Editorial Type: Review Date: 03-2018 Views: 1,514 Tags: Storage PDF Version:
QSAN's next generation XCubeSAN systems bring the price of all-Flash storage down to an all-time low, making high performing arrays a reality for budget conscious SMBs and enterprises

On review we have the XS5226D and with a starting price of £6,999, it looks to have achieved QSAN's cost targets admirably.

This 2U chassis has room for 26 SFF drives and the price includes dual controllers. End-to-end hardware redundancy is provided as they run in active/active mode and the array has dual hot-plug fan and 770W power supply modules.

Each controller has a quad-core Xeon D-1500 CPU plus 8GB of DDR4 cache expandable to 128GB. QSAN offers two cache-to flash backup options where their M.2 flash modules have a fast-charging supercapacitor for up to 16GB or a battery backup pack for protecting all memory.

Port choices look good as along with embedded Gigabit management and dual 10GBase-T data ports, each controller has two expansion slots. QSAN offers plenty of choices with quad-port 16Gbps FC, 10GbE SFP+ and Gigabit modules available.

Note that the second slot has a maximum bandwidth of 20Gbps. It will support the quad 10GbE and Gigabit port modules but QSAN also has a dual-port 16Gbps FC card for this.

Expansion potential is mighty as the controllers have dual embedded 12Gbps mini-SAS ports. Using QSAN's XD5300 disk shelves, you can daisy-chain up to ten over dual-redundant links for a maximum of 286 drives.

This classy hardware package delivers an impressive performance with QSAN claiming top sequential read and write speeds of 12,000MB/sec and 8,000MB/sec. The appliance also delivers up to 1.5 million IOPS - an increase of 400,000 IOPS over QSAN's entry-level XS3200 models.

Deployment is a snap as QSAN's QFinder app discovered our array on the lab network and provided direct access to its web interface. Storage provisioning is simple as we placed selected drives in pools and chose from eleven RAID array types.

During pool creation, you can select thick or thin provisioning. Volumes are created within pools where we entered a size and set them for data storage or as backup targets for volume cloning and replication operations.

The simple web interface provides swift access to all features. We quickly provisioned storage and mapped iSCSI LUNs to the data ports where our Windows Server systems were connected over MPIO links across both controllers.

QSAN handled our failover test like a dream: after pulling out the second controller to simulate a failure, we watched our Iometer throughput tests continue unabated, albeit at the speed of a single 10GbE link. After plugging the controller back in, the array resurrected full redundancy in less than 2 minutes after which we watched the Iometer tests ramp back up to top speed.

Optional features in the SANOS 4 firmware include QTiering. This provides automated data tiering using up to three tiers comprising SSD, SAS and NL-SAS drives where data is moved across them based on usage.

SSD caching via QCache is also available as an option and supports read and read/write cache capacities of up to 32TB. SATA drives are supported but you'll need to fit QSAN's optional MUX interposer boards in each drive carrier.

Volume snapshots are a standard feature and support up to 4,096 per system. They're easy to manage and can be run on-demand or scheduled for 15-minute, hourly, daily, weekly and monthly intervals.

Product: XCubeSAN XS5226D
Supplier: QSAN Technology
Sales: sales@qsan.com
Web site: www.qsan.com
Price: Diskless/dual controllers - £6,999 ex VAT

Verdict: QSAN's XCubeSAN XS5226D array offers an impressive range of storage features and performance at a price that will appeal to SMBs and enterprises alike. It's easy to deploy while its active/active architecture and faultless failover services make it a great choice for hosting mission-critical storage.