By Ann Silverthorn
—Adaptec recently introduced the Snap Server 700i series of iSCSI storage appliances, hoping to differentiate the arrays from competitors largely on the basis of price/performance. Don Chouinard, director of product management and marketing in Adaptec's Storage Solutions Group, cites EMC/Dell, EqualLogic, Hewlet-Packard, LeftHand Networks, and Network Appliance as the company's primary competitors in the iSCSI space.
The 700i is designed to allow medium-sized companies running Linux, VMware, or Windows servers to deploy an IP SAN. The 700i series includes three 1U rack-mount models and provides from 1TB to 3TB using Serial ATA (SATA) drives. Users can mix both SATA and 15,000rpm SAS drives.
"You can use SAS drives for mission-critical Exchange or databases that are hit heavily," says Chouinard, "while SATA is more cost-effective for backup to disk or less-demanding applications."
Users can add capacity via Adaptec's 2U SANbloc S50 expansion chassis, each of which can be configured with any combination of 12 hot-swappable SATA or SAS drives. The 700i series can scale up to 45 SAS disks or 100 SATA disks.
Chouinard claims the 700i is easy to configure because it uses Adaptec Storage Manager software, which handles grouping, assigning RAID levels, carving LUNs, and masking servers. The systems are compatible with Microsoft's Virtual Disk Service (VDS).
Automatic Storage Provisioning in the 700i series guides users through creating disk pools, assigning RAID levels, iSCSI LUNs, setting up iSCSI initiators, and formatting operating system partitions. Wizard-based management reduces setup time and ongoing maintenance/administration.
Application-consistent snapshots can be taken for backups using Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) technology. Administrators can use the Adaptec Storage Manager to provide fast recovery points or to back them up. If the user has a volume on one 700i and one on another 700i, they can be tied in a set and snapped together.
Other features include synchronous mirroring, multi-pathing, and support for virtually all RAID levels. The systems are powered by Adaptec's Linux-based OnTarget operating system.
The Snap Server 700i series includes the 720i ($8,000 with 1TB of SATA capacity or $9,600 with 2TB); the 730i ($13,400 for 3TB of SATA capacity); and 750i ($23,300 with 1.2TB of SAS capacity).
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