Compaq continues SAN rollout
By Zachary Shess
Compaq Computer last month introduced its second round of storage area network (SAN) products and upgrades under the Enterprise Network Storage Architecture (ENSA) umbrella announced earlier this year (InfoStor, January, p. 1, and February, p. 1). The wide-ranging announcements included a data replication suite, the addition of a Fibre Channel switch, and backup software improvements.
To help IT environments remain operational during or following a disaster, Compaq introduced StorageWorks Data Replication Manager. The software sits on RAID controllers in Compaq`s StorageWorks RA8000 and ESA12000 arrays, and synchronously replicates data in real-time between sites up to 10 kilometers away at Fibre Channel speeds of up to 100MBps.
Data Replication Manager is currently available for Windows NT, Tru64 UNIX, and OpenVMS operating systems. Pricing for a complete disaster-tolerant configuration, capable of replicating 1TB of data, begins at $470,000 for hardware and software.
"We feel like we`re hitting a sweet spot in robustness and price between LAN-based replication solutions and EMC`s approach, which is priced very high," says Jeffrey Schnabel, director of product marketing at Compaq.
After rolling out Fibre Channel hubs for arbitrated loop environments earlier this year, Compaq addressed SAN fabrics with the introduction of 8-port and 16-port switches based on technology from Brocade Communications. Users can configure up to 32 switches with 8 parallel links between any pair. For a 400GB SAN fabric using the RA8000 array and an 8-port switch, pricing starts at $105,000. For a 5TB RA12000 array and a 16-port switch, pricing begins at $738,000.
Compaq also upgraded its Enterprise Backup Solution by increasing capacity with a larger tape library. The TL895 holds up to 7 DLT drives with 96 cartridges, for a total capacity of 6.7TB. Supporting Windows NT and NetWare, list prices range from $69,000 to $200,000.
David Hill, an analyst with the Aberdeen Group consulting firm in Boston, says Compaq is "starting to make a good case" toward a complete SAN solution comparable to EMC`s, but stopped short of saying Compaq has shifted momentum away from one of its primary competitors. "It`s still too early to tell, and besides, that`s not Compaq`s purpose at this moment. The bottom line is that ENSA is a good SAN vision and they`re starting to fill in the blanks," says Hill.