Enterprise Storage Snapshots – 11/14/03

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Enterprise Storage Snapshots offers a weekly wrap-up of what’s going on in the storage industry.Here are our storage news highlights for the second week of November: Nexsan gives birth to ‘ATAbaby Twins,’ CATC
introduces a new protocol analyzer with SATA-I and SATA-II support, Winchester Systems launches a new ‘SAN-In-A-Box’ line of storage systems, Finisar adds Gigabit Ethernet support to its Xgig SAN Analyzer, and Imation enters into an exclusive distribution agreement with Exabyte.

Nexsan Gives Birth to Twins – ‘Baby and the Beast’

Nexsan Technologies has released a new dual-chassis configuration of its ATAbaby storage array solution for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Providing up to 2.4 terabytes in a compact 2U and mirrored RAID 5 configuration, the ‘ATAbaby Twins’ dual-chassis bundle is being marketed as an ideal tape autoloader replacement for SMB customers that require a faster, more reliable backup solution than tape.

The new ATAbaby bundle fully supports the storage services of Windows Server 2003 and offers seamless integration for customers operating in any Windows Server environment. Applications for the appliance range from being deploying as a local high-speed, disk-to-disk backup device to serving at a remote site for long-distance backup or remote data replication over IP or DSL connections.

“ATAbaby Twins is another nail in the coffin of tape-based backup,” declares Diamond Lauffin, Nexsan’s Senior Executive Vice President. “No tape
loader or library can deliver the same level of data protection and availability at anywhere close to this price.”

Nexsan’s ATAbaby Twins is currently available with a list price of $5995.

First the Baby, Then the Beast

Nexsan also announced that its ATABeast disk vault is now shipping in volume and is available worldwide. ATABeast enables large file repositories for thousands of users to be stored on a single system, and is designed as the ideal choice for high capacity applications such as on-line storage, D2D, Digital Video, CCTV, and online archives.

The enterprise-class RAID array features redundant, hot swappable, high-speed ATA disk drives with a high density per square inch — 10.5 drives per U to be exact, or 3.15TB per U, using 300GB drives.

The new disk vault ships with Nexsan’s WorldView software, which allows users to manage and configure multiple units from a single GUI.

ATABeast is currently available at a price of approximately $47,000 for a 12.6TB configuration, which works out to just under $4 per gigabyte.


CATC Steps Up to SATA II

Computer Access Technology Corporation (CATC) has expanded its line of Serial ATA (SATA) protocol analyzers and exercisers with the introduction of the new CATC SATracer 3G, a multiprotocol analyzer that offers support for both SATA-I and SATA-II. SATracer 3G can capture, decode, and analyze traffic at speeds up to 3 Gbps, enabling designers and storage device manufacturers to accelerate the development and delivery of new products.

SATracer 3G’s developer-focused feature set includes in-depth performance metrics and compatibility with both SATA 1.5 and 3Gbps transfer rates, full support for Serial ATA-II Extensions (command queuing and port multiplier), and ATAPI command decoding. An upgrade is also available that will enable the SATracer 3G to simultaneously capture both SATA and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) traffic.

“As the completion of the 3Gbps Serial ATA specification nears, the availability of supporting test equipment with such capabilities becomes instrumental,” states Knut Grimsrud, chairman of the SATA Working Group and Intel senior principal engineer. “By providing an analysis platform that spans both 1.5 and 3Gbps signaling, CATC is enabling today’s developers to prepare for the next generation of Serial ATA signaling speed.”

SATracer 3G is based on CATC’s Universal Protocol Analysis System (UPAS 10000), a high bandwidth hardware platform capable of supporting multi-port analysis, traffic generation, and anticipated future SATA enhancements. The UPAS 10K platform also supports Fibre Channel, InfiniBand, SAS, and PCI Express (PCI X).

Delivery of the analyzer will begin in December. Current SATracer customers will be able to upgrade their existing systems to SATracer 3G at that time, and will also be able to purchase optional SAS 3G support and multiple channel support.


Winchester Launches ‘SAN-In-A-Box’ Line of Systems

In an effort to offer a more affordable and less complex alternative to traditional SANs, Winchester Systems has introduced a new family of “SAN-In-A-Box” FlashDisk storage solutions. The products are designed to deliver the benefits of “shared storage pools” at a low cost, and are specifically targeted at small to medium-sized storage environments.

With SCSI-based models starting at $14,995 and Fibre Channel models starting at $19,995, the “SAN-In-A-Box” products combine high performance disk arrays with inexpensive price tags and a low level of complexity. The products are designed to install in under one hour and are completely plug-and-play out of the box, requiring no software drivers.

Up to twelve servers of any mix of brand or operating system can be connected, providing full SAN capabilities without the complicated SAN infrastructure needed with most SAN products. No switches, additional HBAs, or software are necessary, according to Winchester.

“SAN-In-A-Box” storage is managed through FlashConsole, a centralized storage management interface that can allocate storage in any amount by partitioning the storage into multiple logical volumes. Each volume can then be assigned to a specific host server or multiple servers, and can be connected via point-to-point SCSI or Fibre Channel connections.

19 different “SAN-In-A-Box” models are currently available for providing shared storage pools for all open servers, with modular designs that allow for affordably scaling server connectivity or storage capacity. The products are also compatible with industry-standard Fibre Channel switches and backup and replication software to further expand networked-attached storage (NAS) environments.


Finisar’s Xgig SAN Analyzer Adds Gigabit Ethernet Support

Finisar Corporation has upgraded its multiprotocol Xgig Analyzer for storage area networks (SANs) with added support for Gigabit Ethernet. The blade-based analyzer now supports both 1 and 2 Gig Fibre Channel as well as emerging IP/Gigabit Ethernet SANs that utilize iSCSI, FCIP, FCP-4, or FCIP-SCSI protocols.

Xgig Analyzer 1.5 delivers support for full-duplex gigabit links while monitoring, validating, and assisting with quick resolution of network infrastructure operations. Instead of spending hours sorting through bit- and byte-level data, Xgig’s high-level views help administrators quickly get to the root of performance issues, according to the company. The software automatically searches and processes every record in a trace file to help pinpoint specific events.

“This latest enrichment of our Xgig product line further consolidates our position as the premier provider of SAN monitoring and analysis tools,” states Kevin Cornell, Sr. Vice President, General Manager Network Tools Division, Finisar. “Using the Xgig platform, users can monitor and troubleshoot their SANs at the deepest levels, finding problems and bottlenecks that other products would miss.”

The Xgig Chassis is currently available in three versions: with a 4-blade rackmount or bench-top chassis, with a 2 blade rackmount or portable chassis, or as a single blade chassis.


Imation Inks Exclusive Distribution Deal with Exabyte

Imation Corp. has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement and made an equity investment in Exabyte Corp. to the tune of $20 million. The agreement establishes Imation as the exclusive worldwide distributor of Exabyte brand media products. Under the agreement, Exabyte will sell all of its media products exclusively to Imation, with Imation managing the Exabyte media brand and providing sales, marketing, and distribution services for Exabyte media products worldwide, including the VXA line.

“Imation is committed to delivering the broadest portfolio of removable data storage media to the market as we leverage our efficient supply chain and
global distribution capabilities. Adding the Exabyte VXA line to our portfolio is a powerful statement of our commitment to invest in profitable growth opportunities, and we expect it to be accretive,” states Frank Russomanno, president, Imation’s Data Storage and Information Management business.

“Leading storage OEMs, end-user customers, and distributors continue to trust Imation’s industry leadership — from technology development and manufacturing know-how to our broad portfolio and extensive customer experience — to meet their needs for high-quality, reliable removable data storage media,” Russomanno continues.

Exabyte’s VXA Packet Technology has found a niche in the fast growing small and mid-sized server markets that require high-capacity, high-performance data
backup and disaster recovery solutions at an affordable price. During the last 14 months, Exabyte has signed nine new OEM agreements and enrolled more than 700 new resellers for its VXA products. To date, Exabyte has reported $32 million in storage media revenues for 2003.


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