BlueArc’s Titan is Flexing Petabytes

Most storage vendors push out new devices to fill out a product line, typically upgrading functionality to put more device choices into play. But not BlueArc.

The San Jose-based network storage device maker is doing just the opposite. It’s taking its current network-attached storage (NAS) series, the Titan 2000 that debuted
two years ago, and re-naming it the Titan 3000.

The Titan 3000 line features two hardware boxes, the Titan 3100 and 3200. Although the line has changed to a new number, the pricing is staying about the same as the Titan 2000 series: at about $100,000.

The 3100 offers 100,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS), with a maximum throughput at 10 gigabits per second and maximum capacity at 2 petabytes . One petabyte is equal to 1000 terabytes .

The 3200 boasts 4 petabytes of storage, with a maximum throughput of 20 gigabits/second and a peak performance of 200,000 IOPS. It supports file service consolidation with usable file system capacity of 256 terabytes — which BlueArc says is 16 times that of competitor options — and four times the number of virtual servers

“The high performance computing capability is now needed in every environment, not just the heavy compute research labs,” Louis Gray, director of corporate marketing, told

The nine-year-old company, in silent mode due to an IPO effort, now supports Hitachi’s (NYSE: HIT) new Data Discovery Suite, a search and discovery tool, that integrates with BlueArc’s new data and file management API.

It also announced an OEM partnership with Brocade (Nasdaq: BRCD), a data center networking solutions provider, to sell the StorageX file virtualization and management product.

All three announcements are clearly aimed at grabbing serious market traction against high-end NAS competitors EMC and NetApp, and one industry watcher is impressed.

“Everyone else is running storage systems on existing computing platforms, on servers, which weren’t designed to provide the speed and capacity that’s now needed,” Enterprise Strategy Group Analyst Mark Peters told

“The challenge for BlueArc is not product related. Having the best technology doesn’t guarantee you a market,” said the analyst.

As blade modules are upgradeable, current users can swap up a couple of blades on Titan units. That ease of use, and the vendor’s streamlined product choices, are competitive factors, Peters added.

“They are making it easier for customers to gain needed capacity and avoid forklift upgrades. It’s an impressive series offering impressive performance,” one that puts Titan’s parallel architecture in a position to allow specifications that were once viewed as impossible.

The devices feature parallel, scalable hardware built on Field Programmable Gate Array technology that BlueArc claims optimizes both performance and efficiency by stripping out what is not needed. What’s left is a set of dedicated, purpose-built ASICs for managing the system.

“That makes Titan series very eco-efficient in terms of power, cooling and space efficiency,” noted Peters.

The capacity upgrades are needed by enterprises with an “insatiable demand for data storage,” said BlueArc’s Gray. BlueArc predicts the typical enterprise will need 2.5 petabytes of storage within the next five years.

“That’s quite a jump when you realize just a year ago 40 terabytes was enough.”

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