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Feb 25 2015

Fujitsu ETERNUS DX60 S3: Economy Storage with Enterprise Features

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Entry-level storage solutions frequently have a problem, and that's being entry-level. On too many occasions, this means they lack decisive features that would show they belong to the same category as other storage products. Fujitsu's new ETERNUS DX60 S3 is different by design.

How do you discern a full-fledged entry-level storage solution from bargain offerings intended to draw you to certain vendors? Experienced administrators will answer: "If you receive lots of capacity at an attractive price, but little to nothing else, it's a bargain." Although somewhat unfair, this strategy normally pays off – companies and IT teams tend to stick with suppliers if the initial price seems right, and for as long as the price seems right. Still that will hardly stop them from moving to less expensive platforms if they can find any, so that sooner or later their storage environments turn into unmanageable patchworks. For both customers and channel partners, the only way to escape this bunch of dilemmas is to start off with a fair deal, meaning with a system that helps avoid building patchwork environments from the outset. The ETERNUS DX60 S3is such a system.

Technical Advancements Meet Business Value
Fujitsu has been promoting the concept of business-centric storage for nearly two years. The general idea is that storage systems must be easy to operate and manage in order to best support applications and business processes, i.e. deliver data to where they are needed when they are needed in a fast and reliable manner. The same goes for all related data management tasks, such as backup/recovery, replication, migration etc. With the third-generation ETERNUS DX60 S3, we've built a system that implements this approach at a very basic level and offers a vast number of features and functions not normally found in this price range. With regard to hardware, these are the main improvements over the previous generation:

  • The ETERNUS DX60 S3 was designed to be a "full member" of the ETERNUS DX product family. Like its bigger siblings, it builds on our Generation S3 Performance Architecture and is equipped with high-speed components that allow for 3.5 times higher throughput than the predecessor. To achieve this, we've included a high-speed Intel CPU, increased the cache size from 1 to 2 GB per controller module (maximum is now 4 GB), replaced 3Gbit/s with 6 Gbit/s SAS host connections, added an 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel host interface, boosted system bus speed by moving from PCI Express to PCI Express 2.0, and redoubled memory bus speeds.
  • Like its predecessor, the ETERNUS DX60 S3 holds a maximum of 24 drives and supports 3.5 inch as well as 2.5 inch SAS and Nearline SAS HDDs. Storage capacities and performance vary accordingly: 'Classic' configurations with 3.5 inch drives are available with two types of SAS HDDs spinning at 10,000 RPM and holding 1.2 TB or 900 GB of data; alternatively, customers can opt for 2, 4 or 6 TB Nearline SAS HDDs spinning at 7,200 RPM. Both SAS drives and the 6 TB 'monster' are new to the mix; the latter helps to boost the maximum capacity of the ETERNUS DX60 S3 to 144 TB physical and 128 TB usable storage space – a 50% increase over the previous model. Regarding 2.5 inch configurations, their maximum capacity remains at 28.8 TB physical and 25.6 TB usable space; however, the system now also supports 600 GB, 15k SAS HDDs. Thus every customer can select the drive type that best fits their business or a specific application.
  • Probably the single most important improvement is that as a full family member, the new system offers field upgradeability, i.e. the option to move from an ETERNUS DX60 S3 to an ETERNUS DX100 S3 via data-in-place migration.

These enhancements are accompanied by similarly massive improvements on the software side, which add even more enterprise-class functionality to the mix:

  • Third-generation DX60 systems now support Thin Provisioning, a technology formerly only available with larger arrays. Thin Provisioning enables administrators to allocate physical storage capacity on the fly, according to actual user or application requirements. To achieve this, all disks are merged into one virtual storage pool, from where administrators mete out virtual volumes of a pre-defined size along with (smaller) physical capacities that match current usage patterns. If these patterns change and more data is written to a volume, then more physical capacity is added automatically. Moreover, admins can define a usage threshold – e.g. 80% – for the entire physical disk pool; the DX60 then monitors how much of that capacity is utilized and warns the administrator to add more disks when the threshold is reached. As a result, the ETERNUS DX60 S3 provides maximum efficiency: applications can be implemented faster and with lower upfront storage investments and customers can avoid the risk of over-provisioning and still ensure they have enough capacity whenever it's needed.
  • Fast Recovery is another ETERNUS DX family feature that was not previously available with entry-level systems. However, given the massive capacity increase resulting from the incorporation of 6 TB disks, it was absolutely critical to include it with the ETERNUS DX60 S3. Fast Recovery can perform rapid disk rebuilds five to six times faster than conventional techniques: the complete restoration of a failed 6 TB disk from a productive RAID group normally takes several days if you're working with standard tools and spare disks. By contrast, Fast Recovery uses reserved (unused) areas of the RAID group disks and simultaneously writes the required data to these targets. Thus the time required to rebuild 1 TB of information shrinks from 9 hours to 90 minutes, and bigger tasks can be solved in just over a workday.
  • Other enhanced features include an advanced copy function (SnapOPC+ for 1,024 snapshots), cache size setting for individual volumes, stripe size optimization, and full VLAN tagging. Each ETERNUS DX60 S3 comes with a copy of our ETERNUS SF Express storage management software that is provided free of charge; alternatively, we offer the full-fledged ETERNUS SF suite with controller-based licensing. It should be noted here, however, that the DX60 does not support some of the high-end features of the ETERNUS DX family, such as Automated Storage Tiering, clustering, remote replication, or encryption, as these either seem like 'overkill' on a comparatively small entry-level system or would unduly hamper the performance of an entry-level system.

 

ETERNUS SF

The ETERNUS DX60 S3 is equipped with management software free of charge; upgrades are possible with controller-based licensing.

 

The ETERNUS DX60 S3 is compatible with a wide variety of servers and server architectures from HP, IBM, Dell, and of course Fujitsu and supports a comprehensive set of operating systems (Windows, VMware, and various Linux and UNIX flavors) as well as applications (e.g. Windows Exchange Server and SQL Server, Oracle databases, and SAP ERP/CRM solutions). Thanks to a large feature set and massive improvements in hard- and software capabilities, it is now the perfect fit for a broad set of usage scenarios ranging from storage consolidation and basic virtualization to serving as a dedupe disk pool in complex backup environments.

The ETERNUS DX60 S3 is available globally; prices vary according to region and configuration. For a more detailed overview, please refer to the recorded version of our February webcast that can be found in our Knowledge Base (TechCommunity membership required, you need to be logged in to view the content). For more assistance, please contact your local sales team.

Kathrin Hofherr

 

About the Author:

Kathrin Hofherr

Product Marketing Manager Storage at Fujitsu

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