By Heidi Biggar
Seattle-based Advanced Digital Information Corp. (ADIC) is taking a new approach to hierarchical storage management (HSM). Leveraging its existing HSM, tape, and file-system technologies, the company has developed a storage management suite that it says will enable end users to make more-efficient use of their storage area network (SAN) resources.
"We've taken existing technology and implemented it in a new suite that solves the problem of managing terabytes of storage," says Paul Rutherford, VP of technology and software at ADIC. "It's not expensive to buy a terabyte of storage, but it is expensive to own and manage that terabyte over time."
ADIC's StorNext Management Suite sees disk and tape resources as a single volume.
The StorNext Management Suite combines the company's CentraVision file system with its Infinite Storage Manager. CentraVision provides shared access to files or file sets, and the storage manager directs files to various storage resources based on pre-determined policies. Policy engines are integrated into both components.
The storage manager concept is similar to HSM, but with one key difference, explains Rutherford. The policy engine is in front of the disk device, not behind it, which means it sees disk and tape resources as a single volume (see figure). Files can be moved in and out of the systembefore they go to diskaccording to pre-established policies. Where data is placed is determined by such factors as file age, size, and use.
For example, end users can direct large MPEG files to RAID-3 devices and smaller log files to JBOD or mirrored JBOD. "This way, you don't end up with a bunch of junk out there, with files on the wrong type of disk," says Rutherford. "Native file systems from SGI, Sun, or Microsoft don't allow you to do this. In those environments, you really only get one choice."
StorNext Management Suite pricing varies, depending on the type and number of clients (Windows, Solaris, Irix, or Linux) and the amount of capacity being shared. A four-node Windows configuration runs about $20,000, a 10TB SAN version about $60,000.
ADIC will initially sell the suite into its own installed based of HSM/archival customers as well as into a variety of content delivery markets, including digital broadcast and rich-media creation.
Early last month, ADIC released version 2.0 of CentraVision SAN file system, which allows multiple users to share access to data in a SAN. New to CentraVision 2.0 is automated high-speed fail-over and support for Sun Solaris and Red Hat Linux. The software's new fail-over capability makes the journaled file system available to the standby system within seconds of the primary host failure.