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Dot Hill High Capacity Ultra56 AssuredSAN Hybrid Storage Array Launched

November 19, 2014

The three pillars of data centers—compute, storage and network—are all critical and, as we all know, a solid three-legged stool is the most structurally sound platform to build upon from an architectural stand point. While much of the attention relating to these essentials in enabling data center transformations has been paid on the giving the network a leg to stand on they will keep the stool on solid ground, this does not mean that the other legs are not being reinforced to bear the weight of the crush of communications, storage and data processing heading the data centers’ ways.

All of those numbers so frequently cited about the tsunami of data coming at us in just the next few years have already been born out, and in some instances have been revised because they were too conservative when made only two or three years ago.  The growth has been nothing short of spectacular no matter how you wish to measure it.

The above is a segue into an area of data center transformation that does not get the headlines since it is in essence an enabler to the other main components, high density storage arrays. These are obviously crucial for storage, but also as noted provide the ability, in what I have called “The Age of Acceleration,” to speed everything up.  Dot Hill Systems is a significant player in this field, and it chose the prestigious SC14 international conference for high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis show in New Orleans to unveil the Dot Hill Ultra56 AssuredSAN, a new hybrid flash storage array based on an ultra-density chassis that supports both NEBS Level 3 carrier and MIL-STD government requirements and up to 1.34 petabytes (PB) of raw capacity.

As the company noted in making the announcement at SC14, the Ultra56 AssuredSAN includes the same dual active, redundant 4004 controllers as other Dot Hill storage arrays, affording up to 6400MB/s of sustained read performance and complete meta-data compatibility within the Dot Hill family of storage solutions. In addition, this is a true industrial strength solution and is being positioned as the only high density storage product that meets the requirements of telecommunications carriers, service providers and tactically deployed government installations.

The Ultra56 is available with Dot Hill's RealStor version 2.0 application workload-aware intelligence software, which maximizes performance and simplifies management of hybrid storage arrays. Incorporating Dot Hill's high performance AssuredSAN 4004 storage controllers, the Ultra56 delivers proven 99.999 percent data availability and features platinum-rated power supplies.

The capabilities are impressive.

  • The Ultra56 hybrid flash arrays support any combination of SSDs and hard disk drives to best suit application needs. With hard drives of 6TB in capacity, up to 336TB raw capacity per chassis can be achieved.
  • Three Ultra56 expansion enclosures can be added for a total of 1.34PB of storage within a single array.
  • Performance is exceptional with sustained reads of up to 6400 MB/s, large block writes of up to 5300 MB/s writes, and small block random reads of up to 100,000 IOPS from HDDs or SSDs.
  • All devices are hot-swappable and the system is designed with two front removable device drawers for easy service and maintenance.

"Enhancing our portfolio of 'Ultra' solutions and leveraging our Ultra48 design for small form factor drives, we've designed a unique chassis for large form factor devices with the Ultra56," said Bill Wuertz, senior vice president of products and solutions, Dot Hill. "With all the requisite features, as well as outstanding performance and high capacity, the Ultra56 is well-suited for our growing base of vertical market and service provider customers. This solution, which includes RealStor 2.0 application workload-aware intelligence, provides Dot Hill partners with a significantly differentiated offering for high performance computing and ruggedized applications."

"The extreme density, reliability, and simply elegant serviceability of the Ultra56 make it a great solution for telcos, service providers, and government organizations with massive storage requirements and throughput-hungry application workloads," said Brian Garrett, vice president ESG Lab, Enterprise Strategy Group. "The super-sized capacity of the Ultra56 hardware platform, combined with the simply smart intelligence of RealStor 2.0 software, is ideally suited to ride the next wave of data-intensive workloads including cloud, big data, and the internet of things."

Dot Hill Ultra56 Fibre Channel/iSCSI and SAS arrays are shipping through select OEMs and will be generally available through authorized Dot Hill partners in January, 2015, with street prices starting around $70,000 for a 336 terabyte capacity solution in 4U rack space. The RealStor 2.0 base license is included standard with all Ultra56 models. The premium RealTier autonomic real-time tiering feature is available via a licensing key and upgrade charge.

Data center transformation is about speed, agility, security, and manageability. It is also about resiliency, i.e. “ruggidization.” While it would appear that any solution would and should pass the rigorous tests for being used in truly mission critical infrastructures such as telco an government networks and the hyperscale networks of large enterprises, realities are that—as with any market—there are product lines with various prices points with different levels of functionality.  In addition, since such solutions are going to be in the data center for long periods of time, resiliency at very high levels of performance is not a nicety but a necessity.  

Edited by Alisen Downey

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