To accommodate the growth of mixed media storage environments, LSI Logic introduced a new version of its MyStorage SAN (storage area network) management software that supports both 4GB/sec Fibre Channel and 3GB/sec SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) HBAs (host bus adapters).
Announced at LinuxWorld this week, the newest version of MyStorage replaces the original version, introduced in the fall of 2003, that supported only Fibre Channel.
“Youre not seeing new storage arrays that only have one type of disk drive, like a pure Fibre Channel array or a pure SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) array,” said Charlie Kraus, director of the HBA business unit at Milpitas, Calif.-based LSI Logic Corp.
“Instead, they may have multiple drive types to accommodate multiple types of storage. In the same array with SATA (Serial ATA) drives, which are used for longer-term storage, for example, you might see a Fibre Channel or SAS drive that is suited for more transaction-oriented needs,” Kraus said.
To address the move toward flexible arrays with multiple drive types, MyStorage supports both Fibre Channel and SAS interfaces, allowing organizations to upgrade any of the HBAs on the SAN from one piece of software.
“Its painful, as these environments grow, to have to do your upgrades by visiting all of the workstations with CD-ROMs, plug them in and do either driver or firmware upgrades,” Kraus said.
Kraus also noted that MyStorage is set up for fast and simple installation and use.
“It was getting to the point where it took almost all day to set up a Fibre Channel SAN, but it turns out that a huge percentage of people go to the same default settings,” he said. “So we developed a utility that, for 99 percent of the cases, can get them up and running with a few mouse clicks.”
For users who want more advanced options, Kraus noted that such options are available through drop-down menus.
At least for now, the dual technology capability is more of a nice-to-have than a must-have, said John Webster, senior analyst at Data Mobility Group of Nashua, N.H.
“Its a nice-to-have, particularly for OEM vendors that are baking a product into their own server products, because it provides consistency and reduces complication,” he said. “But as you start seeing SAS arrays that are external, it becomes more important to users, where you want to see interoperability between the array youre considering and the server HBA.”
Although LSI Logic seems to be the only vendor, at least so far, with dual technology support, Webster said it probably wont be too long before others provide the same functionality.
“Other vendors will probably follow suit because you can make the case that youre adding unnecessary complexity if you dont provide this, and these environments are already complex enough,” he said.
The dual technology capability is only the latest iteration of MyStorage, with more advances to come, Krauss said. Next up will be adding IP storage technologies into MyStorage, with specific HBAs to be announced later this year.
Also on the horizon is more interplay between iSCSI technology and SAS. “Youll see SAS SATA storage arrays, but the actual pipe going out to them is apt to be iSCSI in the future because of its ability to go long distances,” he said. “That will be an important third technology to add to MyStorage.”