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BlueArc Looks to Take Giant NAS Leap with Titan - InternetNews.
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BlueArc Looks to Take Giant NAS Leap with Titan

Storage hardware maker BlueArc Monday unveiled a network-attached storage (NAS) server to help it better compete with the likes of perennial NAS leaders EMC and Network Appliance

A NAS device is strictly geared to serve files. EMC and NetApp are regularly the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the NAS segment, according to research groups.

BlueArc is gunning for the No. 3 spot and the company is banking on its new Titan SiliconServer, a file system that can grow up to 256 terabytes and pipe data up to 20 gigabits per second (Gbps), to help them to that.

The SiliconServer architecture lets customers scale one Titan system beyond most products, according to BlueArc President and CEO Gianluca Rattazzi, who said his company had worked on the modular server with the increasing explosion in data in mind.

While IT businesses often add storage systems as they need them, or rip and replace their hardware to scale to more powerful software to keep up with the growing demands of their data, Rattazzi told internetnews.com such islands of data become difficult to manage and worse -- quite costly to money-minded enterprises.

Titan's modular architecture, which takes the form of a thin blade, allows for incremental upgrades and integrates with BlueArc's Silicon Information Network, a management framework that offers a single access point for storage assets in a business regardless of where they reside on a network.

Rattazzi likened the rip-and-replace event that can happen to storage systems that age and can't handle increased workloads to hiring a new staff just to add one new employee.

Until Titan, BlueArc had specialized in servers that encapsulate large blocks of content for transfer, such as digital films, or high performance computing tasks in laboratory experiments.

According to Arun Taneja, founder of storage research firm Taneja Group, Titan affords the San Jose, Calif.-based company the opportunity to carve out market share in a space dominated by EMC and NetApp because it also does single image storage, such as purchase orders or smaller files, associated with bank transactions.

This represents a large segment of the market where previously BlueArc could not compete as effectively as it would have liked to.

"I'm finding they're plugging in a bunch of holes that they had with this new release," Taneja told internetnews.com. "This is a company that always had such a high-end architecture that is now addressing single file system issues that have held them back in the past. The fact that they've boosted small block I/O [input/output] side of the product, which used to be nonexistent in current product line shows that they are ready to compete with EMC and NetApp. Without small block I/O they could not participate in the broader market, and serve exchange applications and database applications that are so common on Wall Street."

Titan delivers 5 Gbps throughput and has the ability to scale to 20 Gbps with one upgrade. The machine's Silicon File System, which supports up to 60,000 users at once, supports file systems up to 256 terabytes and uses "virtual volumes" to partition data for users across the enterprise.

This helps reduce storage management issues and eliminates the downtime that can occur with the data migration and reallocation associated with other storage systems.

BlueArc, which has accrued an almost unheard of $160 million in investment capital since it launched in 2001, may be a harbinger of things to come in the NAS market, which Taneja said is entering an exciting period.

"I'm thrilled to see the level of excitement and activity in the NAS space. It shows that the economy is turning around and NAS is in for another ride. For a company like BlueArc that came out within a fairly bad environment is encouraging."