Storage Computer targets high-end NT RAID
Taking aim at the market for Windows NT clustered servers and multi-host environments, Storage Computer last month announced its OmniRAID Cluster Array, which supports NT, Unix, and NetWare. Potential customers include sites that are either migrating from Unix/NetWare to NT or consolidating NT servers and storage subsystems. Storage Computer officials claim that OmniRAID Cluster Array eliminates additional storage management overhead while maintaining performance levels.
Analysts give the array high marks in performance and platform support. "OmniRAID`s unique because it`s host-independent, and it has very advanced controller technology," says John Webster, an analyst with The Yankee Group consulting firm, in Boston. In addition, OmniRAID automates RAID level management on a transaction level--as opposed to an applications level--which can potentially eliminate the need to manage RAID for different applications running on multiple servers.
At Medaphis Corp. in Elgin, IL, the key advantages of OmniRAID are performance and data integrity, according to Tom Hanks, vice president of strategic systems. "It`s not a matter of how redundant an array is, it`s a matter of how much performance you have when you do lose something," says Hanks.
OmniRAID uses dedicated, independent I/O channels for each disk drive, as opposed to the more traditional approach of daisy-chaining drives off of controllers. Hanks says that this design puts OmniRAID in the performance class of EMC`s Symmetrix, which Medaphis also uses.
Medaphis takes advantage of OmniRAID`s host independence by connecting both Windows NT and NetWare servers to the array. The company uses OmniRAID primarily in a financial transaction environment.
Storage Computer is trying to capitalize on booming demand for Windows NT storage. For example, NT-based external storage revenue increased 80.9% last year, while Unix-based storage increased 22.2%, and storage for network operating systems such as NetWare decreased 6.6%.
Capacities for OmniRAID Cluster Array, which supports up to 12 host connections, range from 54GB to 1TB. Prices range from $50,000 to $250,000, depending on capacity. Users can upgrade the array with Storage Computer`s OmniForce remote mirroring software.--DS