Auspex Announces HA Platform for Network Storage Controller

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Auspex Systems, Inc. has announced the availability of the Auspex NSc3000V, a high availability version of its NSc3000 Network Storage Controller for supplying file services to Storage Area Networks (SANs). The new HA platform leverages the Auspex controller’s unique ability to lower storage costs in a SAN environment while simultaneously ensuring a continuous data path from the SAN to the end user, thus extending the HA features of the SAN to ensure uninterrupted file delivery. The system will ship later this month.

The NSc3000V platform consists of two Auspex NSc3000 controllers linked by the company’s ServerGuardV software. The controllers serve files directly from the SAN via Network Attached Storage (NAS) protocols, eliminating the expense of purchasing and managing a conventional NAS appliance with attached disk subsystems. ServerGuardV supplies a “heartbeat” between controllers as well as the industry’s first storage-agnostic failover, allowing redundant components or the entire controller to fail over regardless of the SAN subsystem’s proprietary failover implementation.

Like the base NSc3000 controller, the NSc3000V platform operates with equipment from any SAN vendor, including Hitachi Data Systems, LSI Logic, EMC and Compaq. It also works with disparate SAN storage subsystems simultaneously. These industry-exclusive capabilities free system administrators from proprietary solutions and simplify file services for enterprises with heterogeneous SANs.

“High availability SANs ensure continuous access to the application server, but enterprises that elect to file-share off the SAN from a NAS gateway need to extend redundancy and automatic failover to the gateway if they want to guarantee non-stop performance to their end users,” said Robert Passmore, a research director at Gartner Group in Stamford, CT. “Given the cost of downtime in lost productivity and potentially lost business, this can be a crucial step in keeping enterprise networks running smoothly.”

In addition to clustering controllers and providing automatic controller failover in the event of a system failure, the Auspex NSc3000V platform maximizes uptime with features that include:

* Failover of malfunctioning components, including power supplies, NIC cards and fibre channel host bus adapters.

* Load balancing capabilities between the NIC cards, the HBAs and the two data paths that each controller provides to the SAN disk arrays.

* No-downtime upgrades and maintenance, provided by an active-active configuration that enables one controller to assume the work of the second.

* Remote mirroring for near-instant recovery from local disasters such as fires, made possible by the ability to situate the system’s two controllers up to 500 meters apart.

* The ability to compensate for RAID controller failure in a SAN high availability environment by automatically failing over to the remaining available path or paths to the data, regardless of the SAN vendor failover mechanism.

The NSc3000V platform also includes robust storage virtualization features that enhance performance, including Auspex-exclusive “Extended Virtual Partitions” that create more SAN paths to the application server’s file system by allowing multiple Logical Unit Numbers (LUNs) to be striped into a single logical volume and thereby spread workload across multiple RAID controllers.

In addition, the NSc3000 and NSc3000V provide secure UNIX, Windows, Linux and Mac OS X data sharing from a single data image, eliminating the need to create and maintain duplicate data sets.

“Enterprises today are looking for ways to reduce the costs of managing their data assets, but at the same time they need to meet end users’ demands for continuous availability of information,” said Jim Garvey, vice president of engineering for Auspex Systems. “Our NSc3000V platform fulfills both requirements by providing a highly available, cost-effective means of serving files in a SAN environment, and it is also the only solution capable of providing these services for any homogeneous or heterogeneous SAN.”

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