A Multi-Talented Storage Solution

Designed as an all-in-one storage solution, Tyrone Opslag FS2 provides high performance and can be scaled up to 576 terabytes.

Meet Tyrone Opslag FS2. Plug this all-new storage device to your enterprise storage network, and it will perform multiple roles-as network attached storage (NAS), as storage attached network (SAN) or as a virtual tape library (VTL), depending on your storage needs. And in tune with your network.


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This next generation storage solution, invented by Netweb Technologies, has up to 4 gigabyte (GB) Ethernet ports, which can scale to 576 terabytes (TB). “Opslag FS2 will revolutionalise the traditional NAS and SAS market, and will address almost all kinds of connectivity problems that a company may face. Data generation, maintenance and sharing, all play important parts in any organisation. The productivity and viability of organisations is becoming ever more reliant on the ability to store, organise and share business information,” says Sandeep Lodha, VP, sales and marketing, Netweb Technologies.

A flexible solution
What makes this new generation FS2 different? The previous generation of FS2 only had NAS functionality and its scalability was limited to 24 TB. The interconnect offered was Gigabit Ethernet and the maximum throughput possible was 380 MB using multiple Gigabit Ethernet ports. In comparison, FS2 supports more flexibility in terms of the access protocols and can be configured as a NAS or a SAN, or both. The scalability and maximum throughput also has increased.

Opslag FS2 runs on quad-core Xeon processors and supports up to 16 GB of memory. It also supports various redundant arrays of independent disks (RAID), which ensures protection of valuable data even in case of multiple hard disk failures.
The design of this storage device is based on two major principles: unification and flexibility. “We have unified the NAS and SAN in one box. This offers high flexibility to customers, reduces the cost implication and presents the optimum utilisation of space without any waste,” says Lodha. Customers have a choice of almost any kind of connectivity, apart from a selection of models to upgrade and change to, later. “If the customer uses a fibre cable (FC) switch today for networking, and tomorrow goes in for Infiniband, all that needs to be done is to change a cable and fix FS2 to the Infiniband switch,” Lodha adds.

Apart from NAS and SAN functionality, Opslag FS2 can function as a VTL (Virtual Tape Library). The device enables you to shift back-up operations from slow tape drives to faster disk-based storage without any major changes to the existing set-up. It also allows Input Output unification, starting from Gigabit Ethernet, on to 10 Gigabit Ethernet; then Fiber Channel and on to InfiniBand (10/20/40GBps), in combination, or altogether.

Scalable protocols
“Availability of data can be crucial for the survival of any organisation. Therefore, we have implemented redundancy at various levels,” says Lodha. At the very basic level, the system uses redundant power supply and supports RAID6, which can tackle simultaneous failure of two HDDs. The RAID cache is protected by a battery back-up unit.

FS2’s operating system is based on a customised 64-bit Linux kernel and is installed on a Flash module. It supports expansion by using multiple host bus adapters (HBA), which connect a computer to other networks or storage systems, and by connecting each HBA to several disks cascaded together. The device supports common Internet file systems and server message block protocols (CIFS/SMB), which are primarily used by computers running on Microsoft Windows. It also supports the Network file system protocol (NFS) that is mainly used by computers working on Linux.

“The novel feature in FS2 is its support for SRP (SCSI RDMA Protocol). In the last few years, Infiniband has emerged as an interconnect of choice for high-performance computing, providing extremely low-latency with high-throughput. FS2 also provides scalability from a few TB to 576TB, so that customers can plan and grow as their requirements grow,” Lodha says. Support for a wide variety of access protocols enables FS2 to support a wide range of operating systems, and it works very well in heterogeneous computing environments.

On the speed side, FS2 could perform at 2 GBps, when used with InfiniBand. The device comes with the Web-interfaced management software, Opslag Storage Manager, which is easy to use and does not require a highly trained technician to configure the settings.

The company, which started in 1996, has several energy efficient supercomputing solutions, workstation solutions and reduced power consuming storage solutions to its credit. Its R&D wing developed the second generation of Opslag, which was launched late last year. “We have plans to boost the scalability to a few petabytes with a throughput of 3.5 GBps,” says Lodha. That’s optimism of the finest order. Watch out how the market will respond.

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