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While storage giants such as EMC Corp. and Brocade Communications Systems regale tech-heads with positive outlooks for their sector at the Merrill Lynch Hardware Technology Conference in New York City this week, one smaller competitor is putting the finishing touches on an IP storage solution suite.
Campbell, Calif.'s SAN Valley Systems has teamed with leaders in the storage area network (SAN) field to show that its pending SL1000 IP-SAN Gateway is interoperable. Scheduled for production release in July, the SL1000 features 8 ports and provides four channels of high throughput Fibre Channel to Internet Protocol (FCIP) encapsulation supporting traffic shaping and flow control.
SAN Valley's technology enables connectivity that supports wire speed transmission of storage data across distances of up to 400 km. The SL1000 expands on the performance of regular SANs by interconnecting SAN resources across metropolitan and wide area networks (MAN/WAN), delivering IP storage solutions that are currently not available on the market -- though certainly solutions that the big guns -- Cisco, Network Appliance, EMC and Brocade -- are aiming to bring to the fore.
SAN Valley will showcase its new product at Networld+Interop in Las Vegas next week on the Compaq SANworks Data Replication Manager, LuxN WavSystem optical access services platform, and ADIC Scalar 1000 automated tape library.
Specifically, SAN Valley and Compaq will demonstrate how customers can interconnect their SANs across IP at wire-speeds for disaster recovery and business continuance. Compaq SANworks Data Replication Manager enables customers to replicate data online from local to remote StorageWorks systems over switched Fibre Channel fabrics.
In a second, and very different demonstration, SAN Valley and LuxN will demonstrate real-time content streamed from storage through a SAN at wire-speeds across a fiber network. The SAN Valley SL1000 and the LuxN WavSystem optical access service platform, will demonstrate how customers can deploy content delivery across a fully managed Metropolitan Area Network (MAN).
Lastly, SAN Valley and ADIC will demonstrate tape back-up and recovery across IP infrastructures.
Sandy Helton, president and chief executive officer of SAN Valley, said that what makes the SL1000 gateway a winner is that it provides secure cost-effective methods of storage -- without disruption of exisiting SAN infrastructures.
SL1000 also received warm support from an analyst.
"SAN Valley Systems is poised to deliver an IP-SAN product that will integrate easily into existing networks, and they have provisioned for many of the issues facing this technology today," stated Steve Duplessie, an analyst at Enterprise Storage Group. "The impact this technology will have on the industry will be the beginning of the globalization of networks, delivering to the enterprise industry unlimited access to data from anywhere on the planet."
The storage arena and its two main methods network -attached storage (NAS) and SANs have created quite a buzz in the past few months, having gained momentum from the S torage Networking World Spring 2001 in April.
A SAN is a separate network apart from a company's LAN (local area network) that allows servers to talk and work with each other with what is usually the Fibre Channel protocol. NAS, Network Appliance's specialty, uses a dedicated storage device, typically a server with a host of RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks) storage capacity, that is attached to the network. Given those two styles, companies have two choices for their large data storage needs -- pick up NAS devices to work with the LAN or build a SAN to back up the LAN.
While experts may be hard pressed to prove which method is better than the other (the argument has spawned enough debate), it is not unthinkable that the two may one day work together.
And certainly, the market potential is there. Gartner Dataquest thinks the
SAN marketplace will grow 89 percent compounded annually between 1999 and 2003; IDC says SANs are expected to grow ten-fold by 2002; as for NAS, Dataquest said the market for those appliances is expected to grow from $1.4 billion in 2000 to $7.4 billion in 2004, as demand for greater network storage increases.
Though a smaller player than the Ciscos, EMCs and Brocades of the world, SAN Valley is no less involved in the sector. The firm SAN Valley Systems joined the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) iSCSI Group in April. The iSCSI Group, a new group within the SNIA IP Storage Forum, was formed to promote iSCSI as the standard for transmitting block-level storage data over native IP storage area networks.