BlueArc Group Titan 3200

The Titan justifies a stiff price tag with stellar performance, top-notch scalability, advanced storage management features, and a smooth admin GUI

BlueArc Group Titan 3200
  • BlueArc Group Titan 3200
  • BlueArc Group Titan 3200
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Management tools, performance, scalability

Cons

  • Adding an existing folder to CNS is a disruptive action, expensive

Bottom Line

Combining exceptional scalability, stellar performance, powerful storage applications, and management tools that make even the most complex tasks seem easy, the BlueArc Titan 3000 sums up the best of what you can expect in a file serving system. The Titan is a good fit for demanding environments, where its scalability and admin-friendly features can offset a somewhat challenging price.

Would you buy this?

[Note: pricing for this product is in $US.]

We don’t have Olympic Games for file server systems but the SPEC SFS (System File Server) benchmark serves as the next best thing, providing a comparable rank of file server performance. If you sifted through all of the SPEC SFS results published to the SPEC Web site, you'd find that the fastest NAS systems are from NetApp, BlueArc, and EMC, who take what in Beijing would have been a gold, a silver, and a bronze medal, in that order.

Like Olympic records, SPEC results tend to change over time. In fact the current top 10 list, which reflects results as of June 18, 2008, looks quite different from a SPEC SFS results snapshot I took about two years ago.

Other differences aside, one important fact I want to highlight is that the new BlueArc Titan 3200, which the vendor announced in March, shows significantly improved performance over previous models, and puts the Titan 3210 Cluster into second place for number of operations per second, surpassed only by the NetApp Data Ontap GX.

With the Titan 3000, BlueArc claims to have doubled the theoretical performance of its systems, a claim the company has maintained at each major release. Combined with a full set of storage applications including snapshots, replication, mirroring, and WORM (write once read many) capability, to give only a short list, the amazing performance trajectory provided enough incentive for me to review the system.

I conducted the review at the BlueArc Customers Training Lab in San Jose, where BlueArc had prepared a redundant test bed with two Titan 3210 servers connected via FC (Fibre Channel) to a SATA storage array with 90 drives and a second array with 128 FC drives. A separate machine ran the BlueArc management software.

Network, storage, and file system modules

The Titan 3210 has a modular hardware architecture with four blades mounted horizontally, each providing specialized functionality. For example, the NIM (Network Interface Module) blade hosts six GbE or two 10G Ethernet ports and controls connectivity to the application server side of the storage network.

For storage connectivity, the Titan 3210 mounts a SIM (Storage Interface Module) with eight FC ports. Each of the remaining two slots of the unit hosts a FSM (File System Module), which manages protocols such as CIFS, NFS, and iSCSI.

While more primitive NAS solutions run on beefed up servers and queue up parallel tasks on general purpose processors, each module in the Titan 3210 has built-in ASICs programmed to execute in parallel. Multiple dedicated chips on the NIM handle IP, TCP, and UDP, speeding up processing of multiple tasks in parallel. Similarly, the FSM takes advantage of ASICs to expedite the processing of file operations.

Other performance-enhancing features include battery-backed NVRAM (Non-Volatile RAM) and, in clustered configurations, an optional Dynamic Read Caching feature. Dynamic Read Caching expedites read access to selected files while maintaining a consistent cache across as many as four nodes.

How far can you push a Titan 3200? According to BlueArc's specs, the system can scale as much as 4 petabytes of storage, with each file system ranging up to 256TB. Performance rates are on the order of 1600 megabytes per second and as high as 380,000 I/O operations per second.

Getting to know the beast

Perhaps even more impressive than those hardware specs is the Titan's software architecture, which is easy to navigate from its browser-based management GUI. The Titan organizes storage in file systems, storage pools, and system disks. Each system disk contains a number of physical disk drives and assigns properties such as RAID level and the granularity of each storage fragment.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?