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The Lab

As part of the work at The Storage Architect, we review and evaluate technology on a regular basis.  This is done in the TSA Lab, a dedicated hardware environment for product testing.

Hardware Setup

The lab consists of approximately six (6) servers, mainly rack-mounted Intel Xeon processors with at least 8GB of memory.  These are SAN booted from a CX700 CLARiiON, enabling the server personality to be easily flipped between platforms as required.  The CLARiiON also gives access to Fibre Channel capabilities.  In addition, iSCSI and additional storage space is provided by dual Iomega ix4-200d devices and to Data Robotics Drobos (DroboPro and DroboElite models).  In total around 20TB of storage is available for software, virtual images and other file data.

Software Platforms

The Lab runs a number of operating system platforms, including VMware ESXi (SAN booted for stateless deployment), Windows 2008 R2, Windows Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, Xen Server and as virtual guests, various flavours of Windows, CentOS, Oracle Enterprise Linux and other Unix variants.


For testing, flexibility is a key requirement.  Both PXE boot and Windows Deployment Services are used to enable the creation of virtual testing servers on demand.  a full CentOS build takes around 5 minutes.  The same infrastructure can be used to boot physical servers as new platforms; an ESXi installation to SAN boot takes around 8 minutes to complete.

Product Evaluation and Sponsorship

If you’re interested in having your software or hardware evaluated and written up on the site, then drop us a mail at enquiries@thestoragearchitect.com.  We’re also looking for sponsorship for the lab so get in touch if you are interested.