Legato Banks on Clustering, Partners SAN Plan

Legato Systems Inc. this week unveiled its Information Utility storage area network (SAN) strategy and announced partnerships to help boost the market.

The SAN market is already crowded with powerhouses such as EMC, Hewlett-Packard, and Veritas, but Legato and its partners hope to craft an architecture to provide faster backup, reduced LAN congestion, and improved storage systems management.

"Businesses have islands of isolated data," said Nora Denzel, senior vice president at Legato. "Storage must become accessible in a 'never-fail' storage service."

Information Utility will incorporate many currently available products and will also capitalize on clustering products Legato obtained through its acquisition of FullTime Software in October 1998, and backup technologies netted when Legato acquired Intelliguard Software in January.

Denzel compared the emergence of the SAN to the development of the LAN in the 1980s. She said the first phase of LANs, in which "islands of networking" did not effectively work together, was followed by the development of network standards such as SNMP and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, which in turn empowered vendors and network managers to develop coherent, policy-based networks.

With the advent of the SAN "you will see self-healing, policy management, and the rise of the storage network manager," Denzel said.

Kimball Brown, an analyst at Dataquest, in San Jose, California, wondered whether the "brewing standards war" pitting Intel's Next Generation I/O against IBM's Future I/O would impact SAN markets and technology development.

Denzel responded that the competing I/O initiatives, which are similarly switch-based, will likely result in a compromise agreement, and in the meantime SANs need to be developed.

Legato Systems Inc., in Palo Alto, California, is at www.legato.com.

(Nancy Weil is a Boston correspondent for the IDG News Service, an InfoWorld affiliate.)SIDEBAR: Smart StorageLegato has many partners contributing products to its SAN strategy.

-- Intelligent tape libraries: Exabyte, Advanced Digital Information, ATL Products-- Fibre Channel RAID arrays: Box Hill Systems-- Fibre Channel hub and tape libraries: Storage Technology-- Fibre Channel disk arrays: Clariion-- Fibre Channel host bus adapters: QLogic

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