Candera Does SATA for Less -

Candera Does SATA for Less

Serial ATA just got cheaper.

Candera has unveiled its new Candera ATA Appliance, which the company claims is about 50% cheaper than other ATA solutions.

Candera says the new appliance combines the company's enterprise-class SCE 510 network storage controller with low-cost Serial ATA (SATA) RAID drives for scalable storage that is centrally managed and interoperable.

"It's an interesting product," says Dianne McAdam, senior analyst and partner at Data Mobility Group. "When you compare the list prices of, say, a CLARiiON with ATA drives with the Candera appliance, the Candera appliance is about 50% of the cost. It appears to be easy to install. Candera has some customers that are willing to talk about their installations, such as Oxygen Media, so it's more than just slide ware."

If Candera can handle demanding streaming applications like those at Oxygen Media, "then they definitely have a place," says Mike Karp, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates. "[Serial] ATA is a technology whose time has absolutely arrived."

"The downside is they're not very well known in the marketplace," Karp continues, "but for companies that are willing to stick their toe in the water and try them, it's quite a cost-savings opportunity."

Candera says its appliance also has applications in information lifecycle management (ILM).

Low-cost, capacity-oriented storage accounts for 10% of all petabytes shipped today, and will grow to 40% by 2007, according to the company. Tiered storage helps organizations better classify and protect their data, allowing them to match information storage and access requirements with business processes, match the right storage with the right tasks, and provide a central point of management for the storage infrastructure.

Just adding low-cost ATA storage isn't enough, Candera says, since it can also increase the complexity of existing SANs and "create a management nightmare."

"The availability of an off-the-shelf, ready-to-deploy ATA appliance based on Candera's network storage controller architecture means that the industry finally has a low-cost, enterprise-class solution that delivers all of the benefits of tiered storage without the management headaches," the company says.

Evaluator Group senior partner Randy Kerns says the Candera appliance "is really a type of switch with processors on the ports to run code to make it a disk controller. With that, they can just add very inexpensive storage, which in their case is Xyratex."

Candera says it will offer four standard appliance configurations – for 4 TB, 8 TB, 12 TB, or 16 TB of storage capacity – and custom configurations capable of scaling to 180 TB can also be built.

Candera claims its appliance is the first to combine high reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features with low-cost ATA drives. The appliance features a fully redundant, active-active cluster architecture and high-capacity ATA RAID drives, allowing for expansion of storage capacity in enterprise-class environments "at a fraction of the cost of other high-performance storage solutions."

With a separate software license, Candera customers can upgrade their appliance to become a fully functional Candera SCE 510 network storage controller. Customers can place both legacy Fibre Channel storage and new ATA-based storage into a common virtual pool of storage for information lifecycle management. "Data-in-place" import of legacy storage eliminates the need for a backup and restore of the data for migration.

The appliance features up to 4 GB of cache, provides eight 1- or 2-Gb/s autosensing Fibre Channel ports, and supports up to 48 host bus adapter (HBA) ports.

The list price for a fully functional Candera ATA Appliance with 4 TB of storage starts at $86,500. Support will be provided by IBM Global Services.

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