By Henry Baltazar  |  Posted 2005-06-06 Print this article Print

Zetta Systems Inc.s Zetta Server IR—x86-based software that can turn servers into storage appliances—is an interesting and cost-efficient storage management and protection solution for small and midsize businesses.

Using replication and high-speed snapshot technology, Zetta Server IR can protect key enterprise applications such as databases and e-mail servers. Used as a storage management system, Zetta Server IR consolidates storage and distributes it to servers as LUNs (logical unit numbers), which Zetta Systems calls SmartDisks.

Zetta Server IR, released in March, is priced at $5,000 for single-server protection and $18,000 for multiple servers. Given the advanced features Zetta Server IR provides, this is a bargain for SMBs, even with the cost of hardware figured in.

Zetta Server IR can give clients block-level access to storage using both Fibre Channel and iSCSI in a single box. Most other storage solutions offer only one or the other connection. The server also provides CIFS (Common Internet File System) and NFS (Network File System) support for creating file shares. This is key because it will let more servers, or even workstations, access the storage managed by Zetta Server IR.

During eWEEK Labs tests, Zetta Server IRs useful thin-provisioning capabilities let us allocate volumes of any size without having to install the actual storage. This will let IT managers grow storage at a controlled pace—when they really need it, not when users demand it.

Zetta Server IRs primary data protection is its snapshot technology, which is fast and supports unlimited snapshots. (Most other solutions are limited to between eight and 255 snapshots per volume.) The fastest rate at which we could configure snapshots was one per minute. This should be sufficient for applications at most SMBs but not for transaction-intensive applications at large companies.

After snapshots were taken, we could roll back data volumes to their previous state or create a SnapWrite volume, a virtual read/write-capable volume that can be mounted to a standby server to retrieve data. SnapWrite lets IT managers restore files from the virtual volume without halting the production server.

Zetta Server IR also has functionality that will let IT departments replicate data from one Zetta Server IR unit to another in LAN or WAN settings.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.


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