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Dot Hill: A lesser known green storage option

Because of our insatiable human tendency to create more and more information (like this very own blog), storage is one of the things I scrutinize most when people pitch me on all manner of green technology.Most of the products I hear about, mind you, aren’t applicable to little ole me in my one-person consulting life.

Because of our insatiable human tendency to create more and more information (like this very own blog), storage is one of the things I scrutinize most when people pitch me on all manner of green technology.

Most of the products I hear about, mind you, aren’t applicable to little ole me in my one-person consulting life. But I love being able to write about innovations that are coming out of companies other than the established market leaders.

So, IF you’re an IT manager sort or business technology integrator or a storage VAR and you’re looking for something a little different, you might consider evaluating a series of new storage products launched this year by Dot Hill Systems, based in Carlsbad, California.

The latest addition to the company’s 2000 Series of storage products is the 2330 iSCSI RAID platform, which offers all the bells and whistles you’d usually associate with a modular enterprise storage solution. The Dot Hill 2330 is a 2U rack with 12 drives that supports RAID 6 and up to 56 SAS and SATA arrays. It includes two 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports per controller with 512 Mbytes of mirrored cache per controller. The product is priced starting at $13,500.

What makes the 2330 and its related product siblings unique are some architectural features that Dot Hill touts as aiding in data center efficiency and thus worth consideration by those thinking green. These include SimulCache, which uses redundant RAID controllers and is designed to streamline write performance; AssuredSnap, Dot Hill’s snapshot technology, which impacts data availability and business continuity expectations; and AssuredCopy, which is Dot Hill’s approach to data volume copies.

The final piece, EcoStor, is a battery-free cache technology that uses a combination of super capacitors and compact flash to create the hardware’s non-volatile cache memory. If there is a power interruption or “brown out,” the company said the cache is designed to transfer over to the compact flash, where it is stored indefinitely, eliminating the need for a resync. Moreover, the supercapacitors last up to 10 years, which cuts out the time and expense associated with annual battery replacement, disposal and maintenance, according to the company. Battery charging time is also eliminated, meaning the array can be up and running faster.

Dot Hill has also introduced its first midrange product, the Dot Hill 5730, which is a Fibre Channel offering scheduled to ship in the fourth quarter. The device comes with four 4-Gigabit Fibre Channel hot ports per controller, with 1 Gigabyte of mirrored cache per controller. It can support up to 108 SAS/SATA disk drives and up to 81 terabytes with 750 Terabytes. As far green features go, the 5730 also uses the company’s EcoStor cache approach, and it is compliant with both RoHS (the Restriction on Hazardous Substances directive) as well as WEEE (the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive). The device will probably be priced starting at $32,000.

Whew. Anyway, enough techno-speak. The point is, the greenest technology won’t necessarily be coming from the big companies on your approved IT vendor list. If your company has some serious green technology initiatives under way, you may want to look more closely at niche product options.