Adaptec Introduces New iSCSI, SATA Storage Lines

Adaptec on Wednesday, announced several new RAID storage products aimed at helping enterprises shift toward cost-effective fabric-attached storage networks.

Adaptec Inc. on Wednesday, announced several new storage products aimed at helping enterprises shift toward cost-effective fabric-attached storage networks.

The Milpitas, Calif. company announced an external iSCSI-to-Serial ATA storage array; a Fibre Channel-to-Serial ATA RAID storage system and accompanying enclosure, as well as a pair of 8- and 16-port RAID cards.

The Adaptec iSA1500 iSCSI storage array houses four hot-swappable 3.5-inch Serial ATA disk drives (configurable in RAID 0, 1, 10 and 5 configurations) storing up to a terabyte of data. The array offers a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports for accessing data, as well as Ethernet and RS-232 connections for management functions.

The 1U array, priced at $10,000 for a terabyte of storage, uses 1GB of RAM for Bristol, U.K.-based Elipsan Ltd.s virtualization technology Adaptec acquired Monday.

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead more here about Adaptecs deal for Elipsan and the companys quarterly results.

The Elipsan technology identifies volumes across the network and presents them as a unified volume for data access; the Elipsan software runs on top of Adaptecs RAID stack and Storage Manager software without the need for a separate server, according to Steve Paulhus, strategic marketing manager for external storage. Users will also have the option of adding advanced features for an additional cost, such as target-based local and remote mirroring as well as snapshot agents, he said.

Adaptecs 2U FS4500 and FS4100 arrays marry a Fibre Channel front end with cheaper SATA drives. The FS4500 provides full RAID functionality, while the FS410 employs a dual JBOD (just a bunch of disks) configuration.

Both arrays are designed for midrange customers interested in storing larger, more rarely accessed files, such as archived email and stored multimedia files, said Mike McNamara, product marketing manager for Adaptecs storage division.

The FSA4500 is priced at $14,299 for a dual-RAID configuration or $20,539 for a total capacity of 3TB. The FSA4100 can be configured as a dual JBOD array for $9,599, or as a 3TB array for $15,839. Each array holds up to 12 3.5-inch drives, and the array can also house power and cooling modules that can provide an air flow at a rate of 60 cubic feet per minute through three fans.

Adaptec plans to take advantage of new 10,000-RPM 2.5-inch drives in future revisions, executives said; during the second half of 2004, the array will use Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drives, McNamara said. Finally, Adaptec introduced its 2810SA and 21610SA, a pair of 8- and 16-port I/O processor RAID cards, costing $590 and $895, respectively. Both cards provide RAID levels 0, 1, 10, 5, and 50 functionality.

RAID Level 50 stripes one RAID Level 5 array across yet another Level 5 array, which can reduce the "window of vulnerability," the time during which the system is rebuilding a previously failed drive. If another drive fails during that time, the entire array will crash, said Robert Cox, product marketing manager for the storage solutions group at Adaptec.

Adaptecs announcements mark the companys move away from primarily desktop storage products into larger, external networked storage. Both of these storage hardware categories have come under the spell of commoditization.

"Really, now were an end-to-end solutions provider given the new products," said Paulhus, who pointed to the strategic vision articulated during Mondays conference call with analysts. "[T]he mantra here at Adaptec [is] true end-to-end [storage]."

Adaptecs new products cover small to midsize businesses of up to 1,000 employees, Paulhus said, as well as some branch offices of larger corporations. The companys goal is to make fabric-attached network storage to look and feel like direct-attached storage, he said.

Adaptecs bid for low-cost fabric-attached network storage will be challenged by traditional JBOD direct-attached storage, executives acknowledged. With a cost of $10 per gigabyte, the question will be whether customers will pay for the additional performance and features, or choose cheaper direct-attached options.

Paulhus noted that so-called "dark" storage, or disks with vacant capacity that go unused, may lurk on direct-attached storage—something that virtualization software is designed to avoid.

"Its a good question," Paulhus said of the value proposition with the companys new virtualized storage solution. "The price really depends on how you see direct-attached storage. When you saturate DAS, a customer typically goes out and buys another server. In that regard, were cost-competitive."