Silicon Mechanics, a member of the Seagate Cloud Builder Alliance, recently announced that it willshowcase how its products and services can specifically benefit educational institutions. Its demonstration will take place at the EDUCAUSE conference in mid October 2013 and will feature the company’s cutting-edge zStax StorCore appliance for software-defined cloud storage.

The zStax StorCore appliance uses standard hardware, and it is based on the open source ZFS file system and volume manager and the NexentaStor platform from fellow Seagate Cloud Builder Alliance member Nexenta Systems. Compared to legacy systems, zStax is more cost-effective, featuring data replication for disaster recovery at no extra cost, alongside a tiered storage arrangement that can handle large volumes of data.

In early 2013, e-discovery firm Global Legal stated that using zStax had dramatically lowered its total cost of ownership by reliably processing over 200 TB of company data. Silicon Mechanics is now focused on bringing similar benefits to the higher education sector.

“EDUCAUSE is a great venue to showcase Silicon Mechanics’ strong offerings in cost-effective storage and our support for state-of-the-art computing in higher education and research,” stated Art Mann, group manager for education, research and government verticals at Silicon Mechanics. “We have the expertise and broad product line to meet a wide range of customer needs.”

By using software-defined storage, Silicon Mechanics has been able to adhere to open hardware standards, decoupling the typical pairing of legacy management software and proprietary appliances. In an article for Network Computing, Howard Marks highlighted the savings that can be obtained through software-defined storage, which empowers companies to move away from enterprise storage arrays and FAS in favor of less expensive SATA disks. The latter are easily inserted into a server drive slots and can improve boot times.

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