Nearline Storage

Data storage solutions have traditionally been segmented into how stored data is used. This continues today even as new computing paradigms like cloud computing and virtualization are adopted into daily use. Stored data can generally be classified into three categories:

  • Data that is used frequently and available immediately with very low latency. This data is stored in online storage which uses flash memory, solid-state drives, and hard drives that spin continuously.
  • Data that is used infrequently and is not available immediately but can be made available quickly — typically within several seconds — without human intervention. This data is stored in nearline storage which uses media such as optical disks and spin-down hard drives like MAID (Massive Array of Idle Disks) implementations.
  • Data that is very rarely used and only available after a long wait time often with human intervention during retrieval of the data. This data is stored in offline storage which uses removable media like tape cartridges and USB memory sticks.

As the quantity of data processed by enterprises experience huge growth, enterprises must cope with increased nearline workloads and increase investment in solutions for nearline storage.

Scope of Nearline Storage

Data storage requirements from large to small enterprises increasingly include specifications for storing large amounts of data that are not mission-critical or not required to be instantaneously available. Large volumes of data are generated by enterprises that need to be stored in an inexpensive and scalable way such as in data warehouses. This data includes legal and regulatory data as well as data warehoused for analytics applications. Nearline storage solutions are ideal for data fitting this profile due to their trade-off of slightly higher latencies for lower storage costs as compared to more expensive online storage solutions.

Nearline data storage is also used commonly for data archival, online backup, and disaster recovery. The nearline solutions for these scenarios can be implemented through network storage such as a storage area network. In disaster recovery scenarios, recovery time is key for business continuity, and nearline storage provides much lower latency and higher availability to data than offline storage.

Best-in-Class Nearline Storage Servers from Thinkmate

Thinkmate offers a comprehensive range of storage servers for nearline data storage. Our rack mounted STX-NL range of nearline storage servers are available in 1U through 4U chassis sizes and support single, dual, or quad Intel® Xeon® or AMD Opteron™ CPUs. Each server can be configured with 7,200 RPM and 10,000 RPM hard drives with capacities up to 8TB. Solid-state drives of up to 800GB capacity are also available. All drives use a SATA/SAS 6Gb/s or SAS 12Gb/s interface. STX-NL servers in the 4U size offer the largest number of hot-swappable drive bays accommodating up to seventy-two 2.5” drives or thirty-six 3.5” drives.

Thinkmate also offers JBOD storage expansion units to complement its nearline storage servers. Thinkmate JBOD storage units are available in rack mountable 2U through 4U sizes. The 4U JBOD storage units offer the most number of hot-swappable drive bays with capacity for up to ninety 3.5” drives.

Thinkmate’s website provides an easy way to configure a nearline data storage solution. If custom storage solutions are required that cannot be put together through the website, Thinkmate’s in-house engineers and expert configurators are available to help.


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