NetApp targets VMware

NetApp has introduced new software products designed specifically for VMware virtual server infrastructures.

SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure automatically protects and recovers virtual machines. The software runs on the application host or the physical machine running virtual servers and allows application administrators to perform routine management tasks such as setting policies, taking snapshots, or expanding the size of volumes.

SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure complements the backup and snapshot features in VMware ESX Server by eliminating potential human errors often associated with common management tasks, thereby ensuring the consistency of backup operations.

NetApp has expanded the software’s compatibility with VMware to include the application-specific data management capabilities offered by SnapManager. VMware-compatible versions of SnapManager are available for Microsoft Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, and Oracle.

Provisioning Manager, NetApp’s policy-based automated storage provisioning tool, has also received some upgrades. The software now lets storage administrators bypass the manual process of provisioning storage in virtual and physical server environments by using policies to associate provisioning attributes to specific volume types. NetApp is offering templates for specific application profiles to speed the provisioning process and reduce human error.

Updates to NetApp’s Data OnTap operating system add expanded support for multi-vendor virtualization and extend de-duplication capabilities to customers with NetApp V-Series and MultiStore systems. In addition, the Data OnTap SMI-S agent is now available on all FAS systems and V-Series virtualized storage systems.

LeftHand bundles with VMware

LeftHand Networks is bundling VMware’s ESX virtual server technology with its Virtual SAN Appliance (VSA) software in an effort to lower the cost of entry to virtualization.

The VSA, based on LeftHand’s SAN/iQ software, runs as a VMware Certified Virtual Appliance and provides SAN management functionality by virtualizing VMware ESX Server disks to create a pool of shared SAN storage.

The Virtualization Solution Kits extend the functionality of VMware’s existing VI Acceleration Kits by adding VSAs to provide the shared storage required to implement some VMware features, including VMware High Availability (HA), Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), and VMotion.

The kits are available in four combinations. Users can choose a specific kit based on required VMware features and the number of VMware and VSA licenses.

The first bundle is designed for environments where high availability is required. The kit combines the VMware Infrastructure Standard HA Acceleration Kit and two LeftHand VSAs for VMware ESX. The kit supports up to 25 virtual machines and up to 4TB of VSA storage for $10,990.

The second bundle is for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) looking to implement business continuity using VMware’s VMotion technology. The kit combines the VMware Infrastructure Midsize Acceleration Kit and three LeftHand VSAs. This kit supports up to 35 virtual servers and 6TB of VSA storage for $24,990.

The other two kits are designed for companies that need shared storage in support of features such as VMware HA, DRS, or VMotion, but do not require complete SAN functionality.

The VMware Standard HA Acceleration Kit with Shared Storage combines VMware with one VSA. The kit lets users run up to 20 VMs with 2TB of shared storage and is priced at $6,990.

The final bundle combines the VMware Midsize Acceleration Kit with a VSA and supports up to 30 VMs and 2TB of capacity for $15,990.

IBM overhauls portfolio

IBM has added a variety of enhancements across its entire portfolio of storage hardware. Leading off are two additions to the N7000 series of SAN gateways. The N7700 can be configured with 840 disk drives for up to 840TB of capacity. The N7900 scales to 1,176TB across 1,176 drives and has 64GBps of internal bandwidth.

The additions to the N series are products IBM re-brands and resells through an OEM partnership with NetApp. The N7700 and N7900 are the equivalent of NetApp’s FAS6040 and FAS6080 systems, respectively.

The N7700 and N7900 are priced from $125,000 and $190,000, respectively.

Further enhancements to the N series include new configurations for SMBs. The N3300 and N3600 now support SATA or SAS drives. The maximum capacity of the N3300 has been increased to 68TB, and the N3600 to 104TB.

IBM also announced capacity increases on other N series systems, including the N5300, (336TB), N5600 (504TB), N7600 (840TB), and N7800 (1,008TB).

NetApp’s SnapManager for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server software is now available on all N series systems, too.

The second area in which IBM added to its portfolio is data-center networking. Big Blue announced that it will resell Brocade’s DCX Backbone switch. Branded as the IBM System Storage SAN768B, the switch supports 8Gbps Fibre Channel, interoperability between b-type (Brocade) and m-type (McData) directors, and scales up to 768 ports across two domains. Entry price is $390,000

In the data archiving space, IBM introduced two configurations of its System Storage DR550 v4.5 archiving platform. The DR550, which uses IBM’s System Storage Archive Manager (SSAM) software for policy-based information retention, automatically moves archived data between storage tiers.

Users can now choose between two models: the DR550 DR1 or DR2. The DR1 is a 25U rack for medium-sized businesses, while the 36U DR2 is designed for large enterprises and offers single-node or dual-node configurations for higher availability and scalability.

The DR550 DR1 and DR550 DR2 are priced from $26,000 and $73,000,respectively.

On the tape front, IBM introduced the System Storage TS3100 and TS3200 tape libraries, which are based on half-height LTO-4 drives with built-in encryption for security. Users can encrypt and manage data with IBM’s Encryption Key Manager without the need for additional appliances. The tape libraries are priced from $8,300.

Compellent: More speed, fewer drives

Compellent has fine-tuned the way its SAN software writes data to disk drives with techniques that could boost performance and capacity utilization while reducing disk drive requirements by up to 80%, according to the company.

The latest release of the company’s Storage Center 4.0 SAN software features applications such as Fast Track, Thin Import, and Free Space Recovery, all of which help reduce the number of disk drives required, effectively reducing total cost of ownership and energy consumption.

Fast Track automatically places active data on the outer tracks of a drive to speed access to frequently used data.

The Thin Import feature reduces disk drive requirements by converting existing data into thin-provisioned volumes as it is copied to a Compellent SAN.

Free Space Recovery reclaims unused space in Windows environments.

A Storage Center 4.0 QuickStart ILM Bundle is priced from approximately $57,200 with 7.2TB of capacity, a single controller, and the Fast Track, Thin Import, and Free Space Recovery applications. Users can also purchase the applications separately.

Exanet scales clustered NAS

Exanet recently upgraded its product line—now dubbed ExaStore 2008 Clustered NAS System—to increase the scalability of the systems and software in terms of both capacity and performance.

Enhancements include the following:

  • Up to 500TB in a two-node cluster (vs. 120TB in previous two-node configurations);
  • Support for quad-core Intel Xeon processors;
  • Optional support for 10Gbps Ethernet (for both intra-cluster connections and connectivity to clients); and
  • Enhanced integration with Windows, including Active Directory.

Although most of the upgrades are on the software front, the company also introduced a hardware module—the EX1500 Clustered NAS Server—that includes two 2GHz Xeon quad-core CPUs and 16GB of ECC memory, 14 Gigabit Ethernet connections (or an optional four 10Gbps Ethernet links), dual 4Gbps Fibre Channel HBA ports, the ExaStore operating system, and throughput of more than 400MBps, according to the company.

The EX1500s are NAS heads that can be connected to back-end disk arrays (typically IBM DS or DX RAID arrays, although the heads are compatible with a variety of disk systems from other vendors).

Pricing for Exanet’s clustered NAS systems depends on the configuration, and software is licensed by capacity. A basic two-node cluster of EX-1500s with a software license for 10TB is priced at $71,854. A fully configured two-node system with 96TB of SATA capacity lists for $535,165. Both examples include all management software, a UPS, and networking support. The company’s clustered NAS configurations enable users to scale both capacity and performance online and provide a single (distributed) file system that Exanet claims can support more than 128 billion files under a single namespace. Other features include virtualized storage, load balancing, petabyte-level provisioning, snapshots, replication, and multi-protocol support (CIFS, NFS, NIS/LDAP, AD, DNS, AFP, and FTP).

Hifn accelerates de-dupe

Besides encryption and compression, Hifn’s new Express DR 250 and DR 255 cards include hardware-accelerated data de-duplication.

“Today, most de-duplication products are software-based, which is slow,” says John Matze, Hifn’s vice president of business development. “If a company is already using encryption along with compression, adding de-dupe to the mix throws a lot of work onto the CPU.”

The cards include two key functions for reducing the amount of redundant data: SHA-1 or MD5 hashing algorithms and single-pass LZS data compression, which provides a 2.5:1 compression ratio on average, according to Hifn officials. An optional encryption engine is also available.

The full-height DR 250 is for PCI-X systems and the low-profile DR 255 is for PCI-Express (PCI-e) systems. Hifn claims a throughput rate of up to 250MBps, which meets the performance requirements of IP SAN and NAS appliances running data de-duplication.

The Express DR 250/255 cards support a variety of hardware-based data security and authentication functions combined with AES256 encryption. The cards also provide a hardware-based ANSI X9.17 random number generator. MSRP for the Express DR 250/255 accelerator cards is $1,195.

Unitrends enhances DP/DR

Unitrends has a new version of its Data Protection and Rapid Recovery platform and a high-capacity model of its Multi-Drive Archive System. The integrated data-protection and vaulting appliances now offer support for more than 30 operating systems (including VMware) and 30TB of removable disk capacity.

Data Protection and Rapid Recovery 3.1 includes integrated support for VMware’s ESX 3.0 Server Backup and VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB), and improved Windows integration with Microsoft SQL MSDE and Exchange 2007.

A Centralized Management Console provides the ability to manage multiple Data Protection Units (DPUs) and Data Protection Vaults (DPVs).

On the hardware side, Unitrends has given its Multi-Drive Archive System a shot in the arm when it comes to scalability. The system—which includes 4TB of raw capacity—now allows customers to use removable disk technology for archiving data in the range of 10TB to 30TB (uncompressed).

The higher-capacity Multi-Drive Archive is also supported by the new Data Protection and Rapid Recovery 3.1 platform and includes up to four drives per archive and RAID-0 data protection.

All new DPUs are shipping with the version 3.1 software at a starting price of just under $5,000.

PivotStor intros e-mail appliances

With its recently released e-mail archiving/management appliances, start-up PivotStor hopes to differentiate its products from multiple vendors’ point products with an “all-in-one” bundled configuration that includes a number of software functions, such as archiving, anti-spam and anti-virus protection, encryption, and digital signatures.

Under the EP-Ware umbrella term, the EP-Series appliances include the following applications integrated with a common interface:

  • EP-Filter prevents spam and viruses from reaching mailboxes (and reduces the workload on e-mail servers);
  • EP-Archive copies, indexes, classifies, and archives filtered e-mail by user accounts, and includes single-instancing functionality for eliminating redundant attachments; and
  • EP-Secure encrypts and digitally signs incoming/outgoing e-mails for security

The software also includes online search and functionality for achieving compliance with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and Basel II.

Bundled with Intel-based hardware, pricing starts at $1,250 for a desktop model with support for up to 50 users and five licenses for each application. The appliances are also available in higher-capacity 1U and 2U rack-mount configurations. The company claims that the appliances can process up to 830,000 e-mails per day. PivotStor sells exclusively through the channel.

The EP-Series of e-mail archiving appliances is the second product line announced by the start-up. Earlier this year, PivotStor began selling a series of tape automation products based on half-height LTO-4 technology. The libraries feature capacity up to 154TB (96 tapes at 1.6TB each), up to four half-height LTO-4 drives per library in 4U or 8U form factors, throughput up to 1.7TB per hour in dual-drive configurations, and point-to-point bandwidth up to 3Gbps in SAS configurations. Pricing for the tape libraries starts at less than $13,000.

LSI delivers MD2 adapters

LSI is shipping to the channel three half-length, low-profile MegaRAID SAS/SATA adapters that fit into the PCI Express MD2 form factor. Based on the company’s SAS1078 RAID on Chip (ROC) controller, the family includes the MegaRAID 8704EM2 (four internal ports), 8708EM2 (eight internal ports), and 8880EM2 (eight external ports). The adapters support virtually all RAID levels, including RAID 6. Onboard memory ranges from 128MB to 512MB.

Promise ships SAS/SAS RAID

Promise Technology’s SuperTrak EX8658 and EX8654 are SAS/SATA RAID controllers that can connect to the company’s 12-bay or 16-bay E-Class JBOD expansion units. The controllers support RAID 5 and RAID 6. The EX8658 has eight external ports, and the EX8654 has four internal ports and four external ports.

Samsung launches mobile drives

Designed primarily for notebooks and entry-level enterprise systems such as blade servers, Samsung has added two 2.5-inch SATA disk drives to its Spinpoint line. The MP2 has a rotation speed of 7,200rpm, stores up to 250GB on two disks and comes with 16MB of memory. The Spinpoint M6 stores up to 500GB on three disks with a height of 9.5mm (compared to 2.5mm for most other three-disk, 2.5-inch drives) and has a rotation speed of 5,400rpm. MSRP for the Spinpoint M6 is $299.

This article was originally published on April 01, 2008