Storage highlights NAB show

By Infostor staff

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Each year, more and more storage vendors use the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show to highlight their wares, and this year is no exception, in part because of the broad acceptance of Fibre Channel in the video and entertainment markets. NAB2000 will take place April 8-13 in Las Vegas.

Since video and entertainment are still the dominant application areas for Fibre Channel storage area networks (SANs), it's no surprise that those technologies will be taking center stage. If Fibre Channel SANs are on your radar screen, your first stop at the show should be the Fibre Channel Industry

Association (FCIA) exhibit area - booth #M9240. More than 20 companies (see vendor list) have banded together to show off Fibre Channel products and to demonstrate interoperability and management, two of the biggest hurdles to SAN implementation. One application highlight will be a multi-vendor demonstration of a SAN fabric running TV/video applications.

Outside of the FCIA exhibit area, DataDirect Networks (booth #S3427) will exhibit for the first time its SAN DataDirector, a SAN "appliance" that provides centralized infrastructure management while increasing SAN performance. The DataDirector is designed to simplify building storage networks, and can plug into existing SAN infrastructures. The 28-port appliance combines switching, caching, RAID, and management/security functionality.

Atto Technology (Booth #S3450) will show a variety of products, including the FibreBridge Fibre Channel-to-Ultra SCSI bridge, which allows integrators to attach SCSI devices to a Fibre Channel SAN; FibreBridge Enterprise, a rackmount configuration for HDTV, streaming video and broadcast applications; SAN Solution, a Mac and NT-based configuration for digital video applications; and a dual-channel Ultra3 SCSI host adapter.

CyberStorage Systems (Booth #M7642) will highlight its Media Server, a RAID-based server optimized for real-time multimedia applications. The system can store MPEG, WAV, JPEG, 3D graphics, and animation files. The company claims sustained transfer rates of 120MBps. Pricing ranges from $20,000 for a system that supports 20 MPEG streams to $500,000 for a high-end configuration that can handle up to 1,000 MPEG streams.

Hammer Storage (Booth #S3431) will show the latest addition to its Sledge-Hammer family of Fibre Channel RAID subsystems. The SLPRO12-FC/FC-FT is an end-to-end Fibre Channel system with up to 12 FCAL disk drives, 600GB per enclosure (25TB maximum), 32MB I/O request sizes, and full redundancy. Prices range from $42,000 for a 500GB configuration to $75,000 for a 1TB system.

Enclosure manufacturer JMR Electron-ics (Booth #M8351) will display its line of Fortra enclosures, including the most recent addition to the family: a six-bay unit that includes a CMD Technology RAID controller with one Ultra SCSI LVD host channel and two Ultra SCSI SE disk channels. In addition to standard Fortra features, the new enclosure includes an LCD display for access, configuration, and fault detection. Supporting up to six 3.5-inch disk drives, the enclosure is priced at $3,970.

Storage Concepts (Booth #S5650) will demonstrate three RAID subsystems at NAB. Aimed primarily at applications such as HDTV and broadcast video, the Fibre Space-2000 is spec'd at 170MBps and provides 700GB per chassis. The FibreRAID 2000 is a real-time RAID array that delivers 200MBps and 400GB per chassis. The SentryRAID includes a transportable drive module for applications that require data removability.

Storage Concepts will also be showing a fully configured SAN.

Tape at NAB

Tape vendors ADIC, Ampex, Exabyte and Sony will also demonstrate new technologies at next month's show. ADIC (Booth #L3413) will unveil two new storage products: StorNext, a network-attached archive appliance, and CentraVision File-Sharing System, a collaborative workflow tool for SAN environments.

StorNext integrates disk, tape, and automated data management into a 1TB to 60TB device that plugs directly into NT, Unix, or mixed-platform networks. It is available in an external 1U rack-mountable unit, or can be internally mounted in ADIC Scalar 100 libraries.

CentraVision enables users to share files without moving data over the network, addressing bandwidth issues and shortening project timelines. The system is designed for high-volume data applications, such as post-production, real-time broadcast, and graphics.

Ampex (Booth #L2003) will unveil a quad-density DST video-server archival tape system capable of storing 150 hours of MPEG video on a single cartridge-a 100% increase over existing Ampex libraries. The device features multiple independent tape partitions on a single cartridge and "system zones" for optimum capacity usage, faster cartridge exchange rates, and reduced file search times.

On the drive front, Exabyte (Booth #L6857) will launch Mammoth-2 (M2) with native Fibre Channel connectivity. The Fibre Channel M2 drive can be connected to switched fabric environments without a Fibre-to-SCSI bridge, thereby reducing costs and improving overall SAN performance over longer distances.

Sony (Booth #L12107) will exhibit its line of DTF-2 libraries (see New Products, InfoStor, February 2000, p. 53) and Digital Asset Management solutions, which include content management software releases. Sony's demo center will feature a digital asset management area, which will focus on connectivity to a Sony PetaSite, as well as a DMS-B150L library that houses DTF-2 and Sony Digital Betacam units.

Optical RAID debuts

On the optical front, Asaca Shibasoku, Cygnet Storage Solutions, and Disc Inc. are expected to demonstrate a new twist in optical drives and libraries: optical RAID.

With optical library/jukebox sales flat in recent years, optical RAID may be the catalyst to drive this technology into new application areas. According to Fred Bedard, vice president of sales and marketing at Ultera Systems, a removable RAID controller vendor, striping data across optical drives or libraries will help e-business companies that require archival storage, but need the random access that tape can't provide.

"We see optical RAID as a major breakthrough, because transfer rates have held optical back from impacting the multimedia market," says Dick Ellis, president and CEO of Disc Inc. (Booth #I5832).

Asaca and its U.S. distributor, NetSource Inc. (Booth# L11822), will show optical RAID with Asaca's Teracart DVD libraries. Equipped with Ultera's optical RAID controllers and Panasonic's DVD-RAM drives, the libraries will be configured as RAID sets and will function as part of a SAN. Cygnet Storage Solutions also plans to demonstrate optical RAID.

Elsewhere, JVC Digital Storage Systems (Booth #L12118) will showcase its DVD Archiving Solution using DVD-RAM technology. JVC's 100-, 200-, and 600-disc CD/DVD library systems are expected to scale from 1.56TB to 5.64TB by year's end.

Pioneer New Media Technologies (Booth #S4657) plans to demonstrate a number of recently introduced optical products, including its second-generation DVD-V7400 Industrial DVD-Video player, DVR-S201 DVD-Recordable drive, and DRM-7000 FlexLibrary storage system.

FCIA NAB exhibitors

Ancor Communications
Atto Technology
Brocade Communications
Chaparral Network Storage
Cielo Communications
Hitachi America
JMR Electronics
SAN Solutions
SanCastle Technologies
Seagate Technology

This article was originally published on March 01, 2000