Levanta, formerly Linuxcare, created the Intrepid X management appliance for large Linux data centers that already have SANs (storage area networks) based on Fibre Channel and iSCSI over Ethernet.
The appliance runs Levanta Manager software, which provides command and control functions such as booting servers, and moves the data store for read-only binary files or configuration files to existing SAN-based storage.
"We have the technology to boot Linux servers off the network, with nothing installed on the local hard drive," said David Dennis, director of product marketing at Levanta, in San Mateo, Calif. "That means we can be fast—faster than disk imaging systems. To provision a Linux server takes five minutes, and we can move configuration files rapidly from physical machines to virtual machines," he said.
The Intrepid X, and its predecessor the Intrepid M appliance, can also track changes in the file system by taking snapshots of the state of a machine. If a change causes a problem, the appliances can roll back changes to previous working states.
The appliances work with a range of servers, including Dell rack servers, diskless IBM servers and VMware ESX virtual servers.
For customers with existing SANs, the Intrepid X moves the data store normally kept in the appliance to the SAN. "The command and control function stays with the appliance and we add a storage gateway product, so we control the servers that run through us to the SAN to access the data repository," Dennis said.
The Intrepid X is aimed at data centers with a large population of Linux servers that require high scalability and high availability. The appliance, which requires a network power switch for each appliance, is installed in pairs, providing active/passive failover.
"Theyre almost baked into the use case," said Jonathan Eunice, principal IT advisor at Illuminata. "The customer would say, We already bought EMC or Hitachi storage, we dont want to buy new storage or Network Application Filers. We want to use the storage we already paid for and we need this to work on Fibre Channel SAN," he said.
The Intrepid X, due by the end of January, is priced at $17,495 for a pair of appliances. The software license is $295 per managed server.