Apple Airs Storage File Server Software

Apple on Monday continued its foray into the enterprise storage market with a new storage area network (SAN) file system tailored to stream video for about $1,000.

Xsan, designed to undercut more costly file systems from the likes of IBM , SGI , and VERITAS Software , is a 64-bit cluster file system for Mac OS X that provides concurrent file-level read/write access to shared volumes over Fibre Channel .

Apple Xsan Data Center

Apple Xsan Data Center

Xsan is geared to support shared data for video workflow and storage consolidation, and is meant to be used in conjunction with the company’s Xserve server and Xserve RAID hardware.

The software enables up to 64 video professionals to simultaneously access a single storage volume that supports multiple high-bandwidth video streams for efficient workflow in video and film editing and motion graphics creation.

At $999, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s Xsan is an example of an enterprise product being tailored for cost-conscious businesses that have hefty requirements but need to satisfy them at a reasonable price to mind the budget.

Pricing software systems such as Xsan under $1,000 is comparable to the strategies of systems vendors such as Dell , IBM, and HP , which have all designed servers for under $1,000.

Apple is hoping to build on that success in the digital graphics and video realm, as SAN management is considered an important aspect of making networks operate efficiently.

Tom Goguen, director of server software product marketing at Apple, says the product is a new piece to the storage puzzle for Apple.

“The thing about customer base for video is that they have huge storage needs and huge demands for storage performance,” explains Goguen. “If you want to do HD [high definition] video editing today as part of a workflow so you’re not just one person doing it, you need to have a SAN file system to make that happen — specifically, a Fibre Channel-based SAN solution with good, solid Fibre Channel storage attached to it.”

Goguen says Apple believes its Xsan is a compelling offering because it doesn’t cost the thousands of dollars that traditional file systems from other storage vendors cost.

Xsan features metadata controller failover and Fibre Channel multipathing to ensure high availability, while the software’s file-level locking perk allows multiple systems to read and write concurrently to the same volume.

Also, setup, administration, and monitoring are built into the Xsan Admin tool, which also provides volume management, SAN file system configuration, and remote monitoring in one application.

Advanced Digital Information Corporation (ADIC) has made its StorNext Management Suite (SNMS) data management software fully interoperable with Xsan, which means that users with an Xsan-hosted SAN can now add UNIX, Windows, or Linux platforms to it and support all the hosts with a common file system.

A beta version of Xsan is available immediately, and the finished product will be available in the fall for $999.

Story courtesy of Internet News.

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