Smaller Vendors Look to Ease Storage Woes

By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2004-04-29

Smaller Vendors Look to Ease Storage Woes

NEW YORK—Smaller vendors of storage hardware and software are targeting areas such as improved device performance, portability and lowered cost to help put their stamp on customers network environments.

Nexsan Technologies Inc., AppIQ Inc., Storability Software Inc., Spectra Logic Corp. and Brocade Communications Systems Inc. all demonstrated new products at the Storage Decisions Conference here this week.

Their hope is to fly under the radar of the larger storage players dominating the arena by applying practical fixes to customers enterprise data woes—rather than chasing visionary concepts such as utility computing and tiered storage enablement, analysts said.

For instance, Nexsan unveiled ATAboy2x, the latest version of its ATA Raid storage array, featuring a new architecture designed to provide performance that is two-and-a-half times faster than the previous ATAboy model.

The product incorporates a higher cache capability with sustained RAID 5 reads of more than 600 Mbps. Those capabilities make ATAboy2x a prime candidate to support fixed-content, data-intensive applications such as HDTV, digital film and high-end video-streaming content, said officials at Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Nexsan.

Available in June, ATAboy2x ships with dual 2 G-bit Fiber Channel host ports, as well as 2 G-bit Ethernet management ports. It will be priced at about $4 per G bit.

Nexsan said it plans to introduce a high-density, 1U 8-drive serial ATA storage unit in July. Other development efforts will move 2x capabilities to Nexsans ATAbeast 42-drive disk vault product in the third quarter.

For more coverage from the Storage Decisions Conference, on customers paying more attention to the iSCSI standard, click here.

The growing complexity of managing an SAN (storage area network) environment with moving parts from multiple vendors is also an area customers are scrutinizing at Storage Decisions this week.

"All these components will have to fit into a single entity. When that happens, customers will have to make difficult decisions," said analyst Jamie Gruener of Boston-based The Yankee Group. "Longer term, you will see how things fit in with ILM [information life-cycle management], backups, replications, and applying policies across the board."

Next Page: AppIQs StorageAuthority Suite R3.1 brings new "path provisioning" capabilities.


To help customers prepare for that onslaught, AppIQ this week at Storage Decisions announced the availability of StorageAuthority Suite R3.1. The enhanced offering brings new "path provisioning" capabilities that correct and error-proof new SAN allocation capacity for high-priority applications, said officials at the Burlington, Mass.-based company.

In addition, the storage management vendor unveiled StorageAuthority for Sybase. The new application module bolsters the performance of Sybase Inc.s Adaptive Server Enterprise database in SAN environments.

For its part, Storability Software at the conference announced the availability of Version 3.8 of its Global Storage Manager product. The updated software offers expanded device support to include EMCs Celerra, Hewlett-Packard Co.s XP 512 and Microsoft Corp.s Windows 2003 platform.

Driving greater flexibility for conventional drive-and-tape models of removable backup, Spectra Logic introduced its RAID eXchangeable TeraPack, portable disk technology known as RXT, at Storage Decisions.

The RXT docking station stores data to Serial ATA disks sealed off in a protected enclosure, offering users the performance of RAID disks but with the portability benefits of tape, according to officials at Boulder, Colo.-based Spectra Logic.

RXT media is available using 12 2.5-inch SATA disks designed for mobile computing, or two 3.5-inch disks designed for server applications.

Click here to read about IT managers struggle to comply with data-retention regulations, also discussed at the conference.

Separately, Brocade unveiled the SilkWorm 24000 Director, a networking device that connects servers and storage boxes to create a Fibre Channel SAN. The new device supports as many as 128 ports, providing nonblocking 2-Gbps full duplex connectivity. It also supports both Fibre Channel and FICON protocols.

Brocade, of San Jose, Calif., said all of the big OEMs—including EMC Corp., Hitachi Data Systems, Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM StorageTek and Sun Microsystems Inc.—have qualified the SilkWorm 24000 Director.

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