Pillar adds management software

Posted on September 01, 2006

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By Kevin Komiega

Pillar Data Systems is adding a new set of management features to its software suite to provide better management for its “all-in-one” SAN and NAS tiered storage systems, including support for virtual tape, a new continuous data protection (CDP) option, and secure write-once, read-many (WORM) technology. The company, which is backed by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s investment firm Tako Ventures, is also preparing to launch a lower-cost, midrange version of its Axiom hardware product.

Pillar calls the new software AxiomONE and bills the bundle of tools as a full-service storage management and data services suite. Pillar’s senior director of marketing and strategy, Russ Kennedy, says AxiomONE brings together SAN and NAS management for data protection and archiving, guided maintenance and support, and a full-featured operating system under a single management interface.

“The software suite reduces the number of [systems] you have to manage and enables users to deliver tiers of storage in a single, unified platform,” says Kennedy.

The software optimizes application performance via its Dynamic Performance Manager, a policy-based information management engine that enables multiple performance priority levels over both Serial ATA (SATA) and Fibre Channel disk drives.

The core of AxiomONE comprises an operating system, file system, storage services manager, and dynamic performance manager at a starting list price of approximately $40,000, while the newer modules such as AxiomONE File Replicator, Volume Replicator, Continuous Data Protection, and Virtual Tape Library are available at an additional fee.

“All of the Pillar software comes in the software suite for a one-time license fee regardless of the capacity of the system, while the volume replication, CDP, and VTL modules are licensed on a capacity basis,” says Kennedy.

Kennedy says the AxiomONE software will also be shipped with Pillar’s upcoming hardware platform, called the Axiom 300, for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The Axiom 300 will share the same architecture as Pillar’s larger disk systems. All versions of the Axiom systems accommodate multiple tiers of block- and/or file-level storage in one box.

Data storage on the Axiom platform is laid out by its performance priority. High-priority data is written to a narrow band on the outermost tracks of the hard drives for increased performance and optimized seek times, while data with lower-performance requirements is laid out on the inner tracks.

Pillar’s modular system also allows for the configuration of a NAS-only system, SAN-only system, or a combination of SAN and NAS on one platform. Kennedy estimates that 50% of Pillar’s end users are running SAN-only configurations, 20% are NAS-only, and 30% are running both SAN and NAS on their systems.

The Axiom storage system is priced from about $50,000.

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