StorageTek targets SAN market

Posted on December 01, 1998

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StorageTek targets SAN market

By Heidi Bigga

At its recent users forum, StorageTek demonstrated four storage area network (SAN) solutions, adding to the growing list of companies plunging headfirst into the developing SAN market.

The models targeted four areas of storage management: shared tape, dynamic storage expansion, clustering, and performance. All four fall under the company`s new virtual intelligent storage architecture (VISTA) framework for storage management.

- Shared tape. This model demonstrated the ability of heterogeneous servers (in this case, NT and Solaris) to share multiple tape drives in backup applications. Within seconds of one server being taken off-line, the other server resumed operation and access to the attached library. The configuration included StorageTek`s REEL Backup or Veritas` NetBackup storage management software, a Timberline 9740 library with DLT7000 drives, a SCSI-to-Fibre Channel bridge from Crossroads, and StorageTek`s Access Hub. StorageTek also used its ACSLS software for robotics and library-sharing capabilities.

- Dynamic storage expansion. This model demonstrated how storage can be allocated to match application requirements without disrupting service. The Clariion disk array notified IT administrators when disk capacity was running low and allocated additional capacity accordingly. The configuration: Veritas software, Clariion disk storage, STK`s Access Hub, and NT servers.

- Clustering. This solution highlighted the distance benefits of Fibre Channel vs. SCSI for clustering in a SAN environment. Also, by reducing the number of disks typically required in an NT clustering configuration (e.g., from a 16-server/24-disk configuration in a traditional NT environment to a 16-server/17-disk configuration), this model can translate into cost savings. The configuration: Veritas NetBackup, Clariion arrays, STK`s Access Hub, and NT servers.

- Performance. This model demonstrated Fibre Channel`s speed capabilities by videotaping a participant`s golf swing and then streaming the video through an STK Access Hub to a Clariion disk system. The video was then backed up into a Timberline library and accessed real-time through software provided by Excalibur.

On a separate note, StorageTek also provided a four-year road map for the 9840 drive, which is scheduled to begin shipping later this month. The plan calls for a turbo version in mid-1999, followed by a 40GB/20MBps or a 40GB/10MBps drive in 2000/2001 (depending on user demand) and a 120GB/40MBps product in 2002.

Perhaps more important than its capacity and transfer rate is the drive`s data access rate (less than 18 seconds to load, initiate, and search). Says Linda Higdon, director of marketing for STK`s nearline business group, StorageTek is betting on the drive`s fast access to "play into arenas currently served by optical."


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