Broadberry CyberStore 316S DSS review

Broadberry delivers a unified IP SAN and NAS storage solution that’s sensibly priced and offers a remarkable expansion potential.

Price
£6,250

EXCLUSIVE

FC SANs have always been an expensive network storage solution but in the current economic climate they're starting to look extortionate. SMBs need to keep up with the demand for storage just as much as enterprises and IP SANs have traditionally offered them a far more cost-effective alternative.

The latest CyberStore 316S DSS from Broadberry typifies this as its compact 3U chassis delivers a whole heap of storage along with standard support for both NAS and iSCSI operations and all for a comparatively low price. It can also support fibre channels adapters making it a good all-rounder and the price includes IP SAN failover as well. There's more as the 316S supports the latest 10GbE network adapters and as the lab is 10-Gigabit equipped we thought it was an ideal opportunity to run performance tests over this as well.

The hardware comes courtesy of SuperMicro with the chassis home to an X7DVL-E motherboard. Sixteen hot-swap drive bays are up for grabs and the price includes a full compliment of 1TB Seagate SAS drives looked after by an LSI 8888ELP RAID controller. This is LSI's flagship product and comes with a pair of SAS SFF8087 internal four-port connectors and another pair of SAS SFF8088 external ports.

The card supports a maximum of two active connectors with the internal port capable of servicing all 16 drive bays using the chassis' integrated SAS expander. This means the external port can be used to daisy-chain up to five of Broadberry's DAS (Direct Attached Storage) arrays enabling storage to be expanded to a massive 256TB. Broadberry advised us that it's also possible to add more RAID cards and expand up to 25 external DAS arrays making petabytes a possibility.

The power behind the throne comes courtesy of German company Open-E and its Data Storage Server (DSS) software, which is preinstalled on an internal USB DiskOnModule plugged directly onto the motherboard. Installation is simple enough where you remotely access the appliance's well designed web interface and start by creating RAID arrays.

Usefully, the LSI card can be accessed directly from the Open-E interface to create arrays and you have plenty to choose from including dual redundant RAID-6 and spanned RAID-60. If performance isn't such an issue the controller can be dispensed with as Open-E can manage software arrays itself and also supports RAID-6.

Next, you create volumes and volume groups on selected arrays and decide whether they should be NAS shares or iSCSI targets. Existing volumes can be expanded into spare space and you can set up snapshots on selected volumes. Replication enables volumes to be mirrored over the network to another Open-E appliance and you can even designate volumes as WORM drives.

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