Startup challenges FC hub vendors

By Zachary Shess

With interoperability and management issues still being resolved, many storage system providers prefer to deploy SANs in smaller, more manageable steps. The "walk before you run" approach is also the mantra of startup SAN Valley Systems, which entered the crowded Fibre Channel hub market this month with a $4,500 product designed for applications such as entry-level Windows NT SANs, LAN-free backup, and clustering.

SAN Valley's Aspen managed hub is a 10-port Fibre Channel hub that can also operate in a dual 5-port architecture. Unlike most Fibre Channel hubs, the device includes dual power supplies and fans.

"All of our products will be focused on fault-tolerant designs, because reliability is a prime concern among users," says Peter Jordan, vice president of business development at SAN Valley, in Campbell, CA.

SAN Valley hopes it can also quell concerns about SAN component management and configuration. Aspen offers a choice of local and remote management and monitoring capabilities through its SAN Patrol suite, and configuration options by allowing a combined use of short-wave and long-wave fiber-optic and copper ports. SAN Patrol also includes manual and automatic port-control configuration modes.

With a starting price of $4,500, SAN Valley officials believe their price points will help carve a niche in the crowded hub market from administrators who are on the fence about how to network their storage.

Later this year, SAN Valley expects to ship a 24-port Fibre Channel switch, offering 2Gbps full-duplex support and zoning capability. Further product development in the next 12 months is expected to include SAN-over-IP devices for WANs and metropolitan area networks.

This article was originally published on June 01, 2000