SANs Smarten Up -

SANs Smarten Up

Candera has unveiled a new technology that the start-up claims is the first enterprise-grade network storage controller.

Candera's U*Star architecture "provides authentic interoperability with any storage, any switch, any server," the company claims, "injecting higher intelligence into existing 'dumb' SANs."

"Candera is on to something important," says Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group. "Storage managers continue to look for ways to simplify provisioning, and the Candera U*Star architecture is well positioned to address this wide-spread storage management problem."

Storage management intelligence is currently found at the end points of the network, in servers or storage devices, Candera says. As storage networks become larger and more heterogeneous, such "plumbing-only" SANs create management challenges that limit the ability of the data center to respond to changing business requirements.

The result of three years of stealth development, U*Star places "a robust cluster of specialized hardware/software systems directly into existing SANs, without replacing any existing equipment," the start-up says.

One result is a central point of management. Storage administrators can reduce complexity, increase productivity, and better utilize resources by using a Candera network storage controller to manage heterogeneous storage devices in a virtual pool as a common resource for all servers. Data centers can thus realize the benefits of a tiered, heterogeneous storage environment without suffering from heterogeneity-induced complexity, according to Candera.

Provisioning storage from any vendor's array to any type of server, through any vendor's fabric, can be achieved in seconds, the company claims, and automated policies allocate storage to optimize asset utilization, data availability, performance, and cost.

Any storage, switch, or server can be utilized "with plug-and-play ease," Candera boasts, protecting investments in storage and switch devices and allowing installed systems to be utilized and managed more effectively.

Candera says the U*Star architecture makes it possible to manage the quality of storage service (QoSS) delivered to servers, enabling a shift in storage management from an operations model with many proprietary islands to a storage utility model for centralized management.

U*Star's storage virtualization software unifies management of pooled storage resources. Storage virtualization creates logical volumes from physical disks, enabling volumes to be created across multiple heterogeneous physical devices. Automated discovery and characterization of devices on the network allow the Candera network storage controller to identify and classify each device by its capabilities. Intelligent policy engines match customer-defined storage profiles to the needs of a given application or tier of storage service, according to the firm.

The company claims interoperability with disk subsystems from EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Sun Microsystems, and others; servers running Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, and Windows; clustering software from Microsoft, VERITAS, and Sun; Fibre Channel switches from Brocade, McData, QLogic, and Cisco; and HBAs from all major manufacturers.

"Candera lets users and storage administrators who have been overwhelmed by the exponential growth and complexity of storage take back control of their storage resources," states Candera President and CEO Sundi Sundaresh. "At a time when every cost must be closely justified, our network storage controller has proven to reduce total cost of ownership while dramatically increasing the utilization of existing storage assets."

U*Star is currently in beta testing and is expected to ship later this summer.

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