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BlueArc's Titan 1100 Targets Cost-Conscious

By Kevin Davies
Newest model cuts cost for smaller customers.

Dec. 17, 2007 | Although BlueArc continues to "double down" and push the performance of its data storage devices, the company hopes its latest model, the Titan 1100, will appeal to an entirely new customer base.

"For those customers who are absolutely price sensitive, and need to get in around say $75K, instead of $100K, we have an answer," says Louis Gray, BlueArc's director of corporate marketing.

San Jose-based BlueArc, which recently filed for an initial public offering, currently has a customer base of more than 225 clients, of which about 30-50 are in the life science/higher education field. Among its notable life science clients are the Washington University of St. Louis genome sequencing center, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the U.K. Cray is a supercomputing partner with BlueArc.

Introduced in 2006, the Titan series exists in three formats - 2100, 2200 and 2500. The architecture of the new Titan 1100 model is "fundamentally unique, it's patented, [and] designed for very intense high-end computing," says Jon Affeld, senior director of product marketing and business development.

"To bring that down to the midrange is actually very straightforward, it's a matter of cost reduction," Affeld says. Those cost reductions come chiefly from the removal of two Ethernet ports (four instead of six) and a reduction in processing power and memory. What the 1100 does offer is support for two-node clustering and capacity of up to 128 terabytes.

Affeld explains that BlueArc is taking the same software, data management, and virtualization features from its high-range systems and deploying them on the midrange 1100 product. The goal is to open up new markets, particularly smaller biotech companies, university departments, and research centers.

"I think the 1100 will be very popular in the universities that are doing research," says Affeld. "You can start with the 1100, it's a very powerful, capable system. But what if you were wrong in terms of sizing it? It's very elegant to upgrade." Indeed, upgrading from an 1100 to a 2500 is made possible by the common software feature set and modular design. Physically substituting new blades make for a relatively simple upgrade process.

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