Enterprise network-attached storage vendor Agámi Systems, which specializes in live file system replication, has unveiled a new version of its NAS-based Information Server appliance that includes support for iSCSI connectivity, among other improvements.
The new Agámi Information Server also will support advanced enterprise storage management capabilities and data protection offerings for iSCSI applications, a company spokesperson said in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Because iSCSI is implemented directly in its NAS framework, the AIS will deliver a higher degree of virtualization capability to simplify storage management, the company claims. The new hybrid solution uses Agámis file system strengths to enable snapshots, replication and high availability of block-level data, the spokesperson said.
The key benefit of unifying NAS/SAN and iSCSI access modes is that it enables storage administrators to manage and consolidate file and block-level data on one platform. The unified system also offers three to five times faster throughput of block-level data over most similar appliances, the spokesperson said.
The AIS offers virtualization features that can support up to 256 iSCSI targets and 1024 volumes, thereby improving the flexibility to configure for multiple applications, enhance security, and improve data management, the spokesperson said.
In data protection, Agámi—the first NAS vendor to offer built-in live file system replication—uses its AgámiFS in the AIS to enable iSCSI snapshots, replication and high-availability for block-level data, with the same proven capabilities it uses for NAS file systems.
iSCSI getting serious traction
The idea of unifying conventional cabled NAS/SAN and Internet-based iSCSI connectivity in a single storage system is not new, but the market is just now gaining real traction in the enterprise marketplace. iSCSI connectivity, officially ratified in February 2003 by the Internet Engineering Task Force, allows the use of the SCSI protocol over TCP/IP networks.
NetApp had systems available with this capability in 2004. Companies such as Adaptec, Dell and Microsoft, Storage Elements and 3Par/OnStor have recently produced "unified" storage network components or finished systems.
A recent report entitled "iSCSI Enters the Mainstream" from Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., found that iSCSI adoption is in the early mainstream, that early adopters are satisfied with their iSCSI SANs, that lower costs and ease of management are driving iSCSI adoption, and that the number of planned adopters is increasing at a rapid rate.
"In my view, Agami has a competitive storage system," Tony Asaro, senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, told eWEEK. "It is one of the few storage systems in the market that support both NAS and iSCSI. They have a scalable file system, high performance, a good set of data protection features, competitive pricing, and its easy to use."
Asaro added that there arent enough competitive NAS solutions, and Agami has a real opportunity.
"It gives end users another choice, he said. "We actually did a hands-on analysis, and the quality seemed to be there. Naturally, we dont have it in a product environment, but we didnt see any red flags."
Sharing the same network infrastructure for both block and file data enables users to leverage their IT investment, simplify their environments, and reduce capital and operational costs, Asaro said.
"According to our research, end users with NAS want to use it for file sharing and iSCSI for database and e-mail applications. Agámi provides a high-performance, easy-to-use, scalable storage solution that enables customers to consolidate storage and provide centralized data protection," he said.
Pricing and availability
Agámi Systems unified NAS/IP SAN appliance will be generally available by the end of March 2007. Support for iSCSI is included as part of the standard pricing and configuration for both the AIS 3000 and AIS 6000 series. Pricing ranges from $24,995 to $99,995.