JNI’s New HBAs Seek Sweet Spot in SMB Market

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JNI , which makes equipment that connects heterogeneous systems to be part of the same storage area network (SAN) , has completed a new line of speedy host bus adapters that run at 2GB and are easier to install and configure, according to the company.

Host bus adapters provide input/output (I/O) processing and physically connect servers and storage devices. Software in HBAs manage the adapters, which are attached to each server. They provide storage management capabilities such as load balancing, fail-over, and SAN administration.

San Diego-based JNI argues that its new ZStar series of HBAs opens up the storage consolidation and management benefits of SANs to areas that have been priced out of the Fibre Channel SAN market in the past.

Aimed at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the new ZStar series is interoperable with Windows servers and storage devices. The ZStar HBAs are designed to lower the cost and difficulty associated with stitching resources together in Fibre Channel SANs.

JNI, acquired August 28 by Applied Micro Circuits for $190 million in cash, sits behind such vendors as Emulex , QLogic , and HP in the HBA market, according to Gartner, but hopes to spruce up its portfolio with the new products tailored
for Windows operating environments.

JNI’s ZStar HBAs includes two models: the Z210, a single port 2Gb HBA for the PCI-X bus, and the dual port Z220, which also features PCI-X connectivity. Both HBAs are backward compatible to 32-bit PCI and 1Gb environments.

The new HBAs include the company’s EZ Fibre software, which automatically configures SAN topology, link speed, and LUN discovery and mapping. The EZ Fibre software has also been updated for Windows, making it easier for SAN administrators to change configuration specifications for Microsoft software.

The ZStar HBAs also boast a performance tuning perk in EZ Fibre that enables the user to tune I/O performance by selecting from a list of server application environments, including streaming (larger blocks with sustained I/O), transactional (smaller blocks with variable I/O), or minimal CPU utilization (to conserve the CPU for other tasks).

The new ZStar HBAs are compatible with Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows 2003 32-bit and 64-bit Server and Enterprise Server OS platforms. JNI supports a wide variety of Fibre Channel SAN hardware and software, including servers and storage from Dell, HP, Hitachi Data Systems, and IBM; switches and hubs from rivals Brocade, McDATA, Gadzoox, and Q Logic; and storage applications from IBM HDS, Legato, VERITAS, CA, and Microsoft.

The JNI ZStar Fibre Channel HBAs will be available through JNI’s resellers later this month priced at under $800 per port.

This story originally appeared on Internet News.

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Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for CIO.com covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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