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Xserve RAID replaced by third party solution

Today has been a day of good news and bad news. The good news is that Xsan 2 was released and it looks GREAT, and the bad news is that Apple has now discontinued the Xserve RAID. It's bad news but it's bad news with a decent solution.

There was no official statement from Apple but the old Xserve RAID page now points to the Promise VTrak E-Class RAID Subsystem. It's a shame as I love our Xserve RAIDs (we have three), even though they do put out a lot of heat and noise.

I can see why Apple did it, as the price and complexity did not help sales, and endorsing an established third party is cheaper and easier. The Xserve RAIDs were in need of a update, so it is refreshing to read the specs on this machine:

Xserve RAIDPromise V-Track
Fibre Channel Port Speed2 GB4 GB
Fibre Ports per Controller12
Max number of drives1416
Max drive size750 GB750 GB
Max storage10.5 TB12 TB (24 TB with expansion module)
Drive typeUltra ATASATA / SAS
Controller cache512 MB2 GB
On-drive cache8 MB16 MB
Redundant controllersNoYes
ExpansionNoneExpansion chassis adds 16 extra drives
Rack size3U3U

See more specs here.

Pricing Comparison

6 TB: $11,999.95
Cost per GB (1/1024 TB): $1.96

Xserve RAID:
1 TB: $5999
Cost per GB: $5.86

12 TB: $14,999.95
Cost per GB: $1.22

Xserve RAID:
3.5 TB: $8199
Cost per GB: $2.29

24 TB (12 TB + 12 TB expansion): $26,999.90
Cost per GB: $1.10

Xserve RAID:
10.5 TB: $13,799
Cost per GB: $1.28

Other Promise Configurations
4.8 TB SAS storage: $18,999.95
12 TB expansion chassis: $11,999.95
4.8 TB SAS expansion chassis: $15,999.95

This is without a doubt much better value for money than the Xserve RAID but the high initial cost will put a lot of people off, I would imagine. I think I am going to take advantage of cheap Xserve RAID units and get the maximum possible performance out of our existing units before shelling out for these.

I have spoken to a few people that own Promise RAIDs and they say they are very satisfied with them, so my mind is at rest on that front.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Feb 19 2008 to Apple, Hardware, Analysis