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LSI Syncro Architecture @ LSI AIS 2012
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LSI Syncro Architecture @ LSI AIS 2012

by Sam ChenNovember 16, 2012

Among other products from a multitude of vendors, one of the major highlights at LSI’s AIS 2012 conference is the introduction of the LSI’s own Syncro architecture, which alongside LSI’s Nytro and MegaRAID products will make up LSI’s three major storage brands. Whereas products from the Nytro line focused on performance, Syncro’s main concern is to lower the cost of high availability. As such, the Syncro architecture is targeted at the entire range between the large datacenter market as well as the small business.

In order to achieve this goal, LSI is introducing two new products – Syncro CS and Syncro MX. While both serve different target markets, they both fit the goal of giving businesses easier and/or more cost effective access to high availability.

Syncro CS

One of the new products on display here is Syncro CS, which is simply HA-DAS (High Availability Direct Attached Storage) except with a new and improved name. In terms of hardware, the Syncro CS kit will include two LSI RoC’s (with special Syncro firmware, of course), each being able to connect to their own DAS. This setup will allow for shared storage as well as seamless failover in the event of disk failure, server maintenance, etc. What’s very interesting about Syncro CS is the fact that it’s simply a drop in product that runs off MegaRAID software, so it’ll be very easy to deploy and very easy to use as well, especially those who are familiar with LSI RoC products.

I’m told that the product is ready at this time, but LSI is finalizing the product and it should be available in Q1 2013 with a retail price of around $5000 for the kit. This product is aimed at smaller businesses who need a high availability solution, but may not necessarily have the budget nor the expertise to deploy a high availability server cluster.

Syncro MX

The second new product LSI is extremely excited about is Syncro MX, which is an entire boot device aimed at the mega datacenter. Because of the high availability nature of these datacenters as well as the need to save on cost, these datacenters generally use the lowest cost 2.5″ notebook hard drive for each of these servers. The problem with this is that cheap hard drives tend to fail and while this isn’t a huge problem when you only have one or two servers, when you’re looking at a datacenter with 100,000 servers, you’re looking at around 100 failed drives per week! (2.5″ notebook hard drive, ~3 year lifespan, ~15% failure rate)

Traditionally, the mega datacenter utilizes racks and racks of servers with approximately 70% servers being storage poor nodes (web servers, database servers, etc.), which generally require fewer than 40GB of storage and are only utilized from time to time for small log files and other maintenance operations. With the new Syncro MX boot device, LSI is basically consolidating the boot drives for 24-48 of these servers into a single mirrored array, which will give each server a nice 40GB chunk of virtual disk space. By consolidating all these drives into a single larger mirrored drive, we can essentially get lowered cost and better redundancy, which according to LSI will save mega datacenters 40%-60% of their storage costs.

On display was a Syncro MX boot device paired with a couple 1TB hard drives in a mirrored configuration.

Connectivity is provided via eSATA breakout cables, which then interface with an adapter which is then directly interfaced with each server’s onboard SATA ports.

The Syncro MX boot device is expected to be available at the end of the month will pricing based on a per customer basis.

For more information, be sure to check out the full press release after the jump!

Press Release

LSI® SyncroTMArchitecture Establishes New Sharable, Scalable Storagewith Benefits for Small Businesses to Mega-Datacenters

Takes DAS out of the box with advanced capabilities built on MegaRAID® technology, the world’s No. 1 selling data protection layer 

LSI Corporation today introduced Syncro,a new and innovative storage architecture designed to deliver unprecedented storage sharing and scaling capabilities for multi-server solutions. The Syncro architecture takes direct-attached storage(DAS)out of the box and builds advanced storage-sharing capabilities on top of industry-proven MegaRAID technology, enabling business benefits including reduced cost, power and failure rates, while improving storage utilization and application uptime.

Today’s data center architects and managers face enormous challenges managing massive data growth, increased cost and power consumption,while grappling with issues including reliability, downtime and data loss. By bridging the gap between DAS single-server storage and traditional external storage with a new storage architecture that brings sharing and scaling capabilities to multi-server environments, the Syncro architecture intelligently solves these challenges.

The Syncro architecture offers benefits for a range of next-generation datacenter environments including SME, enterprise, mega-datacenter and cloud. The Syncro architecture will extend to Syncro CS and Syncro MX product families.

Syncro CS:

  • Delivers enterprise capabilities and redundant, shared-node storage to DAS environments, offering solutions that are simple, easytomanage and cost-effective.
  • Provide SMEs and remote, departmental and branch offices with increased application availability and uptime without the complexity and costs of traditional high-availability storage solutions.

Syncro MX:

  • Targets large cloud and mega-datacenters with server solutions focused on reducing costs and increasing reliability.
  • Simplifies datacenter management by reducing complexity and storage rebuilds

“The Syncro architecture is the result of customer requests to increase data protection across multiple server and storage systems by enabling levels of enterprise-class availability and flexibility never before offered for DAS,” said Bill Wuertz, senior vice president and general manager, RAID Storage Division, LSI. “The new Syncro architecture and product family demonstrateLSI’s long, proven commitment to delivering the most innovative and productive solutions for next-generation server and storage systems.”

“As information consumption continues its exponential growth, businesses of all sizes need scalable storage solutions that can deliver increased efficiency and uptime while meeting goals for lower cost and power consumption,” said Dave Reinsel, group vice president at IDC. “Intelligent storage solutions that can address these critical areas, like the LSI Syncro architecture, are invaluable for businesses and IT departments as they design and rearchitect their datacenters to deal with massive data growth.”

The Syncro architecture will serve as the foundationfora series of new products to be introduced over several yearsdesigned to solve challenges in many applications and verticals. The first member of the Syncro product family, the Syncro MX-B Boot Appliance, is currently available to manufacturers. Other products inthe Syncro product family are expected to shipduringthe first half of 2013.

About The Author
Sam Chen
Hardware and Technology Enthusiast. SSD Evangelist. Editor-in-Chief. You can find Sam's full biography here