Vixel ships embedded storage switch for 'SBOD'
Vixel has begun shipping to OEMs embedded Fibre Channel switches that, in the case of disk array subsystems, would be integrated behind the RAID controller (see figure). OEMs that are evaluating the back-end embedded switches include Avid Technologies, BlueArc, Compaq, JMR, NEC, Network Appliance, Nexsan, and Vitesse. (Network Appliance will reportedly use Vixel's ASIC implementation in a yet-to-be-released series of network-attached storage [NAS] filers.)
The back-end switchwhich is available in ASIC, blade, or 1U box designsis in contrast to front-end switches that sit between the array controller and host connections. The single-chip ASIC switch is based on Vixel's InSpeed technology and includes a crossbar switch and embedded SERDES.
The 2Gbps, 12-port Fibre Channel switch can be integrated into RAID, NAS, or tape subsystems. The switch is also available in an 8-port version, and a 20-port version is due sometime this fall.
In a RAID implementation, Vixel refers to the configuration as Switched Bunch of Disks (SBOD). Potential benefits include increased performance, reliability, and scalability, as well as lower cost vs. multi-controller configurations. www.vixel.com.
PCI-X FC HBAs due from Emulex, JNI
Emulex and JNI recently began shipments of PCI-X Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs). Emulex's 2Gbps midrange LightPulse LP982 and high-end LP9802 are the company's first to implement PCI-X (64-bit, 133MHz) in core silicon and to use Emulex's Pegasus ASIC. The two HBAs are based on the same chips and offer the same performance, but differ primarily in scalability and the breadth of operating system driver support. Emulex claims a 30% performance improvement over its previous-generation Fibre Channel PCI-X boards. www.emulex.com.
JNI's 2Gbps FCX-6562 (single port) and FCX2-6562 (dual port) Fibre Channel HBAs also support the 64-bit, 133MHz PCI-X bus. The HBAs are based on JNI's Emerald IV-x Fibre Channel controllers, which combine two Emerald IV controllers, a RISC processor, onboard memory, and native PCI-X support in one ASIC. www.jni.com.
Low-end NAS options expanding
FIA Storage Systems is shipping the POPnetserver 4500 NAS device for small to mid-sized companies. The 4500 has RAID support and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity in capacities ranging from 160GB ($1,899) to 480GB ($3,499).
The NAS device has four hot-swap drives based on quad ATA/100 technology in a 1U form factor. The 4500 uses a 900MHz CPU, 256MB RAM, and 7,200rpm disk drives. www.popnetserver.com.
ICP Electronics Inc. (IEI) recently launched its Disk Online Server NAS family in the US. Previously available only in Europe and Asia, the devices range from low-end (NAS-2000, 104R, and 2108) to enterprise systems (NAS-4000 and 4020).
RAID 0 and RAID 1 support is standard on all IEI NAS products, and RAID 5 is available on some devices. Gigabit Ethernet is available for the NAS-4020, which includes up to 640GB, four hot-swap IDE drives, and hot-swappable redundant power supplies. www.nasgenie.com.
SanDisk debuts flash storage
This month, SanDisk introduced a new line of solid-state flash storage products that includes CompactFlash cards (16MB to 512MB), PCMCIA PC cards (16MB to 2GB), and 2.5-inch FlashDrives (32MB to 2GB). Suggested OEM pricing is $445 for a 512MB CompactFlash card, and $985 for a 1GB PC card or FlashDrive. www.sandisk.com.
StorageTek library scales to 132,000 slots
At the Networld+Interop show last month, StorageTek unveiled the L5500 tape library, which supports a variety of drives, including STK's T9840 and T9940, as well as LTO Ultrium drives. The L5500 scales from 1,500 to 132,000 slots and features native Fibre Channel, SCSI, and ESCON connectivity. To simplify management, users can purchase STK's Automated Cartridge Library Software (ACLS). Pricing starts at $165,000. www.storagetek.com.
Sony introduces 1U AIT library
StorStation LIB-81 library is Sony Electronics' slimmest and densest tape library. The device houses one AIT-1, AIT-2, or AIT-3 tape drive and up to eight media cartridges in an internal carousel design. It can be rack-mounted and has a storage capacity of up to 2.08TB (assuming 2.6:1 compression) and a transfer rate of up to 112.3GB per hour.
Other features include a Web-based diagnostic system, optional bar-code reader, and either Memory-in-Cassette (MIC) or Remote MIC (R-MIC), which speeds access to files, cartridge data, and log information. Sony includes a free copy of NovaStor's TapeCopy v2.0 Library Edition tape conversion and duplication software, so users can transfer data from other tape formats to AIT. The LIB-81 lists for less than $4,500. www.storagebysony.com.