Enterprise Storage Snapshots - 12/19/03 - EnterpriseStorageForum.com

Enterprise Storage Snapshots - 12/19/03

Enterprise Storage Snapshots offers a weekly wrap-up of what's going on in the storage industry. Here are our storage news highlights for the third week of December: SEPATON ships the first product in its family of data protection solutions, Nexsan partners with SANRAD on a storage bundle and secures $17 million in financing, Fujitsu enhances its portable SATA drives with Native Command Queuing technology, and CATC updates its SASTracer protocol analyzer with support for 4-Wide SAS analysis.


SEPATON Ships S2100 Virtual Tape Appliance

SEPATON, Inc. has released the first product in its family of data protection solutions. The S2100 Virtual Tape Appliance is a disk-based, virtual tape library that the company claims helps customers shrink backup windows and accelerate restore times at up to 10 times the speed of tape, while reducing acquisition cost by as much as 50 percent.

Utilizing SEPATON's unique Scalable Replication Engine (SRET) optimized for high-performance data movement and the virtual tape library application, the S2100 scales from 3.5 terabytes to 200 terabytes and emulates multiple tape libraries and multiple tape cartridge formats simultaneously in a single appliance.

"SEPATON's platform approach is ideal since customers can solve an immediate pain point with virtual tape and then use the same platform for a full range of data recovery solutions," says Steve Duplessie, senior analyst at the Enterprise Storage Group. "And the fact that they've been qualified by the leading backup applications this early in the product rollout is a huge plus."

"Initial customer reaction to the S2100 has been outstanding," gushes Mike Worhach, president and CEO of SEPATON. "Backup remains a major pain point for IT managers, and our value proposition of 10 times faster backups at half the cost with no disruption is proving to be highly compelling to the market."

SEPATON's S2100 is currently being distributed by a network of value-added resellers. The company will also offer additional data protection applications to be deployed on the same platform by utilizing SEPATON's content-aware architecture.

Pricing for the S2100 starts at $58,000 for a 3.5TB configuration, with additional increments of 3.5 terabytes available for purchase at $20,000 per increment.

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Nexsan Teams with SANRAD on Storage Bundle, Secures $17 Million Financing

Nexsan Technologies is working with SANRAD, Inc. to bring to market turnkey, automated IP SAN systems. Under the terms of the partnership, Nexsan will marry its InfiniSAN line of storage systems to SANRAD's iSCSI V-Switch iSCSI storage networking and management hardware.

Nexsan's InfiniSAN line includes the ATAboy2 midrange storage server as well as the enterprise-class ATABeast and SMB-aimed ATAbaby. The ATABeast, billed as a tape library replacement, can house up to 42 drives inside its 4U enclosure and can be outfitted with dual RAID controllers.

What SANRAD's V-Switch brings to the equation is a storage management, virtualization, and iSCSI bridging platform that ties together heterogeneous storage environments (FC, SCSI, iSCSI, SATA) into flexible – and more importantly, manageable – IP SANs. The iSCSI platform is available in two flavors — the 1U 3000 and the diminutive 1U half-rack-width 2000 for midrange deployments.

By combining the firms' offerings, the companies said in a release that "customers will benefit from the greatly reduced cost per managed terabyte of Nexsan's cost-correct storage systems and the iSCSI functionality of SANRAD's V-Switch."

The "Nexsan-certified" joint hardware offerings will soon be available via resellers.

Nexsan also announced that it has secured $17 million in a venture capital funding round led by VantagePoint Venture Partners. RRE Ventures, Gesfid First Gen-e, and a syndicate of individual investors formed by Beechtree Capital also participated in the round.

"Nexsan's continued success in the storage marketplace necessitated further investment to help us expand our business to keep up with the unprecedented volume of orders from customers around the world," said Martin Boddy, CEO of Nexsan Technologies. "Our investment partners share the same belief in our ability to continue designing and developing innovative storage solutions at the cost-correct prices customers desire."

The company plans to use the funds to continue to expand its rapidly growing global business.

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Native Command Queuing Debuts on Fujitsu's Portable SATA Drives

Portable PC makers may soon start dropping Fujitsu's new 2.5" Serial ATA (SATA) high performance drives into their notebooks. The hard disk supplier announced this week that samples of the new hard disk have been delivered to its partners to undergo compatibility testing.

Rated at 5400RPM, the first-of-its-kind drive includes "system on chip" (SOC) technology from Marvell Technology Group. Integrated SOC supports SATA Extensions (SATA II, Phase I) and speeds of up to 1.5Gb per second.

That benchmark was reached, in part, by the adoption of Native Command Queuing. The updated command queuing model, already in use by the likes of Seagate, has been on the books since the Serial ATA II: Extensions to Serial ATA 1.0 spec. Performance gains are a result of the hard disk controller's ability to queue and reorder up to 32 commands.

The inclusion of this technology is a first in the portable drive market, says Chuck Nielsen, chief technologist, Fujitsu Computer Products of America. Together with Marvell, his company can "deliver the performance and queuing capabilities required to enable the SATA interface to become the standard for mobile high-quality performance at relatively low cost," he adds.

By utilizing Marvell's 88i6535 Serial ATA SOC drive electronics platform, Fujitsu was able to forge ahead without a bridge chip and land at a price point comparable to ATA. The new manufacturing process yields drives that offer speedy performance at lower power consumption rates, making them particularly suitable for mobile PCs.

Beyond notebooks, Fujitsu has hopes that the drives will find homes in places where limited physical space is a consideration, namely server blades and sleek consumer gadgets.

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CATC Forges '4-Wide' Support for SAS Analysis

Computer Access Technology Corporation (CATC) has expanded the capabilities of its SASTracer protocol analyzer with support for Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) 4-Wide analysis. The new release features software enhancements that simplify testing of "expander-attached" storage – particularly 3Gbps SAS – and is designed to deliver all of the "must have" features needed to accelerate SAS device and storage system development, according to the company.

"CATC has worked closely with developers leading the transition to serial-attached storage to deliver the right product at the right time," states James Wright, director of Storage and Networking Products for CATC. "It was important that we showed our commitment to the industry by being in the forefront of companies to provide a protocol analyzer with SAS 4-Wide support, but it was even more important that we included the specific features that this bus requires for effective analysis."

The 4-Wide SASTracer can simultaneously probe 1, 2, 3, or 4 links, and supports cooperative triggering and filtering across multiple links. When attached to expanders, SAS wide connections have the unique ability to dynamically use different physical pathways to complete a single operation.

In addition to capturing 4-Wide SAS traffic, the v1.01 software release for SASTracer adds a BusView that shows DWORD level traffic moving upstream and downstream on each link. Version 1.01 also adds decoding of the Serial ATA Tunneling Protocol (STP). SASTracer simplifies testing of SATA transfers over the SAS transport layer by showing this traffic as STP frames.

"The ability to combine multiple SAS links into wide ports will allow system designers to aggregate the performance of SAS initiators and expanders, increasing throughput for bandwidth-intensive applications and, in the end, giving companies faster access to more information," says Linus Wong, director of strategic marketing for Adaptec's Storage Solutions Group. "The CATC analyzer's advanced capabilities will enable Adaptec to build on our first-to- market SAS leadership by speeding tests of our SAS solutions with wide-port expanders and other next-generation features for enterprise computing."

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