DCIG Midrange Array Storage Controllers Special Report Now Available for Free Download

DCIG is pleased to announce the availability of a special report that examines the pivotal role midrange array storage controllers should play in an enterprise midrange array buying decision. This special report draws upon research that DCIG did earlier this year in the broader enterprise midrange array market by taking a deeper look at how the storage controllers from the leading midrange arrays compare and examines why the Pillar Data Systems Axiom 600 scored so well in comparison to other enterprise midrange arrays.

Earlier this year DCIG completed a comprehensive Buyer’s Guide that examined many of the features found on enterprise midrange arrays to include their storage capacity, replication capabilities and storage network connectivity to name a few. But in looking at the different features found on midrange arrays, it became apparent that the configuration of the storage controllers arguably plays the largest role in determining how well midrange arrays will perform and scale now and into the future.

Across these 70+ enterprise midrange arrays DCIG found that they all offered high levels of availability, storage capacity and performance. There were, however, distinct differences in how well the stor­age controllers on each midrange array model delivered on these features. Further, while on the surface these differ­ences may appear small, they are the features that separate the top tier storage controllers from the rest.

For instance, when one looks at availability, storage control­lers may be configured as “Active-Passive,” “Dual Active” or “Active-Active”. While all of these configura­tions meet what DCIG views as “Highly Available,” these configurations can definitely be broken down into “Good,” “Better” and “Best.”

Only the “Best” storage controllers provide an “Active-Active” controller configuration as it enables two or more storage controllers to concurrently access and manage disk drives on the back end. This is a feature found on all high end array storage controllers but on only a select few midrange arrays.

A second example is storage capacity. The amount of storage capacity that a midrange array supports is important but in today’s enterprise environments, no one has just one tier of disk. So while many scaled to high levels of storage capacity, only the best ones could mix and match different drive types such as FC, SAS, SATA and even Solid State Drives (SSD) that deliver true linear scale in performance even as stor­age capacity is added.

Yet is availability or total storage capacity really the best ways to measure midrange arrays? Even as DCIG was completing its research the conversation around midrange arrays was already beginning to change to evaluating how effi­ciently and effectively does a midrange array store and retrieve data.

Organizations aren’t stupid. They are figuring out that just because a storage vendor can plug more disk drives into its midrange array does not necessarily make it “better.” Rather they are looking at what software and hardware features it offers as a means to gain insight into how effectively the midrange array utilizes the disk drives under its control.

Buyer's-Guide-Special-Report-2010-120x120.jpgIt is this change in conversation that led DCIG to put a higher priority on the storage controller feature of midrange arrays and how they support such options as:

  • Scale out
  • Facilitating the introduction of new technologies to the midrange array
  • Mixing and matching applications on the same midrange array
  • Unified storage

It was when DCIG looked at enterprise midrange arrays from this perspective that it found the storage controllers on the Pillar Data Systems Axiom 600 stood apart from competitive midrange array models in ways that users still consider important such as its availability and scalability features.

But when one starts to factor in how Pillar’s storage controllers enable an organization to become more efficient and effective in its use of storage with its Quality of Service and Unified Storage options, it becomes clear why the Pillar Data Systems Axiom 600 scored well in this important category. To access the entire 2010 DCIG Midrange Array Special Report at no charge, you may download it at this link.

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