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10/19/2011
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Symantec Improves NAS Appliance

FileStore N8300 lets users deduplicate and store volumes of primary unstructured data for archiving, cloud, or VMware environments.

Symantec rolled out enhancements Wednesday to its clustered, network-attached storage (NAS) appliance, the FileStore N8300, which lets users deduplicate and store volumes of primary unstructured data--files, spreadsheets, and images--for archiving, cloud, or VMware environments.

Symantec FileStore N8300 is now certified for use with VMware, where it integrates with VMware vCenter Server and lets customers provision servers and desktops. The FileStore N8300 also provides cloning and deduplication of VMDK virtual machine image files and management of the FileStore N8300 from within VMware vCenter or a View plug-in. Using vCenter or a View plug-in, users can eliminate bottlenecks and, with caching, reduce the impact of boot storms when everyone starts up their machine in the morning.

FileStore N8300 now also supports the deduplication of primary data. Drawn from the deduplication technology in Veritas Storage Foundation, the FileStore N8300 supports variable length blocks of data. Policies set by the administrator control the block length based on file type.

[Software-based virtualization is challenging the primacy of single-vendor, turnkey storage systems. Can Integrated Storage Systems Survive?]

The FileStore appliance now also provides replication capability. Replication can be performed in a cascaded fashion in which data is replicated from one node to a distant node and then from that node to another. The replication capability also supports automatic failover and campus-wide synchronous replication and snapshot capability.

Further, the FileStore N8300 can be configured into as many as 16 nodes or 2 petabytes in total capacity. It distributes workloads across the cluster of active nodes. As nodes are added or removed from the cluster, operations and replication continue non-disruptively.

It supports the common internet file system (CIFS), the network file system (NFS), FTP, and HTTP. A two-node cluster with four 1-GbE network adapters can perform at 500 MBps, according to the company. The appliance also supports 10-Gbps adapters.

FileStore makes use of the Veritas Storage Foundation SmartTier feature to move data from disk to disk, prevents malware with Symantec antivirus, and is integrated with Symantec NetBackup.

For archiving, FileStore is integrated with Symantec Enterprise Vault, where it provides write once read many (WORM) support and uses a feature called Partition Secure Notification that keeps a safety copy of data in primary storage until it knows that the archive copy has been backed up.

In addition the FileStore N8300 has integrated Microsoft's Active Directory and provides RAID 0, 1, 5, or 6 support for data protection. Error alerts can be sent by email and simple network management protocol (SNMP) syslog monitoring can be deployed.

The FileStore N8300 is managed from a graphical user interface or a command line interface.

At first blush, it would seem that Symantec's FileStore competes with its PureDisk deduplication capability. PureDisk, however, is used to deduplicate and compress secondary backup data, while FileStore is intended to reduce the amount of primary data being stored.

The FileStore N8300 5.7 is available now in a two-node, 24-TB system with 12 2-TB SATA drives for $69,796.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers.

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