Xiotech plans to integrate storage management on blades

The new ISE storage blade for SMBs will integrate some controller functions on it

Xiotech plans to incorporate management functions into an entry-level version of its ISE (intelligent storage element) storage blade for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs), a company executive said.

The new ISE blade will integrate functionality provided in controllers, such as thin provisioning and replication, directly onto the blade, rather than require a separate controller, said George Symons, chief operating officer at Xiotech, in an interview in Bangalore on Wednesday.

The integration will help deliver a simple, low-cost box to SMBs that is easy to manage and has only the key functions that these businesses require, he added.

Xiotech however believes that controller functions will in the long term migrate to application servers, particularly in enterprise environments.

The new product, priced at about $US35,000, will be cheaper than the current product that the company ships to SMBs, Symons said. The current product for SMBs, priced at over $50,000, combines a SAN (storage area network) controller with ISE storage, he added.

The storage requirements of SMBs can be met with a single or two-blade configuration, using blades built around hard disk drives (HDDs), Symons said.

The product is expected to start shipping by the end of this year, or early next year. It will be sold entirely through channels, Symons said. Channels like system integrators currently account for a significant part of the company's sales.

Xiotech's ISE blades can be viewed as a kind of disk that virtualizes the individual disks inside it, Symons said.

The company introduced in January its Hybrid ISE, which supports both HDDs and solid state disks (SSDs), for customers that require a combination of high performance with capacity. Xiotech's Continuous Adaptive Data Placement software moves the data in the hybrid pool to deliver up to 60,000 IOPS (input/output operations per second) in a 3U form factor, Symons said.

The company plans to introduce this year more products that include 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch HDDs. The products will address different capacity and performance requirements, Symons said.

Xiotech is targeting its ISE blades at storage markets such as virtualization, business intelligence and data warehousing that require a lot of performance, unlike archive applications. "We really do look for what we call performance-starved applications," Symons said.

Xiotech also expects business from cloud service providers who offer compute services like virtual desktop, rather than purely archive services. The company said on Wednesday that CaroNet, a co-location and hosting company in the U.S., is using its storage blades to introduce a new Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) product.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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