Overland Storage Does NAS X2 with the SnapScale X2
ESG - Solution Brief
Growth and management of unstructured data continues to
present major challenges for IT. Unstructured data is growing faster than ever
thanks to the proliferation of endpoint devices that can capture data as well as
richer file formats and the resulting larger data sets. On the storage front,
ESG believes that scale-out storage platforms that essentially virtualize the
underlying hardware environment and provide a scalable and easily managed file
storage environment will be the dominant hardware architecture moving forward,
and indeed that is the case across some market segments. But the midrange NAS
market lags—midrange file sharing is still largely the provenance of scale-up
storage silos. That’s because few vendors have tackled this segment—but it is an
important growth area and one that Overland is taking on with its SnapScale X2.
Overland Storage SnapScale X2 represents the latest
entry into the scale-out NAS market. It is an “infinitely scalable,” high
performance and availability scale-out NAS system all wrapped up in a global
namespace for ease of use.
Embedded with the X2 is Overland’s RAINcloud OS. RAINcloud OS is the global
namespace layer that combines traditional embedded NAS functionality—a file
system, volume manager, and data protection—into one scalable and flexible
storage management layer that can span all nodes within a given cluster.
Scales to 512PB (raw) in a single cluster
which is more than enough capacity for today’s mid-sized enterprise.
Flexible protection levels
that help align costs with criticality of data via user selectable levels of
· 3-way Redundancy – Maximize Protection
o Data remains 100% available even if multiple drives or multiple nodes fail
· 2-way Redundancy – Maximize Capacity
o Data remains 100% available if a single drive or node fails
An always-on architecture with automatic repair
that ensures storage users are automatically redirected and remain online during
a node failure
Non-disruptive scaling of capacity and performance
Snapshots for creating
point-in-time copies of data for test and dev or data protection purposes
Remote replication for
increased levels of high availability and disaster recovery (incremental
The initial configuration starts with three nodes and four
drives per node. Scaling can be done at a granular level by adding additional
drives or full nodes, for “just in time” scalability.
Rather than targeting general purpose
NAS environments (though X2 provides an attractive alternative for fast-growing
user home directories and should be considered for that use case), Overland is
targeting vertical industries that generate lots of content and really need to
scale performance in lockstep with capacity—as X2 can. These are industries like
manufacturing and design, that are dealing with ever richer and multidimensional
CAD files, for example; or video surveillance which is dealing with more cameras
at a higher resolution than ever before; and government and education that is
expanding through eLearning platforms that can support rich non-text formats
like audio and video—just to name a few.
Why It’s Important
Rapid Growth and
Management of Unstructured Data is a Top IT Challenge
Growth and management of unstructured data continues to
present problems for IT. In fact, in a recent survey of over 400 IT
professionals responsible for evaluating, purchasing, and/or managing data
storage technology, the rapid growth and management of unstructured data was
cited most often (40% of the time) as one of the top storage challenges they are
These results are not surprising—we are
faced with unprecedented unstructured data growth thanks to technology
advancements across the board. Any industry that deals with imaging is seeing
that growth—GIA forecasts “the global market for 3D Medical Imaging (software
and workstations used in MRI and CT; and Ultrasound machines) to reach US$5.9
billion by the year 2017, primarily driven by the technological advancements,
resulting in improved imaging equipment.”2 All that data needs to be stored
somewhere, and scale-out NAS fits the bill to a T. Other industries that use
imaging—though not hitting 3D, they are certainly growing thanks to higher
resolution images and expanded imaging usage—are financial services (check
images and scanned documents), legal services (scanned documents), and
architectural firms (3D models). It’s not just imaging—previously mentioned
eLearning and video surveillance are big unstructured data growth areas, as are
cloud services (public and private) such as archive.
How Scale-Out NAS Helps
Scale-out NAS systems can independently
scale throughput and capacity by adding nodes that work in parallel to support
throughput requirements, yet are managed within a single namespace as a single
system image, maintaining a single system image as new storage nodes (processor
or capacity). This allows users to create a massively scalable shared storage
pool and drives storage efficiency.
Inherent benefits in scale-out platforms provide a path to
reduction in operational costs. System scalability provides an ideal platform
for consolidation. Scale-out systems help IT reduce management costs and
footprint, which reduces floor space, and power and cooling costs. And because
of the consolidation onto a shared resource, utilization rates are much higher,
so users get more bang for their storage buck.
The benefits that users report from
deploying scale-out platforms are far reaching—starting with improved
scalability, the core benefit of scale-out platforms, and improved performance
and availability. But a number of benefits users report translate right into
cost savings and the bottom line. Nearly a third of those users surveyed report
they improved utilization, and more than one in four reported reduced
operational expense, one in four reported they could manage more capacity with
fewer people, and almost one in five reported reduced in capital expenditures.
The financial impact can really add up.
Scale-out storage architectures have
come to dominate some market segments but have not yet gained prevalence in the
midrange—midrange storage traditionally lags in the high end when it comes to
adopting or leveraging new technologies, and this is no exception. But with
richer file formats and ever increasing mountains of data, especially in the
content rich market segments that Overland is targeting, scale-out is the only
approach that makes sense.
The Bigger Truth
Overland’s move into this space is a
good one. It has a strong channel presence that it can leverage to move up
market—and it is not a big leap up market rather just a move into an adjacent
space. This move is complementary to the existing SnapServer line and indeed it
fits the existing channel well.
The midrange scale-out market is underserved—currently dominated by bigger
vendors’ scale-up solutions. As unstructured data continues to grow at a
blistering pace, we expect that these scale-up systems may still find a home in
file-based transactional environments but for fast growing, content rich
environments and even home directories where richer file formats are likely to
accelerate growth even more (think multi-GB PowerPoint files with high
definition photos and video). That’s where the big data growth is, and this
product is well suited to serve those needs with a scalable, easily managed
solution. Stovepiped scale-up solutions just don’t make sense in these types of
course Overland still has some work to do—this is the first salvo. It will need
to add advanced features such as space-saving thin clones and synchronous
replication, but those will come over time.
But it has a talented team and a lot of
core IP to pull from, so expect the product to evolve from gen 1 quickly.
Overland also has a reputation for providing quality products, which should ease
the fear of IT managers hesitant to be the first ones in the pool. And the
SnapServer line has a reputation for ease of use and management—Overland
leveraged that experience and has pulled in some of that technology into the
SnapScale X2. Overall this seems to be a solid strategy and a solid announcement
that should help Overland expand its market presence into some new (and data
rich) use cases.