Bringing storage to the requirements

Snap Server 4100 is an inexpensive NAS (network attached storage) unit that can add as much as 240GB of file storage capacity. Companies looking to overcome the challenge of securely storing enormous amounts of software, graphics, sound, and image files should consider the 4100. We liked the fact that it gives companies with heterogeneous networks an easy-to-set-up solution with no downtime.

Despite having only one power supply, the Snap Server installs in minutes, can be remotely administered via a browser-based GUI, and has a slim design perfect for space-conscious sites.

New to the Snap Server is support for SNMP so administrators can manage a Snap Server using tools such as Hewlett-Packard Co. Open View and Computer Associates International Inc. Unicenter.

MTI's Vivant S200 is an inexpensive, ready-to-use alternative to implementing a SAN piece by piece. It can deliver most of the benefits of a SAN in just a few hours. The unit has very fast disk drives that share the load to provide good performance even on RAID volumes.

An entry-level unit, the Vivant SAN lacks features and scalability that are found in more expensive SAN solutions. The management software is adequate for all configuration and monitoring activities but requires resetting the unit, therefore stopping your applications for some tasks.

The S200 combines the speed and flexibility of fiber cable, the superior management capability of a SAN, and the ease of installation of a NAS appliance.

SANavigator promises automatic discovery of all devices on your SAN (storage area network), regardless of the brand. Its seamless, single-point management uses each device's native functionality and delivers timely notification of malfunctions via e-mail or pager, keeping your storage units working and business applications functioning.

We were impressed with the product's SAN monitoring capability. Double-clicking on either of the two switches triggers SANavigator to invoke the management software embedded in the units, giving technicians the information to fix the problem.


MTI Vivant S200

Business Case: The MTI S200 offers SAN performance at a cost per gigabyte that is competitive with high-end NAS solutions. An easy update path for a sixfold storage increase in a single unit should appease memory-hungry companies.

Technology Case: The choice of components from established vendors of fiber components makes this unit a good candidate for vendor-independent management software.


+ Easy to install and manage

+ Rack-mounted (10U) or self-standing unit+ Fault tolerant with redundant critical componentsCons:

- Short service interruptions

- Proprietary, unit-focused, management softwareCost: $67,000 for dual controller unit and 218GB storage; $100,000 for 1.7TBPlatform(s): Unix and Windows clients connected via Fibre Channel Host AdapterMTI Technology Corp., Anaheim, Calif., (800) 999-9684; www.mti.comTHE BOTTOM LINE: BETASnap Server 4100Business Case: This NAS unit provides a quick storage solution -- simply plug it in to a network. Administrators eliminate expensive installation costs while resolving their storage needs.

Technology Case: Thanks to RAID5 technology, a 233MHz Pentium processor, an increase of 128MB of memory, and four 60GB hard drives housed in an easily accessible 1.75-inch-high chassis, the 4100 is a good storage unit for heterogeneous networks.


+ Easy to install and manage

+ Remote administration via browser-based GUI+ Heterogeneous network supportCons:

- Only one power supply

- Only available as rack mountable

Cost: Ranges from $2,999 to $4,499

Platform(s): Multiprotocol connectivity for Microsoft, Novell, Macintosh, and Unix/Linux networks.

Snap Appliances Inc., San Jose, Calif.; (408) 232-6831, www.snapappliances.comTHE BOTTOM LINE: EXCELLENTConnex SANavigator 1.5Business Case: SANavigator simplifies the complexity of managing SAN monitoring tools from different vendors and offers a common interface to centralize administration and diagnostics while lowering the cost of both functions.

Technology Case: Developed in Java, SANavigator supports Unix and Windows clients and can remotely manage a SAN via a browser-based GUI, reducing the number of technicians required to keep your infrastructure alive.


+ Automatic discovery of SAN configurations over fiber or HTTP+ Graphic and textual configuration export facility+ Unattended monitoring of SAN malfunctionsCons:

- Some major SAN components not integratedCost: $200 per switch portPlatform(s): Unix and Windows 95/98/2000, Windows NTConnex Inc., San Jose, Calif.; (408) 232-9701,

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More about CA TechnologiesConnexHewlett-Packard AustraliaMicrosoftNovellSANavigatorSnap ApplianceUnicenterVivant

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