6 weeks ago StorageMojo covered the leaving-stealth-mode non-announce of Atrato’s new storage box. I spoke to Dan McCormick, Atrato’s co-founder and CEO a few days ago for an update.

They’ll have more details at SNW. But here’s what I found interesting.

Density and capacity
The new Atrato box is 3U, not 5, and has about 200 2.5″ drives, for 50 TB raw. With the new 500 GB 2.5s coming out they’ll be able to do 100 TB.

That blows away the density of EMC’s soon-to-be-announced Hulk box. And with the declining delta between 3.5″ and 2.5″ drive capacities, the Atrato box should increase their capacity per rack unit lead.

In a refreshing change from normal industry practice Atrato quotes IOPS to disk, not cache. Thus their quoted 10,000 IOPS is a real-life number. Dan said that one user got up to 20,000 IOPS after tuning their app.

Apps with big files and large I/Os need disk I/Os, not cache I/Os. Most controllers turn off cache when they see large I/Os anyway. Quoting cache IOPS to their market would be a mistake.

Atrato claims an 80% reduction in power per I/O. 80% of that is due to the power efficiency of 2.5″ drives. The remaining third though is their own special sauce.

Virtual drive hospital
When a drive starts acting up – and with 200 drives that doesn’t take very long – their software “pulls” the drive and tests it. If the drive is failing they leave it alone, but Atrato has found that over half the problem drives can be put back into service.

The StorageMojo take
Still cool. An interesting metric will be uptake into space and power constrained enterprise data centers. If power really is an issue – and while I’m sure it is at some level, the priority is the question – I’d expect to see all the big NYC data centers testing these things within 90 days.

Comments welcome, of course. Dan also commented that StorageMojo’s original Atrato post was the best researched and most insightful of all the reportage they saw. Flattery works.