Chris Evans’ posting about the lack of 2.5″ Enterprise Arrays got me thinking. About two years ago, I predicted that the 2.5″ form factor would make a significant entry in the enterprise space as a way to bring performance (in the form of more spindles) to the enterprise storage array world. I reiterated this in August when examining the world of enterprise hard drives. So where are these “small form factor” (SFF) arrays?
While you can already buy an amazing miniature RAID array that fits in a 5.25″ drive bay, and 2.5″ drives are seeing widespread use in blades and other compact servers, there isn’t much noise among enterprise array makers about the topic. About the only enterprise makers are Infortrend, ProStor, and HP.
Infortrend trumpeted the “world’s first external SFF array” in October, so at least they were pretty sure no one else sells one. But HP might beg to differ – their MSA70 shipped at the end of last year, supporting up to 25 SFF drives in 2U. They also apparently offer a 20-drive SFF shelf for other MSA systems, but I haven’t seen one.
Finally there’s ProStor with their cool RDX removable disk cartridges for backup. I’d love to see the TCO for these, but there are probably some enterprise users out there.
Like Chris, though, I’ve never seen these things outside a trade show. Is anyone using them? Or are we right in supposing that the weight, power, and heat issues associated with multiplying drive spindles offsets their performance advantages?