In an effort to gain converts for the IP-based approach to storage area networks—and sell more of its products along the way—SANRAD has unveiled a Web-based tool to help potential customers test-drive the concept.
The IP SAN Builder, targeted at midsized companies, allows storage managers to enter information about their organizations storage environment, including number of servers, requirements for high availability and the types of storage systems the company intends to use.
Based on that information, the tool shows the user how an IP SAN would look and work in that environment, including location of servers, applications and data resident on each server, how servers connect to the switching fabric, and how all storage devices connect to the system.
Part of the information returned is a suggestion for which of SANRAD Ltd.s IP SAN products would be most appropriate for the given environment.
Users entering the required information also can receive information on cost to better understand the cost differences between IP SANs, Fibre Channel SANs and direct-attached storage, said Zophar Sante, vice president of marketing at the San Francisco, Calif.-based company.
In addition to promoting SANRADs V-Switch 2000 and 3000 products, the tool is intended to expose IT and storage managers to the concept of the IP SAN.
“There are two very distinct types of iSCSI storage—the standard iSCSi array vendors like NetApp, Intransa, EqualLogic and EMC, and network intelligence vendors, which offer the same storage services available within the SAN architecture but do everything from the network layer as opposed to the storage system or host layer,” Sante said. “We wanted to educate people about the differences so they could determine if an IP SAN would make sense for their environment.”
Besides being a helpful tool for companies considering a switch to the IP SAN environment, its a smart marketing move, said Tony Asaro, senior analyst in the ESG Lab at Enterprise Storage Group of Milford, Mass. Not only does it get people to SANRADs Web site in the guise of educating them, but it shows users which of SANRADs products would best fit into their infrastructure, he said.
The tool also is quite effective in showcasing SANRADs technology—the first iSCSI switch-based storage virtualization platform in the market, Asaro said.
SANRADs product line combines two major advancements in storage technology—iSCSI and intelligent storage networks—setting it apart from major competitors like FalconStor Software Inc. and StoneFly Networks Inc., as well as iSCSI storage vendors like EMC Corp., EqualLogic Inc., Intransa Inc., LeftHand Networks Inc. and Network Appliance Inc.
“SANRAD is pushing the iSCSI agenda, and its also focusing on the benefits of implementing intelligence in the storage network—something our research has found that customers are moving towards,” he said. Asaro noted that more than 96 percent of customers surveyed by ESG with more than 10 TB of storage showed interest in intelligent storage networks.