Reldata IP Storage Gateway 9200

Price
£15,300

When we first looked at Reldata's IP Storage Gateway 9200 at the beginning of the year we were impressed with its ability to free up users from being locked into one hardware vendor for disk arrays.

By providing a head unit with Fibre Channel, SCSI and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity it allows you to add storage arrays of your choice and present them to the network as NAS shared storage and iSCSI targets. Reldata has made a number of improvements to this solution since then so here we take a second peek to see what's new.

Hardware has seen some improvements as memory has been doubled to 2GB and the original 460W hot-plug power supplies have been replaced with 600W models. The PCI-e slots are now gainfully employed as the 9200 includes a pair of dual-port Gigabit cards as opposed to one PCI-X card and all four ports can be joined together in a virtual connection as load balanced and failover teams.

Management is handled by a Java-based remote console and it was disappointing to see no significant improvement to this. It is easy enough to use but it does reveal its Linux kernel too often for our liking making some functions such as NAS file share creation more complex that need be. File system security has been improved as this latest version of the Linux OS now supports ACLs (access control lists). These can be applied to the local user database or you can use NT domain authentication, AD, NIS and Samba domains and decide on read only, read/write and execute privileges on the file systems.

Reldata has now been promoting its data protection features more vigorously and it's no surprise as there's a lot on offer. Along with disk arrays you can attach Fibre Channel and SCSI tape drives and libraries to the appliance and present them as iSCSI targets. They can also be declared as physical devices where the appliance provides support for NDMP for direct disk to tape backup. Snapshot performance has been improved as Reldata has ditched the standard Linux snapshot function and replaced it with its own proprietary solution which uses one copy-on-first-write table for all snapshots so performance is only hit on the initial one but not on subsequent snapshots.

A second appliance can be used for remote mirroring where it presents an iSCSI target to the primary appliance which it uses to create a copy of the selected volume. It's also possible to mirror a volume to multiple destinations. Reldata's replication technology operates at the block level and takes a full copy of the source volume but thereafter only copies any modified blocks. The appliance also takes advantage of the standard Linux Rsync utility to provide replication at the file and folder level. Sensibly, Reldata has integrated the complex command line into the management interface making it more accessible.

Reldata is offering a very cost-effective alternative for building an IP SAN and delivering NAS services that allows you to pick your own storage hardware and revitalise legacy equipment. There's still room to improve the management interface but data protection options are very good and there have been a number of significant improvements that make the 9200 even more versatile.

Verdict

Reldata lets you choose you own storage hardware for IP SAN and NAS services and delivers plenty of new and useful features backed up with quality data protection tools

2U rack mount chassis Supermicro X6DH8-G motherboard Intel E7520 chipset Dual 3GHz Xeon 2GB SDRAM Adaptec AIC-7902 dual channel Ultra320 SCSI 2 x embedded Intel Gigabit Ethernet 2 x Silicom dual port Gigabit PCI-e QLogic QLA 2342L dual port PCI-X FC HBA 256MB CompactFlash on IDE interface 2 x hot-plug 600W power supplies Linux kernel Supports CIFS/SMB, NFS, iSCSI Web browser management.

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