Unisys' Sentinel will watch over data flow

Unisys' latest storage system, Storage Sentinel, is designed to direct the flow of data across a company's existing storage...

Unisys' latest storage system, Storage Sentinel, is designed to direct the flow of data across a company's existing storage hardware.

The Storage Sentinel is a large system - 36U high (63 inches) - that fits into an existing storage area network (SAN) and provides a central place for managing numerous storage servers.

The product should help companies form a picture of how much overall storage capacity they have and then let them shuffle data efficiently across this "pool" of hardware.

The Storage Sentinel launches early next month for $200,000, along with providing various consulting and technical services to help customers get the system running, said Unisys director of storage management solutions Bill Jefferis.

"When you talk about something as complex and volatile as the storage industry, it makes sense to address the needs of customers and deliver something today," Jefferis said. "This a flag worth planting."

Unisys is not the first vendor to stake its claim in the storage management business with this type of product. A number of companies, such as EMC, Hitachi Data and Hewlett-Packard, claim to provide software and hardware that makes it possible to manage disparate storage systems from one place.

Many of the major storage companies have joined the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) to help set standards that will make it easier to manage storage systems from multiple vendors. Unisys' latest system will comply with SNIA's Common Information Model standards, Jefferis said.

Unisys is already working to certify the Storage Sentinel with storage gear from EMC and IBM.

The Storage Sentinel can store up to 1.8Tbytes of data and ships with redundant fans and power supplies. The product will connect into SANs via Fibre Channel.

Unisys will also provide services to help customers map out how the Storage Sentinel will fit into their existing SAN and how it can possibly lower management costs. Most customers would pay $150,000 (£98,000) for the hardware and software and then about another $50,000 (£33,000) for consulting and support, Jefferis said.

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