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Apple Introduces Xsan 2

post #1 of 59
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Alongside a refresh to its iPod shuffle music player line, Apple on Tuesday also introduced Xsan 2, the first major upgrade to its easy to use, high performance, enterprise class Storage Area Network (SAN) file system for Mac OS X.

Combining enhanced performance with ease of use, Xsan 2 makes it easier for first time users to set up and quickly deploy a SAN; introduces MultiSAN, allowing users on a single workstation to access multiple SANs at the same time; is fully integrated with Mac OS X Leopard and Mac OS X Server Leopard and is now qualified to work with third-party RAID storage.

Administration tools have been completely redesigned in Xsan 2, making it easier to set up and manage a SAN file system. The software intelligently handles different data types, file sizes and usage scenarios for ideal performance.

For example, administrators have the ability to pre-set volume workload settings for optimal streaming of all file types, from very large files, such as uncompressed HD video to small data center files. Xsan 2 includes a new feature, MultiSAN, for users who need to access multiple Xsan volumes from the same workstation or server, such as in newsrooms with separate SAN volumes for production and broadcast.

Xsan 2 is fully integrated with Mac OS X Leopard and takes complete advantage of core Mac OS X features, such as Spotlight to search across multiple SAN volumes. Xsan 2 also works seamlessly with Server Assistant in Leopard Server for easy setup and configuration of SAN volumes. Leopard Server features, such as iCal Server, Mail Server and Podcast Producer, can also now integrate with Xsan 2 to support clustered file systems, improving performance and scalability and reducing the impact of a service outage from the loss of any one server.



For the first time, Xsan 2 has also been qualified with third-party RAID storage hardware. Along with Apple’s Xserve RAID, Xsan 2 supports third-party RAID solutions from Promise Technology in configurations tuned and optimized for Xsan, Mac OS X Server and Apple’s professional applications.

Pricing & Availability

Xsan 2 is available immediately through the Apple Store and through Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $999 (US) per node.

Apple has qualified Xsan 2 with Xserve, Mac Pro and Apple Fibre Channel PCI-X cards. The software requires Mac OS X version 10.5 or Mac OS X Server version 10.5 software installed and will support qualified Fibre Channel switches from vendors such as Brocade, QLogic and Cisco, and RAID storage hardware including Xserve RAID and Promise VTrak E-Class RAID subsystems.
post #2 of 59
I think the story that's being missed here is that Apple seems to have discontinued the Xserve RAID. All their pages referring to the product now link to information on the aforementioned Promise 3rd party RAID hardware. Strange move as far as I can tell as I think Apple was recently gaining some traction in the enterprise market, or so I'd heard.
post #3 of 59
Xserve raid seems to have dropped off the apple store?
post #4 of 59
Apple's Press Release

"Apple has qualified Xsan 2 with Xserve, Mac® Pro and Apple Fibre Channel PCI-X cards. Xsan 2 requires Mac OS X version 10.5 or Mac OS X Server version 10.5 software installed and will support qualified Fibre Channel switches from vendors such as Brocade, QLogic and Cisco, and RAID storage hardware including Xserve RAID and Promise VTrak E-Class RAID subsystems." http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2008/02/19xsan.html

It doesn't say that XServe Raid has been discontinued. But it wouldn't surprise me that it is permanently discontinued or that a new version is in the offering. Apple's introduction of it new storage system, i.e., Time Capsule, suggests that more is to come. Realizing a major difference, you never know exactly what is in the works. Perhaps even a blu-ray raid, aka, iRaid.
post #5 of 59
I like that blue version of the leopard background more than the current purple one.
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post #6 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by gresmi View Post

I think the story that's being missed here is that Apple seems to have discontinued the Xserve RAID. All their pages referring to the product now link to information on the aforementioned Promise 3rd party RAID hardware. Strange move as far as I can tell as I think Apple was recently gaining some traction in the enterprise market, or so I'd heard.

Wow, you're right! That's a huge story. Where's the headline AI? The Apple store links to a Promise RAID device instead of the Xserve RAID.
post #7 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

Wow, you're right! That's a huge story. Where's the headline AI? The Apple store links to a Promise RAID device instead of the Xserve RAID.

I noticed this right away as well. Very strange move indeed.
post #8 of 59
This move will indeed anger many XRaid customers, especially if Apple decides to stop updating the firmware to handle larger drives (ATA or SATA).

This is one example of why many IT professionals avoid Apple, Apple has a solid history in dropping technology overnight leaving their customers stranded with no where to go.

Hopefully that wont be the case anymore, but still... actions like this sends chills down my spine.
post #9 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by suhail View Post

This move will indeed anger many XRaid customers, especially if Apple decides to stop updating the firmware to handle larger drives (ATA or SATA).

This is one example of why many IT professionals avoid Apple, Apple has a solid history in dropping technology overnight leaving their customers stranded with no where to go.

Hopefully that wont be the case anymore, but still... actions like this sends chills down my spine.

Not in our labs. Perhaps you could site some evidence to support your contention, i.e., that, "Apple has a solid history in dropping technology overnight leaving their customers stranded with no where to go."
post #10 of 59
The specs on the Promise Tec Inc RAIDS look pretty good though, a vast improvement on the Xserve RAID, I wonder what the deal is regarding AppleCare and service parts on these products.

Is the firmware different from the currently shipping models to cater for the Apple Xserve and Apple Fibre. The Xsere RAID's have been due an upgrade in feature set, it has only been the capacity that has slowly increased, never the controllers or architecture of the drives.

They look butt ugly though!
post #11 of 59
Wow

Xserve RAID vanishes without a peep. Apple is absolutely clueless about what high end customers need. I guess high end storage is a "hobby" too.

<scratching head> I don't get it.
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post #12 of 59
Good move by Apple..
post #13 of 59
Apple should have attempted to standardize on a drive type carrier across the Mac Pro/Xserver and Xserve RAID.

Apple is an odd company. Their level of innovation is inversely proportional when you compare the consumer axis (good) with mid-market (poor)
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post #14 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by suhail View Post

... This is one example of why many IT professionals avoid Apple...

oh, puh-LEEEEEZ! you're gonna have to do better than that. How about 'fessing up to the most common IT arguments: "Macs are toy computers..." and "nobody uses Macs."
post #15 of 59
Apple seems to be carving out their niche in consumer electronics and getting away from delusions of taking over enterprise business. Not really sure if this is a smart long term move.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #16 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Apple seems to be carving out their niche in consumer electronics and getting away from delusions of taking over enterprise business. Not really sure if this is a smart long term move.

consumers are fickle.
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post #17 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by unclepezza View Post

The specs on the Promise Tec Inc RAIDS look pretty good though, a vast improvement on the Xserve RAID, I wonder what the deal is regarding AppleCare and service parts on these products.

Best in the business. http://www.apple.com/xsan/resources/
http://www.apple.com/support/products/xsan.html

Great move Apple.
post #18 of 59
Apple's trying to bring more 3rd party enterprise vendors into their pool.

They rethink and modify their hardware strategies on a yearly basis.
post #19 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Not in our labs. Perhaps you could site some evidence to support your contention, i.e., that, "Apple has a solid history in dropping technology overnight leaving their customers stranded with no where to go."

Well let's see... In the IT arena, two things come to mind:
1- Apple UNIX Server (not OSX), disappeared into thin air with all support and updates.
2- Apple WebObjects have been greaty marginalized. It was heavily marketted in the late 90's and into early 2000's, now it only gets compatability updates.

Other things are addressing Server software issues. Permissions for example, had many shortcomings in OSX Server that took years to address. eg when propegating permissions while someone on your network happens to be saving a file crashes your server, this problem has never been fixed since the launch or OSX Server.

I hope Apple continues updating the XRAID's firmware for at-least the next 4 years. When IT departments invest in highend technology such as the XSERVE or the XRAID, they plan to keep them for at least 8 years.
post #20 of 59
Despite what some here are saying, this is not good news. Apple should not be out of this market.

I can't say why Apple left, though I surmise it's because of falling sales, but their disappearance isn't good.

They should have bought Promise, the company that makes the VTrak RAID 3U product, and stayed in the market themselves.

Many companies want keyturn systems, and that was what Apple was delivering.
post #21 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

oh, puh-LEEEEEZ! you're gonna have to do better than that. How about 'fessing up to the most common IT arguments: "Macs are toy computers..." and "nobody uses Macs."

That is true, but there are many legitimate concerns, for example many of the KVM over IP hardware is Windows and Linux accessable, it is alomost impossible to find a MULTIPORT IP-KVM that can be accessed in an OSX environment. The other is, propriatery hardware, although OSX Server is Windows friendly, to some highend applications that is not always good enough, but if you're lucky you might be able to link it via SMB. Another important concern is that many IT people are Windows and SISCO certified with some knowledge of Linux, so if your IT person leaves the company it becomes difficult to find a replacement.
post #22 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

They rethink and modify their hardware strategies on a yearly basis.

Exactly! and in the IT world this is big risk.
post #23 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

oh, puh-LEEEEEZ! you're gonna have to do better than that. How about 'fessing up to the most common IT arguments: "Macs are toy computers..." and "nobody uses Macs."

How about they are too secretive? Businesses need a five year road map of upcoming technology from a company.

Steve
post #24 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Apple's trying to bring more 3rd party enterprise vendors into their pool.

They rethink and modify their hardware strategies on a yearly basis.

Promise is an "enterprise vendor"??

I thought they made those cheap IDE and SATA RAID controllers for PC hobbyists, and had a lousy reputation?

Steve
post #25 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by suhail View Post

Well let's see... In the IT arena, two things come to mind:
1- Apple UNIX Server (not OSX), disappeared into thin air with all support and updates.
2- Apple WebObjects have been greaty marginalized. It was heavily marketted in the late 90's and into early 2000's, now it only gets compatability updates.

Other things are addressing Server software issues. Permissions for example, had many shortcomings in OSX Server that took years to address. eg when propegating permissions while someone on your network happens to be saving a file crashes your server, this problem has never been fixed since the launch or OSX Server.

I hope Apple continues updating the XRAID's firmware for at-least the next 4 years. When IT departments invest in highend technology such as the XSERVE or the XRAID, they plan to keep them for at least 8 years.

Most ludicrous examples I have ever heard.

Based on everything I have read today on Apple's XSan 2 site, I don't think that product, service or support is an issue. I would guess from this and other sources that this current strategy is well researched and constructed. Apple will shortly announce purpose of intention and for those that use these offerings, a much more robust and powerful system will or is immediately available.

How anybody could make such malicious judgements based on the meanderings of such malcontents that continually hog this site is beyond me.
post #26 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Wow

Xserve RAID vanishes without a peep. Apple is absolutely clueless about what high end customers need. I guess high end storage is a "hobby" too.

<scratching head> I don't get it.

They should have rebranded it as "iRaid: 5,000,000 movies in your closet".
post #27 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Most ludicrous examples I have ever heard.

Based on everything I have read today on Apple's XSan 2 site, I don't think that product, service or support is an issue.

Reading about the Promise RAID system, they provide the support, not Apple. So you have lost that single point of contact for SAN support. Not a good thing.

Steve
post #28 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Wow

Xserve RAID vanishes without a peep. Apple is absolutely clueless about what high end customers need. I guess high end storage is a "hobby" too.

<scratching head> I don't get it.

Maybe Apple does know what high-end customers need and that is why they stopped selling the Xserve RAID. Now that Mac OS X 10.5 is a true UNIX, Apple needs to make it easy for a business to move an Xserve into their environment.
post #29 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by demenas View Post

Reading about the Promise RAID system, they provide the support, not Apple. So you have lost that single point of contact for SAN support. Not a good thing.

Steve

Certainly would take John Welch's opinion over all the malcontents posting here. http://www.macworld.com/article/1321..._analysis.html

Besides there are excellent reasons Apple went this way. http://www.macworld.com/article/1321...8/02/raid.html

Isn't it interesting that every day, we keep getting the same bunch of complainers complaining just about everything that Apple does. Looks like the Macworld readers are a lot more open minded.
post #30 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Certainly would take John Welch's opinion over all the malcontents posting here. http://www.macworld.com/article/1321..._analysis.html

Besides there are excellent reasons Apple went this way. http://www.macworld.com/article/1321...8/02/raid.html

Isn't it interesting that every day, we keep getting the same bunch of complainers complaining just about everything that Apple does. Looks like the Macworld readers are a lot more open minded.

I don't why John Welch's opinion matters more than anyone else's. Or why you have a problem with us sharing our opinion here, but he seems to point out the complaints that were expressed here, and in fact specifically mentioned the support contract issues that I brought up with two vendors involved.

Steve
post #31 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by demenas View Post

How about they are too secretive? Businesses need a five year road map of upcoming technology from a company.

Steve

Three years.
post #32 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by demenas View Post

Promise is an "enterprise vendor"??

I thought they made those cheap IDE and SATA RAID controllers for PC hobbyists, and had a lousy reputation?

Steve

Like a number of companies, such as Cisco, Hp, and others, they make a range of equipment.
post #33 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Three years.

We're working on 6 year plans right now.

Steve
post #34 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by demenas View Post

We're working on 6 year plans right now.

Steve

No one can work a 6 year hardware plan.
post #35 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

No one can work a 6 year hardware plan.

Speak of only what you know about.

Thanks.

Steve
post #36 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by demenas View Post

Speak of only what you know about.

Thanks.

Steve

I do, and you should do the same.
post #37 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I do, and you should do the same.

I do. You have no way to know my company's operations and what we're doing.

Thank you.

Steve
post #38 of 59
Since it hasn't been asked yet, what company do you work for that needs a 5 year plan, demenas? (If you don't mind me asking. It might put this argument to a rest.)
post #39 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinix View Post

Since it hasn't been asked yet, what company do you work for that needs a 5 year plan, demenas? (If you don't mind me asking. It might put this argument to a rest.)

It's one of the largest healthcare providers in the U.S. We have 6,000 people in IT alone. I work in the Storage Engineering area, where we manage about 8,000 fibre ports and 5 or 6 petabytes of data. The 6 year plans are more short-term, there are Architectural groups working with the businesses to design their needs 15 years out.

Steve
post #40 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by demenas View Post

It's one of the largest healthcare providers in the U.S. We have 6,000 people in IT alone. I work in the Storage Engineering area, where we manage about 8,000 fibre ports and 5 or 6 petabytes of data. The 6 year plans are more short-term, there are Architectural groups working with the businesses to design their needs 15 years out.

Steve

Your absolutely right, the place you work at (and healthcare providers in general) would require long term plans like those. It makes a lot of sense, though I wish I could have guessed it. While I generally agree with Melgross on his estimate, where you work, that would matter a lot more.
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