Enterprise-grade appliances are engineered with several hardware capabilities rarely found in consumer or midrange storage solutions. These capabilities allow for signature reliability and resiliency of a storage system.
Dual controllers allow one controller to fail or be updated without loss of storage availability. The upgradability of these controllers extends the life of the storage solution, allowing it to be scaled up to meet increased demand without disruption to running workloads. Managed disk shelves allow easy addition or replacement of disks without impact to running workloads. Non-enterprise storage solutions may incorporate one or more of these hardware capabilities. The combination of all of these hardware capabilities, however, creates a clear distinction between a true enterprise-grade storage solution and storage solutions providing a lesser class of resiliency.
Transforming the Open Source TrueNAS CORE into the enterprise-ready TrueNAS Enterprise requires careful quality assurance. iXsystems engages in rigorous testing of their custom hardware and software combinations under both laboratory and real-world conditions to ensure that no unexpected incompatibilities endanger an organization’s data.
As with all enterprise-grade solutions, this testing and validation demands much more than simply proving the software will compile, execute, and meet basic functionality requirements. Automated testing, including regression testing, is continuous. New code branches are subjected to a series of trials that test for all primary use cases as well as an ever-expanding list of edge cases.
Hardware is also subjected to stringent testing. For example, in selecting hardware for the current generation of TrueNAS storage arrays, iXsystems exposed NVDIMM and motherboard vendors to fifteen different tests. Only one motherboard and two NVDIMM vendors passed all tests.
In addition to rigorous testing, iXsystems incorporates enterprise-grade technologies into TrueNAS systems that are impractical for consumer-grade storage. One example is the inclusion of NVDIMMs to increase storage performance.