take advantage of each new upgrade with HYDRAstor since our early-adopter installation in 2007.”

NEC said that the performance boost comes from software enhancements and more efficient internode data transfer and communications protocols. The upgraded system can deliver up to 1.8TB per hour per accelerator node and up to 90TB per hour for the largest supported configuration of 55 accelerator nodes and 110 storage nodes, according to the company.

Accelerator nodes are the controller blades with the CPU processing power; storage nodes are the system blades with disk storage capacity.

The new application-aware de-duplication feature allows newly supported third-party backup applications, such as IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager and EMC's NetWorker, as well as the previously supported Simpana from CommVault and NetBackup from Symantec, to take advantage of the data-reducing feature.

NEC today also introduced lower-capacity, or “entry-level” models of HYDRAstor, offering raw storage capacities of 12TB (or over 150TB effective capacity), 24TB (or over 300TB effective capacity) and 36TB (or over 450TB effective capacity).

“A highly resilient storage solution primed for archiving that self-evolves with the ability to intermix several generations of technology, offers global de-duplication, great scalability, and automates provisioning, migration, workload balancing and system management will be the key features of a storage solution that the market will demand,” said Dave Russell, an analyst at research firm Gartner Inc.

Customers can install the latest HYDRAstor upgrades for free, with the exception of the WORM capability, which costs $14,000 per accelerator node.

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