Analysts have predicted that networked storage will take over as the leading technology in data management over the next three years, and the conference highlighted a growing trend among vendors of delivering software that can manage hardware from various companies, making it possible to control a large pool of data instead of working with small subsets of storage systems.
In addition, companies demonstrated products that use emerging protocols such as iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface) and let users send large chunks of data over IP (Internet Protocol) networks.
Hitachi Data Systems has teamed with switch maker Nishan Systems to add long-distance, IP-based backup products to its storage line-up. Hitachi will resell Nishan's IPS switches along with Hitachi's own TrueCopy replication software to help users open up data sitting on Fibre Channel networks to other servers and storage systems.
The switch can also link disparate Fibre Channel SANs (storage area networks). The average price for a TrueCopy licence on Hitachi's Lighting 9900 series storage systems is $14,050 (£9,778), and each switch costs $30,000 (£20,877).
Tek-Tools released the second version of its Storage Profiler software for Web-based storage management. This product helps users with basic management tasks such as tracking storage resources, reporting on usage and planning for purchasing more storage gear.
With this latest release, Tek-Tools has added support for EMC's Symmetrix storage systems and the Linux operating system. It has also made it possible to compile reports on an entire company's storage resources instead of limiting the reports to one vendor's products or one department.
The software works with Solaris, Windows NT and 2000 and NetWare operating systems and starts at $7,500 (£5,220) for a 10-user licence.
Pirus Networks announced its PSX-1000 switch for both SAN and NAS (network-attached storage) architectures, allowing administrators to connect server and storage systems that use various protocols for exchanging data, including iSCSI, Fibre Channel, NFS (Network File System) and CIFS (Common Internet File System).
The PSX-1000 helps administrators manage multivendor hardware by creating one view of all the storage in a network and making all the storage appear as one large disc. The product price starts at $85,000 (£59,000).
Neartek announced its Virtual Storage Engine 2 (VSE2) software for managing data backup tasks on tape storage systems. The software lets administrators control tape backup functions for a wide variety of servers, ranging from mainframes to midrange systems. The product can work with servers running IBM's AS400, Unix, Windows NT and NetWare operating systems, and can automate data backup across all these systems. On the low end, VSE2 starts at $14,000 (£9,740), but it can cost up to $1.7m (£1.2m).
Auspex Systems said it would start shipping its NSc3000 controller this month, which links storage gear from different vendors and creates a bridge between systems on an IP network and those in a SAN. The NSc3000 supports the CIFS, NFS and FTP (File Transfer Protocol). The product would cost between $30,000 (£20,877) and $45,000 (£31,316), depending on the configuration.