With the introduction of a new iSCSI storage area network that supports third-party iSCSI arrays and systems, SANRAD is doing its best to give the iSCSI SAN world the type of flexibility that has existed in the Fibre Channel world for some time.
SANRAD Inc.s Total iSCSI SAN-V Switch builds on the San Mateo, Calif., companys existing V-Switch 3000 and V-Switch 2000 all-in-one iSCSI SANs by pre-certifying the back end for compatibility with all of the major players, including EMC Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Adaptec Inc., IBM and Network Appliance Inc., as well as by offering pooling, volume management, snapshot copies and remote replication.
Because the product is pre-certified with virtually all storage systems, SANRAD is calling the Total iSCSI SAN-V Switch the first “open” iSCSI SAN, allowing organizations to more easily virtualize their iSCSI storage from different vendors and integrate their existing iSCSI storage arrays, resulting in a single virtualized image.
“On the back end, we want to provide what the Fibre Channel community has had for some time, where if you want to combine EMC and IBM in a fabric, you can do that, or if you want to use a SCSI tape library and a Fibre Channel RAID array and some iSCSI disks located in another building, you can do that,” said Zophar Sante, SANRADs vice president of market development.
“As more people learn about iSCSI, they need to understand that you can build a Fibre Channel-like SAN with all of the properties of Fibre Channel, but you can build it on iSCSI.”
Offering an “open” approach to iSCSI through pre-testing and certification is a critical move for any virtualization player, but one that, until now, no other vendor has accomplished, leaving customers to their own devices, said Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting of Beaverton, Ore.
“To do this today, organizations have to painstakingly make sure everything is certified, and it takes a lot of time, but even more importantly, they are taking the risk,” he said.
In cases where enterprises request that their suppliers complete all necessary testing, the process can take months, Staimer said. Qualifying in EMCs test lab, for example, takes about six months, he said.
Being the first iSCSI vendor to virtualize other vendors arrays in the iSCSI space gives SANRAD a leg up on the competition, Staimer said.
“In the growing, emerging space of iSCSI, SANRAD is in a good position to be considered for OEM environments and to capture market share in this emerging market,” he said.
“Its similar to the way Brocade was the first to have a Fibre Channel switch that was a true fabric switch for Class 2/Class 3 switching support, putting them on the cusp of an emerging market and therefore the only choice for most OEMs. As a result, Brocade captured a huge market share. SANRAD is in the same position, assuming that the iSCSI market evolves in the timeframe the market expects.”
Earlier versions of the V-Switch can be upgraded at no charge to include Total iSCSI SAN capability, Sante said.