StoneFly Introduces Windows Server 2003 to Affordable IP Storage

Three-year-old StoneFly Networks is riding the wave of corporate interest in storage systems that are easy to deploy and maintain, and that reliably shuttle mission-critical data back and forth.

The company’s affordable IP storage area network (SAN) products are among a growing number of storage systems that work seamlessly with the highly anticipated storage services in Windows Server 2003. StoneFly also recently announced that it has completed testing of Microsoft’s new iSCSI initiator, due out later this month.

San Diego, Calif.-based StoneFly supplies IP SANs primarily for mid-tier deployments. This includes medium-sized businesses as well as large corporations with departmental networks in the insurance, healthcare, education, and financial services sectors, among others. In April, the company released its flagship product, the Storage Concentrator i2000 FailOver Cluster, available in SCSI and Fibre Channel implementations.

Residing on the network under one IP address, the i2000 provides redundant storage to critical applications. The system is comprised of two storage appliances — an active unit that handles the typical storage chores and a standby appliance that replicates the same data.

If the active appliance is brought off-line due to a Gigabit Ethernet port failure, disk access error, or network interruption, the standby unit takes over in a process that is transparent to the user.

StoneFly’s CTO, Bill Huber, says the $14,995 (starting price) i2000, as well as the other products in the Storage Concentrator line, integrate neatly with the newfound storage management features native to Windows Server 2003.

Together, he notes, they provide businesses with a robust, easy-to-manage storage infrastructure. This enables IT administrators to handle a variety of storage-related maintenance and monitoring activities, from establishing and resizing virtual hard drives to running volume shadow services.

Bob Preston, the company’s VP of Marketing, reports that customers such as Southern Insurance, Safeco Insurance, and LifeCare Assurance, as well as 60 others, have already made room for StoneFly in their server rooms. The cost-savings from IP-based storage, currently under 1 cent per MB, is a driving factor for most businesses.

Another factor is the high availability of storage assets, particularly in businesses with data-intensive workloads. The insurance industry, according to Mr. Preston, is particularly demanding on storage systems. StoneFly’s IP SAN products’ combination of network-friendly architecture and data integrity features handle claim forms, digital image attachments, and records retention for thousands of customers.

The StoneFly Storage Concentrators portfolio also includes the i1500SC, priced at $9,995, and the i1500FS, which lists for $12,995. All three appliances are available now. The company also offers complete IP SAN systems at a starting price of $13,995, with storage capacities ranging from 1 TB up to 10 TB.

This story originally appeared on Enterprise IT Planet.

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Pedro Hernandez
Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to Datamation, eWEEK, and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro.

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