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Pillar Axiom 600 Gets a Brute Force Performance Boost

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Pillar Axiom 600 Gets a Brute Force Performance Boost

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Pillar Data, a start-up supported by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, says that it has once again boosted the performance of it's Axiom 600 disk array.  The new Series 2 controllers are speedier and backward compatible with Series 1.  The Axiom 600 has iSCSI and Fiber Channel block storage along with controller configuration options for network-attached storage (NAS). It provides different qualities of storage service to specific applications and uses up to 80% storage.

Axiom 600 is comprised of three hardware elements.  The first is the Pilot policy controller, which is the management interface.  Another is the storage controllers, called "Slammers" by Pillar, that transfer data and control the arrays.  As part of the upgrade, Slammers have moved from dual-core to quad-core Opteron processors, and as a result the cache has grown from 96GB to 192GB.  Finally, "Bricks" are the individual storage controllers.  Each controller has 13 drives and 12 hot spares along with its own pair of embedded RAID controllers.  The new Bricks support  7200rpm 2TB drives - up from 5400rpm drives.  The brute force approach has added a 50% performance boost to Axiom 600.

Here is a comparison chart that Pillar made between Axiom and it's competitors



The 50% increase in IOPS is accompanied by a 30% improvement in backend performance.  The backend now supports 4Gbps Fiber channels along with 2Gbps channels.  Series 2 controllers can be racked alongside Series 1 hardware to pool storage resources.  However, the lowest common denominator on the rack will determine the performance.  Series 2 controllers would revert to 2Gbps.  Axiom 600 Series 2 is listed at $37,500, which is the original price of Series 1.  Series 1 has now gone down to 29,500.

More features could be on the way for Pillar's Axiom line.  This is indicated by the 700,000 extra lines of code on the Axiom ONE v4.0 software compared to version 3.0.  That amount of extra code is overkill if they just needed to accommodate new Slammer hardware.  A Pillar blog hints at the addition of automated tiering of data at the sub-LUN level across various storage tiers.  The tiering would also allow movement from SSD to SATA drives.  Two other ways to move data suggested in the blog would be by policy (scheduled) and sysadmin (signaled) commands.

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