Intransa Promises ‘IP SAN for the Masses’

Pledging to deliver “IP SANs for the masses,” Intransa claims it has developed the first enterprise-class IP-based Storage Area Network.

Intransa’s IP5000 Storage System extends the benefits of SANs to a broad range of applications and user environments for about one-fifth the cost of current SAN products, according to the company. The system scales from 3 to 10 terabytes of total capacity initially and leverages existing Ethernet and IP networks to provide administrators a familiar solution that enables them to add highly available storage without concern for cost or complexity.

With the IP5000, “The benefits of networked storage are now available to a much broader range of users and applications,” asserts Intransa. Leveraging the low cost and maturity of IP networking, Intransa contends the IP5000 is ideally suited for large email environments using Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes, for large data stores built around Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle databases, and for facilitating the data management and disaster recovery strategies associated with more functional, mission-important corporate data.

“Current economic conditions are forcing end users to demand more value for every IT dollar they spend,” notes Eric Sheppard, a senior analyst at IDC. “By providing the ability to create and manage large pools of storage via high volume components like Ethernet and ATA, Intransa is well positioned to capitalize on this trend.”

The IP5000 is based on Intransa’s IntraStor architecture, which the company says provides intelligent, self-healing, and self-managing features that free up IT resources. The IP5000 installs easily and scales by simply attaching additional storage or controller modules to the Ethernet network, the company claims.

“Our focus has been on developing a cost-effective, quickly deployable, and easily managed networked storage solution that makes the benefits of SANs practical for entry-level and mid-tier enterprise applications,” states Intransa CTO Peter Wang. “By transforming the way networked storage systems are designed, we’re able to extend the benefits of SAN technology to customers who previously may not have deployed SAN solutions due to their cost and complexity.”

The IP5000 Storage System consists of independent storage controllers and disk enclosures that are connected through a standard Layer 2 Gigabit Ethernet Switch. By keeping the controllers independent from the ATA disk drives, customers have the ability to separately increase performance and capacity as needed without disrupting the application.

Intransa’s StorControl graphical management tool enables customers to manage, monitor, and administer an IP5000 Storage System from any Windows-based workstation in the network. The virtual volume management capabilities allow storage administrators to view all elements of the system and just “drag and drop” to add, delete, resize, or mirror volumes, and to assign or reassign host read/write access.

The University of Michigan, 3Com, and BlueStar Solutions are currently testing the IP5000.

“Our storage demands are currently growing at a rate of 8 TB per month,” says Bill Augustadt, CTO of BlueStar Solutions, “so we need a flexible and powerful network storage solution. We decided to test the Intransa IP5000 and have been impressed with how easy it is to install and manage within our existing network infrastructure. It also reliably and cost-effectively handles our data applications, such as archiving, offloading, and disaster recovery.”

The IP5000 Storage System, expected to ship in June, will carry a price tag of $62,500 for a 3.2 TB unit.

Analyst Claims Intransa Poised for Early iSCSI Adopters

In a recent report on Intransa, Enterprise Storage Group technology analyst Steve Kenniston wrote, “The value that SANs bring to the enterprise has proven itself over the past two years. The key today is how to take advantage of these values at a reasonable cost for both the hardware and deployment. iSCSI has made it more affordable and easier to deploy a SAN — and extend the benefits of SAN to the outermost reaches of the enterprise.

“Intransa will be delivering the IP5000 though strategic VARs and systems integrators at roughly two cents [per] megabyte for a full 3.2TB solution. ESG has always believed that iSCSI has a solid place in the datacenter. Today there are only a few vendors providing iSCSI targets, and most recently Intransa has received the Microsoft logo. Because of this, Intransa is poised well to be adopted early by users heading down the iSCSI road.”

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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