Network storage appliances need to be fast, well featured and reliable. Can Armari's IG24T make the grade?
iSCSI configuration is a cakewalk as you assign a volume to your new target and an IQN is automatically created based on the target name entered. You can make the target LUN read-only, apply CHAP authentication and control which iSCSI initiators may access certain targets by applying black and white lists of IP addresses.
NAS share creation is just as simple as you just pick a volume and assign a share name. Access security is good as the appliance can use its own local user and group lists or you can integrate it with NT domain or AD authentication. For each share you can allow or deny HTTP access, whilst FTP controls extend further to limiting how many connections are allowed and insisting on FTP clients using encryption.
The IG24T has a lot going for it as a backup appliance, as you can present virtual tape drives to the network using a network share or use physical tape drives attached directly to the appliance. The big three backup utilities are on the guest list as the appliance has embedded agents for Computer Associates ARCserve, EMC Retrospect and Symantec Backup Exec and each can be activated on selected NAS shares.
We checked out the ARCserve agent and found that from our remote backup server running ARCserve r11.5 we could add the agent as a new backup source, see all available shares and back them up to a remote tape drive. There's more as anti-virus measures are also on the menu and come courtesy of the open-source ClamAV. Naturally, it can only scan NAS shares and not iSCSI targets but it'll quarantine any infections and automatically download updates.
Along with a fine set of features the IG24T is no mean performer either. Using a Boston Supermicro dual 3GHz Xeon 5160 server running Windows Server 2003 R2 we had no problems logging on to the appliance using Microsoft's freely available iSCSI initiator. With one virtual volume assigned we saw the Iometer utility report a healthy raw read throughput of 97MB/sec - not quite as good as Dell's mighty EqualLogic PS5000XV but still impressive.
File sharing performance was reasonable as well as we copied a 1.7GB disk image to and from a share on the appliance and saw average read and write speeds of 38MB/sec and 36MB/sec. Testing over FTP saw the same test file returning 38MB/sec for both read and write operations.
The IG24T delivers 24TB of raw storage at a price point few, if any, competing vendors can match. We were impressed with the excellent the range of features offered by the Open-E kernel and performance over both iSCSI and NAS is comparatively good as well.
For sheer capacity there's little to touch Armari's network storage appliance, making the IG24T look particularly good value. The Open-E management interface has a few rough edges but it offers both iSCSI target and NAS share support and plenty more, including some very useful backup facilities.
Chassis: 4U rack chassis
Drive bays: 24 hot-swap bays
Motherboard: Supermicro X7DVL-ER
Processor: 1.6GHz Xeon 5110
Memory: 8GB 667MHz FB-DIMM
RAID controller: AMCC 3ware 9650SE-24M8 PCI-e card with 512MB cache and BBU supports RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50
Disk drives: 24 x 1TB Hitachi UltraStar SATA/3Gbps hard disk
Network: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet
Power: 2 x 900W hot-plug supplies
OS: Open-E DSS on USB DiskOnModule
Warranty: 3yrs on-site
Other: Web browser management