Quantum, Maxtor spar in low-end NAS market

Posted on October 01, 2000

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DISK/CONNECTIVITY

Quantum, Maxtor spar in low-end NAS market

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The low-end (workgroup) network-attached storage (NAS) market may be bordering on commodity status, but that doesn't mean the price-capacity-performance wars are letting up. Last month, Quantum and Maxtor upped the capacity and dropped per-GB pricing on their NAS boxes, all while staying within a 1U form factor. The 1U size is particularly important for rack-mount configurations.
Quantum's Snap Server 4100 is available in 120GB ($2,999) and 240GB ($4,499, or $19 per GB) versions, each with four ATA/100 drives. The servers support RAID 0, 1, and 5. In a RAID-5 configuration, usable capacity is 168GB; with RAID 1, 120GB. Operating system support includes Windows, NetWare, Macintosh, and Unix/Linux. Quan-tum claims a performance improvement of 15% to 30% over the Snap Server 4000 predecessor. www.quantum.com.
Unlike Quantum's Snap Server 4100, Maxtor's MaxAttach NAS 4000 file server supports only RAID 1. However, Maxtor beats Quantum in price per GB. The MaxAttach NAS 4000 is priced at $4,499 for a 320GB configuration with four 80GB ATA drives, or $14 per GB. The server comes in a 1U form factor, which Maxtor has been shipping since introducing its 160GB MaxAttach unit in June. www.maxtor.com.

JNI's 2Gbps FC HBAs go into beta

This month, JNI Corp. shipped its second-generation of 2Gbps Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs) to beta sites. Production shipments are due by the end of the year. (The company shipped its first generation of 2Gbps HBAs in mid-1999.)

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Based on JNI's new Emerald IV ASIC controllers, the FibreStar FCE-6460 is designed for PCI host buses, while the FCE-1473 works with Sbus platforms. Final testing was not completed at press time, but the company is claiming peak performance of 400MBps and a sustained throughput exceeding 190MBps.

Like other 2Gbps HBAs, JNI's boards will auto-negotiate down to 1Gbps if used with 1Gbps Fibre Channel components. According to Chris Humphrey, director of product marketing at JNI, commercial adoption of 2Gbps storage area networks is expected in mid-2001.

The 66MHz, 64-bit Emerald IV ASIC architecture offers a number of new features, including automatic rate negotiation, topology detection, an improved memory architecture, and a 2X speed improvement in the integrated RISC processor. Versus the Emerald II-based HBAs, the new boards also have enhancements in handling multiple, concurrent Fibre Channel exchanges, including support for more than 2,200 concurrent exchanges.

Other features include:

  • Support for native Fibre Channel tape devices.
  • In addition to SCSI, support for IP over Fibre Channel (primarily for IP/Ethernet-based in-band management applications).
  • Enhanced driver architecture and support for a variety of operating systems. When production shipments begin, the HBAs will support Solaris, Windows 2000 and NT, HP-UX, AIX, NetWare, Red Hat Linux, and the Mac operating system.

Pricing was not determined at press time, but Humphrey says the 2Gbps HBAs will be priced similarly to the company's 1Gbps HBAs. www.jni.com.

Adaptec ships FC HBA to channel

Bearing the fruits of its relationship with Agilent Technologies, Adaptec last month began shipping a 1Gbps Fibre Channel host bus adapter (HBA) into the distribution channel. The board is based on Agilent's Tachyon controller chip, combined with Adaptec's drivers and storage-area-network management software.

The 64-bit, 66MHz PCI-compatible Fibre Card 9110G comes with copper or optical external connections. MSRP for the 9110G is $1,200. Equipped with an optical GBIC and optical cable, the HBA is priced at $1,450; with copper connector and cable, $1,350. www.adaptec.com.

StorLogic shows NAS appliance

At last month's ESC-West'00 show, StorLogic demonstrated its StorCom.e network-attached storage (NAS) appliance. Production shipments were expected to begin this month.

The StorCom.e is based on Microsoft's Windows NT Embedded 4.0 operating system, a 400MHz processor, and 4-bay or 10-bay SCSI or Fibre Channel configurations. Peripheral options include 9GB, 18GB, 36GB, or 73GB disk drives; optical devices such as CD-ROM, CD-R, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, and CD changers; and tape devices such as DDS-4 and AIT. The server appliances can execute standard office/ Internet applications.

StorLogic also demonstrated its SerView NAS/SAN storage resource management software suite at the show. The Java-based software takes advantage of NT features such as the Registry and Event Log. Pricing was not determined at press time. www.storlogic.com.

Pathlight enhances gateways, routers

Pathlight Technology recently added low-voltage-differential (LVD) SCSI I/O modules and dual-channel LVD and high voltage differential (HVD) Ultra2 SCSI plug-in option cards to its SAN Gateway and SAN Router product lines. The gateways and routers provide interoperability between SCSI and Fibre Channel SAN products.

The SAN Gateway supports up to six Fibre Channel ports and ten SCSI connections. The SAN Router supports up to two Fibre Channel ports and two SCSI connections. www.pathlight.com.

Atto ships FC-SCSI bridge

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Priced at $4,995, Atto Technology's 2200R/D is a Fibre Channel-to-SCSI bridge that is available in desktop and 1U-high rack-mounted versions. The bridge has two Ultra2 SCSI ports (LVD or HVD) and one Fibre Channel GBIC port. Features include a server-less backup option, F-port and FL-port support, 10/100BaseT Ethernet port for LAN-based management, and an RS-232 serial port for local management. www.attotech.com.

LSI introduces low-end disk array

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LSI Logic Storage Systems Inc. recently began shipping the "full" Fibre Channel MetaStor E2400 disk array. Via LSI's HotScale technology, the E2400 offers online capacity expansion from 36GB to more than 2TB. An option to the company's Java-based SANtricity Storage Manger software, the SANshare module provides storage partitioning with up to eight virtual arrays.

Other features include dual-active controllers and redundant power supplies, cooling fans, and I/O paths. All components are hot-swappable. Pricing ranges from $18,000 to $170,000. www.lsilogic.com.

Storage Concepts packs 240GB in small footprint

Starting at $5,995, Storage Concepts' FibreBlock RAID array packs 240GB in a small form factor. Via the company's Multi-Streaming Technology (MST), the array can deliver 80MBps to 85MBps, carrying multiple steams of data over a single port. Features include a Fibre Channel host interface and fully redundant components. www.storageconcepts.com.

Trimm RAID array is full Fibre Channel

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Part of the company's Centrimm 2000 family of RAID arrays, Trimm Technologies' FT8R and FR8R are Fibre-to-Fibre subsystems that come in rack-mount or tower configurations. Both are based on Mylex's SANArray FFx controllers in dual-active, failover configurations. System capacity scales to 5.2TB.

Other features include fully redundant components (power supplies, cooling fans, and hot-pluggable canisters) and support for RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 3, and 5. www.trimm.com.

Seek improves RAID management, performance

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Seek Systems has introduced two products that promise to simplify RAID management and increase performance. FasFile RAID is a self-configuring disk array that the company claims can be installed in less than one hour. The subsystem uses Adaptive Cache technology coupled with Fibre Channel host attachments and SCSI disk drives. Providing up to 2TB of capacity, FasFile RAID is compatible with Unix, Linux, and Windows NT/2000 platforms. Pricing ranges from $20,000 to more than $100,000.

FasFile Xcelerator is an appliance that increases performance by identifying frequently accessed data and relocating it to cache memory. Positioned as an alternative to solid-state disk, the appliance links one or more servers to SCSI-attached disk storage systems. Pricing starts at $15,000. www.seeksystems.com.

Western Scientific debuts dual-active RAID

Featuring active/active RAID controllers, Western Scientific's TsunamiRAID is a Fibre Channel disk subsystem that is spec'd at 200MBps burst or 80MBps sustained data rates. Capacity ranges from 500GB to 3.82TB.

Each of the two controllers comes with 128MB of RAM that can be expanded up to 1GB. The system also includes a built-in IP address and fabric switching support for storage area network (SAN) configurations. Via the company's AutoRebind technology, the array senses the new controller in the event of a hot replacement of a failed controller, and "rebinds" it back into the storage system while reallocating the workload. Pricing starts at $45,000 for a 500GB configuration. www.wsm.com.

TAPE

Quantum/ATL adds Prism options

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With the launch of its Prism Storage Options, Quantum/ATL hopes to address some of the limitations of server-attached backup and network storage. Prism is a modular hardware/software architecture, integrated into the company's tape libraries for SAN and NAS environments.

Options include:

  • Library partitioning: An embedded option for P-series libraries that makes it possible to partition the library into as many as 16 virtual libraries in a heterogeneous environment running Veritas NetBackup or Legato NetWorker.
  • FC230 Fibre Channel router: An internal Fibre Channel-to-SCSI router for Fibre Channel loop or fabric environments.
  • Active Library Event Reporting Tool (ALERT) notification: A tool that provides instant notification via e-mail of library conditions based on pre-selected criteria. It also simplifies library management by interfacing with major network management applications via SNMP. www.atlp.com.

Exabyte ships Mammoth-2 library

Exabyte last month began shipping a new family of Mammoth-2 (M2) tape libraries designed to accommodate multiple drive technologies. At $22,000, Exabyte has priced the model 430 M2 library for midrange users who are seeking higher-end features.

The library accommodates up to four M2 drives and 30 data cartridges for up 1.8TB of native capacity and 173GB-per-hour throughput. Other features include Ethernet connectivity, Exabyte Library Monitor software, and Fibre Channel connectivity. www.exabyte.com.

Sun delivers mixed-media support

Last month, Sun Microsystems expanded its tape family to include the StorEdge L180 library, StorEdge L20 library, and StorEdge L9 autoloader.

The L180 supports 35GB DLT7000 and 20GB 9840 drives for up to 6TB of capacity. The drives can be used separately or concurrently. The DLT7000 drives feature a 5MBps transfer rate; the 9840, 10MBps. An 80-cartridge, two DLT7000-drive configuration is priced at $97,510; an 80-cartridge, two-drive 9840 library lists for $120,510.

The L20 library scales to more than 2TB. Its architecture expands in 20-, 40-, and 60-cartridge increments. The library is available in rack-mount or desktop models. Pricing starts at $22,500.

The L9 autoloader includes one DLT-8000 tape drive and nine DLT8000 cartridges for a native capacity of 360GB. It lists for $9,399. www.sun.com.

SOFTWARE

Infortrend introduces RAIDWatch

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Last month, RAID controller manufacturer Infortrend announced its Java-based RAIDWatch management software. RAIDWatch features a graphical user interface for configuring and monitoring RAID systems equipped with Infortrend's controllers. The interface shows the status of all RAID arrays, enclosures, power supplies, fans, and temperature.

Individual disk drives can also be identified in a virtual construct of the enclosure. The software supports Windows NT/2000, Solaris, HP-UX, and Red Hat Linux 6.1. www.infortrend.com.

Dot Hill enhances disk array software

Dot Hill Systems recently began shipping enhanced software for its line of disk arrays. The enhancements are designed to improve functionality in storage area network (SAN) environments. SANpath 3.1 now provides dynamic LUN assignment, which enables administrators to allocate and re-allocate storage resources "on the fly." This version also adds support for Linux, HP-UX, and Windows 2000.

The 2.3 release of its SANscape software adds a drag-and-drop user interface. www.dothill.com.

OPTICAL

Pacific Digital intros 8x CD-RW kits

Pacific Digital's new PDC 882ei (EIDE) and 8824si (SCSI) CD-RW kits support 8x writing/re-writing speeds. The internal Enhanced IDE drive writes CD-R and CD-RW discs at 8x speed; the Fast SCSI-3 internal drive is designed for more de-manding applications. A 4MB buffer and high-performance digital audio extraction suits the drives for recording digital sound in WAVE or AIFF formats. The drives are priced at $179 and $219, respectively. www.1pdc.com.

QPS adds burn-proof FireWire

QPS' Que!Fire CD-RW drive incorporates Burn-Proof technology that eliminats buffer under-run errors in fast-write modes. The drive provides CD-R at 12x speed, CD-RW at 10x speed, and 32x maximum read speed. It is designed for desktop publishing and data archiving, and lists for $449. www.qps-inc.com.

TAPE

STK changes course, enters NT market

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StorageTek last month unveiled a family of low-cost tape libraries designed for distributed Windows NT, NetWare, Linux, and Unix environments. The L20 library is available in one- or two-drive, 10- or 20-slot configurations for up to 2TB of capacity. It is priced from $15,500.

StorageTek expects to sell 90% of the libraries through the channel, a significant departure from the company's sales strategy. "We're broadening our range of customers and focusing [almost exclusively] on the channel," says Liz Murphy, vice president and general manager of global channels and strategic alliances, StorageTek. The company reported a 34% growth rate in its channel business from Q1 to Q2 this year.

The L20 performs 200 exchanges per hour and holds 200GB of capacity per IU. It also features a native Fibre Channel interface and supports mixed media (DLT, SDLT, and LTO). www.storagetek.com.

SOFTWARE

Pathlight maps SANs

Pathlight Technology's SAN Director Version 2.5 provides a number of enhancements, most notably a Virtual Private Map (VPM) module that provides SCSI LUN mapping access security for SCSI-attached hosts. The SAN management software works with Pathlight's SAN Gateway and SAN Router products. VPM supports both Fibre Channel and SCSI devices, and does not require software or hardware changes to host systems.

Pathlight also improved the integration of SAN Director with third-party enterprise management frameworks, including Computer Associates' Unicenter-TNG, IBM/Tivoli's NetView, and Veritas' SANPoint Control. www.pathlight.com.

Maxoptix delivers DVD-RAM library

Maxoptix recently launched two optical libraries, the DVD520 and DVD540, marking its entry into the DVD-RAM market. The company is positioning the libraries to compete against tape libraries (Travan, DAT, and 8mm) and magneto-optical (MO) alternatives.

The jukeboxes use DVD Forum-approved 5.2GB double-sided (2.6GB per side) DVD-RAM cartridges for 104GB and 208GB of capacity, respectively. A flipping mechanism enables users to take advantage of the storage capacity on both sides of the disc. One-drive or two-drive configurations are available.

The libraries support Windows NT/2000, Solaris, Unix, and Macintosh environments. Pricing ranges from $5,125 for the single-drive DVD520 to $9,000 for a two-drive, 40-cartridge DVD540. www.maxoptix.com.


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