Storage networking: product news highlights

News Analysis

Storage networking: product news highlights

Beth Pariseau, News Writer; Jo Maitland, News Director
Here's a handy guide to some of the hot new products at Storage Networking World (SNW) taking place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego this week. Stay tuned to these pages for updates on what's going on at the show.

Also, keep an eye on our blog for rumours and chatter from the show, and if you're at the event, feel free to post your comments on anything interesting you learn.

Hewlett-Packard  (HP) is announcing StorageEssentials Standard Edition, a scaled-back version of its storage resource management (SRM) tool priced at $37,000 and bundles together basic modules that otherwise have to be pieced together separately. The company said it created the new edition to make it easier for VARs and resellers in its small and midsized business (SMB) channel to sell to midsized companies and also, for attachment of the software to HP EVA sales by its direct salesforce. Standard Edition also bundles StorageEssentials with HP's Systems Insight Manager (SIM) server management software. It's the first product out of the newly integrated Enterprise Storage and Servers group at HP.

One potential sticking point for users with heterogeneous environments is that Standard Edition will only support the management of HP storage, in contrast to the Enterprise Edition, which is built on the SMI-S standard for heterogeneous support. (Enterprise Edition packages begin at around $50,000). The cynical may conclude that on the heels of HP's well-publicised worries about its storage bottom line of late, the StorageEssentials product has been restricted in order to drive HP storage hardware sales. However, according to Bob Laliberte, analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), there are questions about true heterogeneous support with SMI-S anyway. "It's not HP's fault," Laliberte said. "The SMI-S standard is still just not where it needs to be to really practically manage heterogeneous storage environments."

However, Ash Ashutosh, chief technologist for HP StorageWorks, called that take "a conspiracy theory. We put together this package because our resellers were having trouble deploying the software with other vendors' systems," he said. "They don't have the training on other vendors' systems and so would fumble when it came time to do the installation. Meanwhile, most customers in this space are happy just to get HP [storage] up and running."

Speaking of bundling midrange products, IBM is announcing that its DS3200 and DS3400 Express products for SMBs can now be bought in prepackaged configurations, including components, such as controllers, HBAs and cables, which users previously had to purchase separately and assemble themselves. Disk drives must still be purchased separately for the systems. IBM said the new packages are up to 20% less expensive than purchasing the parts separately.

Intel has updated its white-box storage server to include the company's new quad-core processor. Storage Server SSR212MC2, which stands for Storage Server, rack, 2U, 12 drive, McKay Creek (internal code name) 2, for dual processor and is a typically uninspiring alphanumeric product name from Intel. But that aside, it's a multipurpose rack-mount server that can be configured as direct attached storage (DAS), network attached storage (NAS), a storage area network (SAN) or as an application server. It supports SAS and SATA drives, has connectivity options for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GigE), Fibre Channel (FC) and InfiniBand, and comes with or without RAID controllers. Several software companies are bundling a storage stack for it, including Microsoft (Windows Storage Server and Windows Unified Server), FalconStor, Open-E, Open SUSE, RedHat and Wasabi Systems. The SSR212MC2 will cost $2,800 with no RAID controller and $3,600 with the Intel SRCSAS144e RAID controller, and will be available from Intel channel partners in May.

Intel's fellow chipmaker PMC-Sierra is planning to issue a new controller based on SAS 2.0, which allows for 6 Gbps line speeds, longer cable lengths (10 meters as opposed to three), as well as support for multiplexing features that could finally make SAS ready for prime time in enterprise arrays.

Symantec will take the wraps off Backup Exec System Recovery 7.0, the latest version of its Windows bare-metal restore system recovery software. This release speeds up the recovery of Windows systems in minutes, rather than hours or days, the company claims, and adds support for Microsoft Vista, x64-bit platforms, VMware ESX Server, and Microsoft Virtual Server. Its a standalone product for Windows servers and may be purchased and installed separately, or together with Backup Exec.

Plasmon will announce the addition of UDO-2 optical drives in its archiving box, as well as new software called Enterprise Active Archive, which will manage multiple instances of its UDO Archive Appliance across multiple sites in one console.

Clustered NAS and file virtualisation

Isilon is announcing blue chip customers for its clustered NAS products in the broadcasting space. NBC Olympics will be using Isilon's IQ products for its coverage of the 2008 games in Beijing. Representatives for NBC and another newly announced Isilon customer, XM Satellite Radio, will be presenting keynote addresses at the SNW general sessions on Wednesday morning. Discovery Communications (the company behind the Discovery Channel and its affiliates) will also be announced as an Isilon user this week.

ONStor is unveiling global namespace software for its Bobcat and Pantera NAS clusters and gateways. The global namespace product can perform policy-based replication, failover and tiered storage replication on multiple OnStor clusters and Windows file servers. Linux and Unix support will follow later this year.

Attune will announce that Virginia-based architectural firm Lessard Group has deployed its heterogeneous file virtualisation software. Verari is adding two more disks to each blade in its VB5150 clustered NAS systems, as well as additional external SAS channels, which will allow the 5150 to scale to 576 terabytes (TB), nearly double the previous limit of 320 TB. Fujitsu and EqualLogic, meanwhile, have partnered with Network Appliance (NetApp) and Advanced Media Services (AMS) Storage, respectively, to add NAS gateways to their block-based products. Fujitsu will bundle NetApp's V-Series gateways with its Eternus 4000 and 8000 subsystems. AMS's Windows Server R2-based gateway will be bundled with EqualLogic PS Series SANs.

Tape products and encryption appliances

Overland Storage is beefing up its low-end ARCvault tape library with the introduction of the ARCvault 48, which will now support up to 48 LTO cartridges, or up to 38 TB in its 4U enclosure. The new library will also support partitioning of the library into segments of one, two or 12 slots.

Arkeia is announcing EdgeFort, an appliance that will allow backup administrators to remotely manage backup operations at remote sites without sending data back to headquarters over the WAN.

Bocada is releasing version 5.0 of its data protection monitoring (DPM) product, which includes new support for reporting based on applications and media status trends. The software has also been rearchitected to support modular development of reports for specific applications not supported by default.

Siafu Software will be announcing a new entry-level, iSCSI storage appliance, -priced at $3,995. The Swarm 100 Series of IP SAN appliance supports Microsoft SMB/CIFS, NFS and iSCSI storage protocols, and includes asynchronous replication and 256-bit encryption. The appliance is available in a 1U configuration with storage capacities ranging from 1 TB to 3 TB raw.

At the other end of the encryption scale, Crossroads Systems will unveil its TapeSentry encryption appliance, a 4-port, 4 Gbit Fibre Channel device for $25,500. It provides compression and encryption to all stored data and offers more flexibility than the existing encryption appliances, Crossroads claims. With its background in routing, Crossroads said its device enables "any port to any port" communication for high-availability environments, negating the need for an encryption appliance per drive as with other offerings. The company is working with Eruces for the key management piece of the solution.

VMware support

StorServer will announce its StorServer VCB Appliance, a backup appliance to protect VMware environments. It uses VMware Consolidated Backup to centralise the backup of ESX servers on the StorServer, eliminating the need to have individual backup agents on each virtual and/or host machine. Pricing for the StorServer VCB Appliance starts at $20,000.

10 GigE and iSCSI

For some zippy iSCSI action check out iStor Networks and Neterion demonstrating an iSCSI storage system operating at line rate 10 Gbps speeds using a Neterion V-NIC 10 GigE adaptor and iStor 10 GigE storage controller.

BlueArc is announcing the latest addition to its Titan NAS product line. The new 2500 model, which joins the 2100 and 2200 models, includes a new dual 10 Gbit network module.

Partnerships, product demos and industry groups

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) will be trying to drum up support for the XAM by creating a partner program for specialised application vendors, such as electronic medical records companies, to port its software to the XAM standard.

WysDM will be announcing that Double-Take is preparing to OEM its DPM software with its replication products.

ATTO will be demonstrating a new SAS/SATA controller and FalconStor will be touting its joint virtual tape library (VTL) product with Sun on the show floor


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