Fujitsu Eternus DX80 review

Fujitsu brings the latest 8Gbps FC SAN technology within the grasp of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In an exclusive review we put this Fujitsu Eternus DX80 high-speed disk array through its paces and find out if it delivers on its promises.

IT Pro Verdict

Be under no illusions, the Eternus DX80 is fast. Damned fast. This 8Gbps FC SAN array also looks good value when compared with much of the competition at this level and it offers an impressive expansion potential. However, drawbacks are the unintuitive web interface, the unhelpful documentation and the fact that a number of key features have yet to be implemented.

With each progressive speed boost for FC SANs, we've seen HBAs being announced first followed by the inevitable wait for vendors to get their act together and deliver compliant switches and storage arrays. So is the case with the new 8Gbps FC SAN technology, but Fujitsu is one of the first to market with its new Eternus DX80 disk array.

In this exclusive review we take a closer look at this high-speed storage array, which offers an interesting range of connection options. We also put it through our performance tests thanks to Brocade, which supplied us with a set of its latest 8Gbps FC HBAs.

The DX80 is aimed squarely at cost-conscious SMBs and comes with single or dual controllers and a range of host interface choices. On review we have the model with dual RAID controllers each sporting a pair of 8Gbps FC ports but you can opt for 4Gbps FC, iSCSI or direct-attach SAS.

There's plenty of redundancy as the dual controllers function in active/active mode, all 12 drives bays are hot swappable and the array sports a pair of hot-plug power supplies. The latter also incorporate fan modules and Fujitsu had done a fine job in keeping noise levels down, as the chassis is extremely quiet.

Fujitsu's unique Cache Protector feature replaces traditional batteries with a combination of capacitors and Flash memory and in the event of a power failure the cache contents are written to memory. The benefit here is that when power is restored the capacitor takes a lot less time to recharge than a battery pack and can provide full protection much quicker.

The DX80 can be expanded massively by daisy chaining up to nine expansion shelves to the main controller unit to take raw capacity up to 120TB. The chassis supports SAS drives and Fujitsu offers near line 7.2k SAS drives for cost-sensitive storage applications or SSDs for speed freaks.

For installation we went straight to the appliance's web interface, which offers quick start wizards to get you out of the starting blocks. This runs through creating a RAID group and volumes, configuring host access, setting up affinity groups and mapping LUNs to selected FC ports.

Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.