Vendors move to 2Gbps FC
The move to second-generation 2Gbps Fibre Channel is under way, with a number of component and subsystem vendors releasing upgraded versions of their products.
For example, LSI Logic recently went into full production of its 2Gbps single-channel (Model 40919), dual-channel (Model 44929), and quad-channel (Model 7004G2) Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs), which are designed for the PCI bus. The single- and dual-channel versions come in a low-profile form factor.
The boards are based on LSI's GigBlaze core technology and Fusion-MPT architecture. The company claims performance of more than 72,000 I/Os per second with the dual-channel adapter (using small-block reads and Intel's IOmeter benchmark test), and 100,000 I/Os per second with the 4-channel configuration. The Fusion-MPT architecture provides a common binary across the company's Fibre Channel and SCSI products and will be extended in the future to support emerging interfaces such as InfiniBand and Serial ATA.
The 2Gbps HBAs support the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) HBA API, which provides a standard adap -ter interface for Fibre Channel networks. LSI's Fibre Channel HBAs are based on ARM processor technology and LSI's Fibre Channel chips. www.lsilogic.com.
Also on the HBA front, JNI has begun shipping the 2Gbps FibreStar FCC-6460 Fibre Channel adapters for the CompactPCI interface. Leveraging its strengths in the Solaris market, JNI is targeting the adapters at Sun's UltraSPARC III-based Fire Midframe servers, including the 3800, 4800, and 6800.
The FCC-6460 is based on JNI's 2Gbps, 66MHz/64-bit Emerald IV Fibre Channel ASIC controller, dubbed the JNIC-1460. The HBAs support switched-fabric topologies as well as arbitrated loop and point-to-point configurations. The adapters also support IP, SCSI, FC-Tape, automatic rate negotiation between 1Gbps and 2Gbps devices, and the SNIA HBA API. www.jni.com.
Disk enclosure and subsystem manufacturers are also on the move to 2Gbps Fibre Channel. For example, Eurologic now has an end-to-end 2Gbps Fibre Channel version of its SANbloc enclosure. Using its Quad Loop feature, which allows connection to four hosts, the company claims up to 700MBps throughput rates. Like all other 2Gbps products, the box is downward- compatible with 1Gbps devices.
Entry-level pricing for a JBOD configuration starts at $0.02 per MB with 14 73GB drives. A RAID implementation with 2Gbps Fibre Channel is due within the next month. www.eurologic.com.
ExaDrive Networks has added a 2Gbps Fibre Channel host interface card to its Diamond Series of RAID arrays, which are based on 80GB ATA disk drives. The company claims sustained data transfer rates of up to 195MBps. The basic configuration includes 1.9TB using 24 drives in a 3U 19-inch rack.
Via a second 2Gbps Fibre Channel port on the card, users can daisy-chain the RAID arrays for up to 28TB in a 44U rack. In addition, users can add an optional second host interface card for redundancy or increased throughput. The arrays can be configured as JBOD, RAID 0, or RAID 1 units.
ExaDrive "sums" or "aggregates" the performance of individual ATA drives through its Advanced Data Interface Technology (ADXT), which uses a "midplane" with custom ASICs, processors, and embedded software. Pricing starts at $40,000. www.exadrive.com.
NAS: lower prices, more software
Recent introductions in the low-end and midrange network-attached storage (NAS) market highlight the trend toward competitive pricing and, on the other end, the trend toward incorporating features typically found on high-end RAID arrays.
For example, FIA Storage Systems Group's 160GB POPnetserver 4000 NAS array is priced at $1,895, and a 320GB version is priced at $2,895. Both devices support RAID levels 0, 1, and 5. The 4000 comes in a 1U form factor and includes a 733MHz processor, 128MB of RAM, and 7,200rpm disk drives. Operating system support includes Windows 95/98/NT/2000, Unix, Linux, Apple, and Netware. The NAS servers are available directly from FIA or from Premio Computer or TigerDirect online. www.popnetserver.com.
On the software front, BigStorage recently enhanced its K2 NAS servers with high-availability features, including snapshot, fail-over, and replication options. Snapshots allow users to create read-only, point-in-time images of data. Fail-over allows one NAS engine to assume processing for another NAS engine in the case of a system failure, and replication enables the scheduled distribution and synchronization of file systems over networks. www.bigstorage.com.
Companies debut RAID/controllers
3ware's 4-port Escalade 7450 and 8-port Escalade 7850 "Storage Switches" are PCI IDE/ATA RAID controllers based on the company's 64-bit R5 Fusion ASICs. (The company refers to the controllers as "switches" because of its StorSwitch network packet-switch, or switched-fabric, design.)
3ware claims 60MBps sequential write performance, 70MBps with 64KB streaming writes, and 180MBps of 64KB streaming reads. All performance results are based on internal testing using the IOmeter benchmark and a RAID 5 configuration. The 7450 and 7850 are priced at $475 and $675, respectively. www.3ware.com.
Trimm Technologies' Castle II disk array uses Infortrend's Sentinel RAID controllers and eight to 48 SCSI 3 LVD disk drives. The drives support a maximum 160MBps throughput or a sustained rate of 100MBps to 145MBps. The system can be attached to SCSI or Fibre Channel hosts. All of the primary components, including RAID controllers, power supplies, and cooling fans, are redundant and hot-swappable. www.trimm.com.
Advanced Computer & Network Corp.'s JetStor III U160 (Ultra160 LVD SCSI interface) and JetStor III FC/U160 (with a Fibre Channel host interface) are based on a 64-bit RISC processor, cable-less backplane design, dual host connections, and redundant, hot-swappable RAID con trollers, power supplies, and fans. The array houses up to 1.44TB (using 180GB drives) in a 3U form factor and can be configured with up to 512MB of cache. www.acnc.com.
At the low end of the RAID market, Cremax USA's Stardom RII-U3 RAID array, priced at $3,900, is designed in a pedestal enclosure and is targeted primarily at Macintosh and small office/home office environments. The company's RIX-U3, priced at $4,100, comes in a 4U rack-mount configuration. Both arrays are based on the Ultra 3 (160MBps) SCSI and Ultra ATA/IDE 66/100 interfaces as well as a 100MHz Power PC 603E processor. Features include online auto rebuild, online expansion, and redundant power supplies and fans. www.cremax.com.
Auspex expands NAS designs
Auspex has introduced a modular design for its NS3000 network-attached storage (NAS) file servers that allows the filers to fit into a standard rack. The NS3000 also now supports dual power supplies. The design separates the filer into components that can be rack-mounted independently or installed in a rack-mountable cabinet. A Fibre Channel-based configuration was slated for release this month.
The design will allow Auspex to separate data retrieval and delivery operations from the data storage subsystem, according to the company. The new design and related modifications allow the servers to retrieve data from third-party direct-attached storage and SANs, according to the company.
Separately, the NS3000 NAS filer passed verification tests confirming compatibility with Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional/Server, Exchange Server 5.5, SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition, and Internet Information Server 5.0. www.auspex.com.
Veritas ships snapshot, replicator software
Designed to help storage administrators manage backup, reporting, and disaster recovery, Veritas last month began shipping FlashSnap and Volume Replicator 3.2 software.
Unlike hardware-based approaches to these functions, which often work only in homogeneous storage array and/or operating system environments, Veritas' software works with a mix of arrays and operating systems.
FlashSnap provides up to 32 point-in-time "snapshot" copies of data for applications such as backup or analysis. The 3.2 version of Volume Replicator is designed for applications such as disaster recovery. Enhancements include a faster "failback" process, which moves applications between primary and secondary locations in the event of failures. Volume Replicator can be integrated with Veritas' software clustering technology and Volume Manager software. FlashSnap and Volume Replicator 3.2 are priced from $3,000 and $9,000, respectively. www.veritas.com.
Prisa augments SAN management software
Prisa Networks has added a configuration tool to its VisualSAN Network Manage ment Suite. (For more information on storage area network [SAN] management software, see the Special Report in this issue, p. 21.)
VisualSAN Configuration Manager (CM) captures a picture of a SAN at a user-defined point in time for comparison, reference, and/or replication. It also provides administrators with the ability to import or export a specified SAN configuration and topology to other environments for replication or comparison. The software can capture SAN details such as topology, zone configuration, LUN information, and firmware levels. The software can be used by IT administrators as well as customer support organizations. www.prisa.com.
FalconStor upgrades virtualization software
FalconStor Software has released the 2.0 version of its virtualization software, which also supports IP-based storage. Enhancements include
- Support for Solaris in the IPStor Server code;
- The ability to connect hosts to IPStor via Fibre Channel and/or iSCSI Target Mode;
- Support for the v2.4 Linux kernel; and
- Oracle Snapshot Agent code.
Existing features of IPStor include virtualization, mirroring, replication, zero-impact backup/restore, and security. (For more information on IPStor, see the Case Study in this issue, "Bell Microproducts relies on IP storage for disaster recovery," p. 64.) www.falconstor.com.
Trio enhances SRM suites
As evidence of the growing importance of storage resource management (SRM) software, three vendors recently upgraded their SRM code. For example, Sun last month began shipping Sun HighGround Storage Resource Manager (SRM) Version 5.0, which includes enhancements for Oracle and Sybase databases.
The software provides consolidated views of servers, as well as storage utilization, consumption, and availability data. Users can centrally manage enterprise data resources and monitor data thresholds. A global reporting option is available for unifying and centralizing data collected from multiple servers for monitoring storage service levels and tracking storage growth trends.
Sun HighGround SRM Version 5.0 is priced from $1,000. Pricing is calculated on a per-managed-element basis. The global reporting option is $2,000 per server. www.sun.com.
Also last month, SRM vendor TrelliSoft introduced StorageAlert/DB for Oracle. The software reports on database statistics to enable storage management.
StorageAlert/DB lets administrators manage storage by application database and by user. It also allows administrators to predict tablespace failures and find unnecessary space usage by locating unused space and identifying fast-growing objects. In addition, users can plan for capacity increases by tracking trends in storage growth of specific objects.
The software also enables storage usage "chargeback" by department or specific user. It is currently available for Oracle only but will be expanded to support other database management systems in the future. www.trellisoft.com.
Also on the SRM front, NTP Software is shipping version 3.0 of its Quota & File Sentinel. "This policy-based storage management software enables system administrators to enforce appropriate usage policies so they can preserve system performance and availability," says Bruce Backs, president and founder of NTP.
The software is installed using embedded push technology in NTP's enterprise application services extension (EASE) platform, which provides a unified management infrastructure for distributing application configurations. The software also provides provisioning, control, performance management, data protection, reporting, and cost allocation.
The software features the following:
- Up to 200 thresholds per disk quota policy;
- Filtering flexibility on file control policies;
- Configurable policy-based rules management;
- Automatic application of quota and file management policies to subdirectories and new users;
- Templates for auditing and prohibiting any file types, such as MPEGs;
- Reporting module and Web-reporting engine; and
- Web interface displaying quota and disk/storage resource info.
Quota & File Sentinel is priced at $995 per server. www.ntpsoftware.com.
Sony unveils slimmer 2U AIT tape library
Using a carousel design, Sony's StorStation Model LIB-162 AIT tape library comes in a 2U form factor and can house one or two 3.5-inch AIT-2 drives and 16 cartridge slots for more than 2TB of capacity. Throughput rate is 112GB per hour. Capacity and throughput specs assume 2.6:1 data compression.
Sony bundles NovaStor's TapeCopy v2.0 Library Edition tape conversion and duplication software with the LIB-162.
Pricing for the LIB-162 was not available at press time, but Sony's LIB-152 ranges from $6,000 (one AIT-1 or AIT-2 drive) to $8,000 (two drives) for a unit with 15 slots. Capacity ranges from 1.4TB to 1.95TB, and transfer rates range from 74.9GB per hour to 112GB per hour (assuming 2.6:1 compression).
Priced at $17,000, Sony's LIB-304 includes two AIT-2 drives (expandable up to four drives) and 30 cartridge slots. At 2.6:1 compression, the capacity is 3.9TB and the transfer rate is 224.6GB per hour. www.sony.com.
Benchmark's DLT loader squeezes into 2U
Also part of the trend toward small-form-factor backup devices, Bench mark's ValuSmart Tape 640 Blade is a DLT autoloader that comes in a 2U (3.34 inches high) form factor with 320GB of native capacity and a transfer rate of 3MBps. Assuming 2:1 compression, capacity is 640GB and the transfer rate is 6MBps. The unit is based on a rotating carousel design.
The autoloader includes Benchmark's ValuSmart Tape 80 drive, a half-high DLT device, and eight cartridges. The drive is backward-compatible with DLT1 and DLT4000, uses DLTape IV media, and comes with a Wide Ultra SCSI-2 Low Voltage Differential (LVD) interface. www.4benchmark.com.
MaxOptix AIT loader: 1TB+ for less than $5,000
Based on Sony's Advanced Intelligent Tape (AIT) drive/media technology, MaxOptix has begun shipments of the 8PAC series of autoloaders. An AIT-1 version is priced at $3,495 (8PAC-1), while an AIT-2 configuration (8PAC-2) is priced at $4,995. Maximum capacity is 1.04TB and maximum backup rate is 56GB per hour using AIT-2 drives. www.maxoptix.com.
OnStream doubles ADR capacity
OnStream Data has doubled media capacity in its ADR2.60ide tape drive, which comes bundled with Yosemite Technologies' TapeWare XE software at an estimated street price of $499. Additional 60GB ADR2 cartridges are priced at $69 each, or $179 for a three-pack. (The 60GB capacity, and transfer rate of 5MBps, assumes 2:1 data compression.)
OnStream's ADR competes primarily with Ecrix VXA drives as well as DAT and Travan tape devices.
The ADR.60ide incorporates an IDE interface and OnStream's Advanced Digital Recording (ADR) technology, which writes eight tracks of data simultaneously.