Xserve RAID Is Dead, Apple Promises New Solution

In a stealth move after announcing their new Xsan 2 software, Apple has killed their Xserve RAID as if it were a vulgar HD DVD player. After years of promoting their solution as the best in its class for pro environments, Apple's Xserve RAID page has been eliminated completely and now redirects to a new page which presents the Promise's Vtrak E-Class RAID subsystem. Apple gave us an explanation about why Xserve RAID has been canceled and what to expect from now on:

Promise's VTrak E-Class RAID delivers a great combination of performance, features and value. When configured with Xsan 2 and Final Cut Studio 2, it can deliver up to 6 streams of 8-bit uncompressed high definition video, 22 streams of ProRes HQ compressed HD video and 26 streams of 8-bit uncompressed SD video at costs as low as $1.12 per GB.

"Xserve RAID is still available while supplies last and we will continue to sell the 500 and 750GB drive modules," said Apple's Anuj Nayar, "for new RAID purchases we recommend the Promise VTrack E-Class subsystem." However, if you try to buy an Xserve RAID in the Apple Store, you will be greeted with this message:

The item you have selected is currently not available from the Apple Store.

Please note that Apple cannot guarantee availability of any product.

So those purchases are probably limited only to resellers. There's not mention of Xserve RAID demise in Apple press release about the latest version of its Storage Area Network filesystem manager, which now allows for a single workstation to access multiple SANs at the same time. It is also "qualified to work with third-party RAID storage," just like the Promise RAID system.

Apple Introduces Xsan 2

CUPERTINO, California—February 19, 2008—Apple® today 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 Apple's legendary 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 than ever to set up and manage a SAN file system. Xsan 2 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 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 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® (www.apple.com) 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. 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.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.

[New storage RAIDThanks Jacob]