Boston iGloo 24-T-StorMagic

An IP SAN array offering a massive storage capacity for the price, but it is as easy to deploy as Boston claims?

StorMagic's migration feature lets you move data on selected local drives to much larger virtual volumes and on completion they retain the same drive letter. You don't lose the original volume as StorMagic keeps it intact and only removes its drive letter. Another useful feature is StorMagic's automatic disk extension, which can be enabled on selected targets during creation. On each volume you decide when the disk should be extended based on available space and what percentage it should grow by.

To test performance we used a Supermicro dual-core 3GHz Xeon server and a Dell PowerEdge 1950 quad-core 1.86GHz Xeon server with both running Windows Server 2003 R2. We placed each server on a different IP subnet and created and assigned virtual volumes to each one in a matter of minutes from the Disk Manager. With the Iometer utility configured on one host we saw it return a very respectable 112MB/sec raw read rate. With two hosts in the mix and assigned to independent iSCSI targets we watched Iometer returned an equally impressive cumulative read speed of 208MB/sec.

Along with top performance and easy deployment, the iGloo offers many other valuable IP SAN related features. Along with the Disk Manager, the appliance can also be fully managed via a well designed browser interface which also provides access to more features. StorMagic supports persistent connections, iSNS servers, CHAP authentication and ACLs.

MPIO (multi-path I/O) is also on the list and this uses multiple paths from hosts to storage volumes to create redundant links. Setting up MPIO is easy enough as StorMagic provides clear documentation for this process something a few other vendors should take note of. We configured the two network ports on our Dell server to be on different subnets, logged on to the iSCSI target and from the advanced settings created two sets of source IP and target portal associations. We could now see from the Device manager that we had two new hard disks along with the MPIO driver. Whilst running Iometer on the virtual disk we could pull either network cable out of the server and watch it continue unabated.

The number of IP SAN products coming on to the market is testament to the rapidly increasing popularity of iSCSI amongst SMBs and enterprises alike. The iGloo 24-T-StorMagic doesn't offer the same level of RAID controller redundancy as found in products such as iQStor's iQ2850, but this feature does increase costs considerably. What it does deliver is a tremendous amount of RAID protected storage at a very competitive price and teams this up with top performance and extreme ease of use making it an ideal network storage solution for SMBs.

Verdict

IP SAN deployment really doesn’t get any easier than this as the array’s StorMagic embedded OS makes light work of virtual volume creation and target assignment. The RAID card is a single point of failure but the appliance offers plenty of other fault tolerant features and you’ll be hard pushed to find a better price for this amount of storage capacity.

Chassis: 4U rack CPU: 1 x 2GHz Xeon L5335 Memory: 8GB 667MHz DDR2 Storage: 24 x 1TB Western Digital WD1000FYPS SATA/3Gbps hard disks RAID: AMCC 3ware 9650SE-24M8 SATA PCI-e with 512MB cache and BBU Array support: RAID0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50 and hot-standby Network: 2 x Gigabit, Supermicro 10GbE card with 2 x CX4 ports Power: 2 x 900W hot-plug supplies OS: StorMagic SM Series software on USB DOM Management: SIMLC RMM, web management

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