Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hardware Advisory - Replace your Xserve RAID's Immediately

When they were introduced a few years ago, the Apple Xserve RAID was a breakthrough in RAID price and performance. Most other RAID products of the time were significantly more expensive and nothing else even came close to the level of performance offered to Apple users.

Fast forward to today. Untold thousands of Apple Xserve RAID's have been deployed and are in use across the world today. And many facilities still rely on these machines to safely store their critical data and archives.

Its our opinion these devices should be replaced as soon as possible.

One of the most important aspects of using any RAID device is the ability to replace a failed hard drive and restore a RAID 5 volume to full status. You can lose one hard drive in a RAID 5 and have a degraded volume, but if you lose another you have lost all your data. It is not recoverable.

Our recent checks have determined there are no further Apple Drive Modules being manufactured. Further, there are essentially zero remaining drives available as "stock" within the distribution channel (meaning there are none sitting "on a shelf" which can be overnighted to clients...)

Additionally, anecdotal checks have also determined that stocks of Apple Drive Modules available for warranty replacement via AppleCare are fully depleted. If you have an Xserve RAID covered under an AppleCare agreement, there is no guarantee that you can get a replacement drive if you have a failure.

We've talked to a few clients that are still relying heavily on Xserve RAID's and have stocked up on Apple Drive Modules over the last year in order to extend the life of their direct-attached and Xsan-based systems. However, if you don't have multiple spare drives on hand, there will come a time when your drives will begin to fail and you won't have an option for data recovery.

One of our contacts has indicated they have seen failure rates of one drive per week in some of their oldest Xserve RAID systems. These folks are actively looking to migrate to a new storage platform.

What are the best options for replacing these older systems?

We really like the new Active Storage XRAID™ and XRAID™ ES platform. We've highlighted the XRAID platform before, but the XRAID ES is a new product recently released and it has some very compelling features.

The XRAID™ ES is available in 4TB and 16TB configurations, with the 16TB configuration offering $ .67 cents per GB cost. This new, affordable, high-performance storage solution is ideal for business-critical, science, and education use in Apple-based infrastructures, and complements Active’s existing product line with a really low entry cost with future expandability.

The new Active Storage XRAID™ ES employs the same level of per-port performance, reliability and ease of management (using the native Mac OS X storage management suite found in the original Active Storage XRAID™), yet offers a lower-cost configuration taking advantage of a single high-throughput RAID controller and business-class hard drives with smaller read/write cache.

Performance of the Active Storage XRAID™ ES is also impressive — offering up to 744MB/s in a RAID 5 configuration. The Active Storage XRAID™ ES provides redundant power, triple-redundant cooling and redundant Fibre Channel connections and is managed using the same powerful, yet easy to use management tools of the original Active Storage XRAID™. The ES differs from the original Active Storage XRAID™ by utilizing a single high throughput RAID controller and business-class hard drives using a smaller cache size. These changes result in a very cost-effective and robust RAID solution ideal for business-class applications starting at a ground-breaking $6,999 US MSRP.

The Active Storage XRAID™ ES is also available in 16TB configuration providing unmatched value at $9,999 US MSRP.

You can get Active Storage XRAID™ and XRAID™ ES products at Silverado's store here:

Active Storage XRAID™ and XRAID™ ES at Silverado [LINK]


Anonymous said...

do you know if the old and/or new systems are OEMs from Promise Raid? I thought the old ones were Promise.

om_nick said...

Don't throw your Xserve RAIDs away!

There are organisations planning to use there old Xserve RAID tin to create a secure, reliable disk based archive.

MatrixStore software adds reliability, scalability and data availability to tin like this.

For more info: