Boston Igloo 64 T-Stor review

Boston’s latest storage server delivers a huge capacity at a low price. In this exclusive review we find out what else the Boston Igloo 64 T-Stor has in store for you.

Price
£17,649

Most network storage vendors targeting the enterprise market normally prefer their customers to hand them a blank cheque book, but in these tough economic times many businesses are re-evaluating their IT budgets and looking for lower-cost alternatives.

UK-based Boston aims to offer an interesting alternative as its latest Igloo 64 T-Stor is capable of delivering a massive 72TB of raw capacity and yet is only 4U high. Count the drive bays at the front and you come to 24 but a quick glance at the back shows a further 12 hot-swap bays.

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The system is an all-Supermicro affair and its new SC847 chassis sees some lateral thinking to accommodate the extra bays. The motherboard has been shifted onto an upper platform in the top half of the chassis allowing the 2U of space underneath to be used as an extra storage bay.

The chassis supports a choice selection of Supermicro motherboards and the Igloo came fitted with an X8DTI-LN4F model. The price includes a single quad-core 2.26GHz E5520 Xeon partnered by 12GB of DDR3 memory and the system can be upgraded to dual processors and a total of 96GB of RDIMM memory.

And there's more. Not only is the Igloo powered by the latest Windows Storage Server 2008 but it's preinstalled on a mirrored pair of 64GB Intel X25-E enterprise solid state drives (SSDs) too. These are fitted in a separate internal bay and managed by the onboard Intel RAID chip so leaving all the external bays up for network storage duties.

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The main drive bays are handled by a high-end LSI MegaRAID SAS PCI-e controller and all 36 drives came preconfigured in a RAID-60 array providing 64TB of dual-drive redundant storage. Both the controller's internal ports are cabled to the fore and aft drive backplanes which incorporate SAS expanders so that it can handle them all.

Along with a choice selection of RAID types, the chassis delivers plenty of redundancy with power looked after by a pair of 1400W high-efficiency hot-plug supplies. Cooling is handled by seven internal fan modules and all are hot-swappable.

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