By Heidi Biggar
At Storage Networking World earlier this month, Integrix spin-off iQstor Networks debuted a family of integrated storage systems that scale from 8TB to 35TB. Initial hardware offerings include two disk systems (R1900 and J1800) and a "SAN-in-a-box" (iQSAN). iQstor will bundle software that enables features such as virtualization, replication, snapshot, backup, and capacity management (see chart). Software modules can be purchased on a "pay-as-you-go" basis.
In a market ripe with competition, iQstor believes it will be able to differentiate itself in at least two ways: the ability to provide a single-vendor solution and lower prices than competitive products. Pricing has not yet been announced.
"The storage subsystem is going to be redefined in the future," says Jonathan Kong, iQstor founder, executive vice president, and chief technology officer. "We think that the customer view of storage will be as a single, seamless, automated systemwhere all you have to do is connect it to your network."
"The question really isn't whether iQstor can price its system competitively, but whether the market can support yet another vendor," says Steve Duplessie, senior analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group, an industry consulting firm in Milford, MA. "It will be brutally tough," he says. "No one is getting into the hardware RAID business these days, for good reason."
According to a recent storage survey conducted by Robert W. Baird, when it comes to hardware, end users tend to favor incumbents over newer technologies, and they look for products with proven service track records.
iQstor plans a series of software enhancements over the next several quarters and will be able to serve data at the block (i.e., SAN) or file (i.e., NAS) level by year-end. An integrated SAN/NAS product is slated for first quarter 2003.
Hardware building blocks
- Hardware RAID with all levels
- 15 HDDs or SSDs in 3U form factor
- Support for up to 120 drives
- Support for four host connections and two FC-AL disk loops at 2Gbps speeds
- Support for eight host connections and four FC-AL disk loops at 2Gbps speeds
- Support for up to 480 drives
- Enhanced discovery
- Centralized management of other components (e.g., switches, servers)
Storage Virtualization Services (SVS)
- LUN mapping/masking
Managed Snapshot Services (MSS)
- Instantaneous, persistent, and writable
- User command or time-triggered
Remote Replication Services (RSS)
- Fibre Channel-based
- Serverless migration among heterogeneous storage systems
Extended Caching Services (ECS)
- Level-2 block cache
- File cache
Intelligent Capacity Management (ICM)
- File-system reporting
- Policy-based LUN expansion
Data Backup Services (DBS)
- Compatible with leading backup applications
Note: Extended Caching Services will not be available until Q3.