StorageTek acquires Storability

Posted on November 01, 2004

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Expands, re-brands disk arrays

By Sonia R. Lelii

Storage Technology Corp. recently gobbled up business partner Storability, an ailing start-up that developed enterprise storage resource management (ESRM) software, which now will be used to help the tape company morph into an information life-cycle management (ILM) player.

As part of the acquisition, StorageTek gains Storability's Global Storage Manager (GSM) software, a resource monitoring tool for both disk- and tape-based data-protection solutions that has been shipping since 2002. StorageTek already had an OEM relationship with Storability and had bundled the tape portion of GSM in its Backup Resource Monitor (BRM) product, which was unveiled this summer. The software gives administrators a detailed view of their backup infrastructure from applications to networking infrastructure and tape automation components.

Company executives say they have about 30 customers that have purchased GSM. "Those customers like the idea that the product is now controlled and owned by a large company," says Todd Rief, director of corporate strategy at StorageTek.

Rief says GSM will play a strong role in building the company's ILM strategy. For example, it will be used to make the data-protection process more reliable and less labor-intensive by giving users information on the reliability of their backups, and GSM will also be used to design archiving and compliance solutions.

In mid-2002, StorageTek acquired Storability's Storage Operations Center (SOC) and launched its Remote Managed Storage service offering.

Following the Storability announcement, StorageTek announced changes to its D-, B-, and V-Series disk arrays at its annual FORUM customer conference last month. Jay Sefeirt, manager of product marketing in StorageTek's ILM group, says the existing D-Series and B-Series storage subsystems will be re-branded as the FlexLine 200 and 300 Series.

Both the 200 and 300 Series can be used with StorageTek's SANtricity 9.1 software, which allows users to perform asynchronous, remote disk-to-disk mirroring, as well as to mix different types of drives in the same subsystem. The new FlexLine FLX210 is designed for smaller environments that require cost-effective primary/secondary storage with entry-level capacities. The RAID array provides 2Gbps Fibre Channel host connectivity and supports up to 14 Serial ATA (SATA) disk drives internally. The 2Gbps Fibre Channel-based FlexLine FLA300 switched array provides up to a 70% increase in performance over the FlexLine 200 systems.

StorageTek also previewed the FlexLine 600 Series array-the successor to its BladeStore architecture, which previously was distributed under the B-Series product family. The FlexLine 600 will use SATA drives that scale in increments of 500GB (two drives per blade), with an entry point capacity of 3TB. The 600 features an intelligent storage processor and a new blade design and is tuned for write performance and online fixed-content storage. It can also be managed via automated, policy-based management software. The FlexLine 600 will be available in the first half of 2005.

StorageTek also announced that it would make its Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) virtual tape solution available for open systems next year. Using the SATA-based FlexLine 600 Series architecture, a VSM Open solution will operate as a disk-to-disk-to-tape backup-and-recovery tool, says Russ Kennedy, director of software product management for StorageTek's ILM group. VSM is currently available only for mainframe environments.

Kennedy says that VSM for open systems will be delivered on a set of data movers-basically, servers with high-speed host bus adapters-along with the FlexLine 600. The VSM software emulates a tape library. Backup software writes the tape image to the VSM Open system, and the data is stored as a virtual image on the FlexLine 600. Through policy-based commands, data is moved to tape cartridges for disaster recovery. The data migration software automates the process of moving data from older cartridges to newer cartridges, while critical data is available through fast recovery from a disk buffer.

VSM Open will start at about 4TB and will be scalable to 44TB and 600MBps of throughput. It will support up to 3 million virtual tape volumes and will have four Fibre Channel ports with the ability to define up to 256 tape drives per port.

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