By Heidi Biggar
Advanced Digital Information Corp. (ADIC) last month jumped into the network-attached storage (NAS) market with StorNext, the first in an antici pated family of NAS appliances expected from the tape library vendor. The devices, which combine NAS technology and caching with tape automation, are positioned as alternatives to disk-based NAS appliances and off-line vaulting for storing important, yet infrequently accessed, data. Target applications include e-mail and graphics, medical imaging, and CAD/CAM.
"StorNext is a natural for semi-static data sets like month-old email or CAD drawings," says Steve Duplessie, an analyst with The Enterprise Storage Group. "Being able to keep data on-line, as opposed to archiving it, has tremendous benefits. It's not as fast as disk-based NAS, but it's much faster than vaulting tape off-line."
Access times for the StorNext devices range from less than one second for files stored in the device's 9GB cache memory to 60 seconds for unmounted files.
Native capacity ranges from 950GB to 12TB, and pricing varies from 3.5 cents per megabyte for low-end models to less than a penny per megabyte for high-end configurations.
This combination of low-cost, high-capacity storage gives IT administrators new choices for hosting infrequently accessed data, says Steve Whitner, director of marketing at ADIC. Data that's accessed less often than, say, monthly can be migrated to NAS tape, freeing up disk storage for active data files and ensuring user access to all data types, he explains.
As much as 70% to 80% of the files currently stored on disk-based NAS are inactive or static, according to ADIC studies. If not saved to disk, these files are often deleted or moved to off-line vaulted storage, where retrieval can take hours or days.
StorNext features include a browser-based management console, automatic index backup, 48MB flash memory for database journaling, as well as LVD/SE SCSI and 10/100 Base-T Ethernet connectivity. The devices support up to 236 separate network volumes or file systems, and can manage up to 25 million files. Data can be written to or read from the devices from Windows, Unix, Linux, or Web client platforms.
Three StorNext models, equipped with AIT-2 tape drives, are currently available: the 950GB workgroup, 3.9TB enterprise, and 11.8TB data center. The appliances will be integrated into ADIC's Scalar 100 tape library family. Pricing starts at $35,000.