Storage Hub on Tap from SAN Valley

CAMPBELL, CALIF. (04/26/2000) - The already crowded storage market got another player this week with SAN Valley Systems Inc.'s introduction of a compact, low-cost managed hub that promises high availability.

Startup SAN Valley's first product, the Aspen Managed Hub, is a 10-port SCSI-to-Fibre Channel hub that contains dual fans and power supplies. The box can be configured in a single Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop configuration or in redundant dual loops. Starting at $4,500, the Aspen is less expensive than similarly configured hubs, analysts say.

"SAN Valley's Aspen hub is the first redundant and fault-tolerant managed hub in its price range," says Steve Duplessie, an analyst with Enterprise Storage Group in Milford, Massachusetts. "You have to go considerably up the line to $200,000 director-caliber products before you get removable hot-pluggable power supplies and cooling fans. Ultimately, other storage-area network (SAN) vendors, such as Crossroads Systems and Brocade, will have to start offering products of this type."

SAN Valley was launched in August 1999 by four founders with experience at G2 Networks, an early SAN start-up, and Com21, a manufacturer of cable modems. The company will also manufacture a 24-port Fibre Channel switch as well as WAN and metropolitan-area network products for the growing SAN-over-IP market, which is generating interest among a lot of dot-com companies.

"The world lives on IP networks," Duplessie says. "You will see more and more [SAN over IP] in the future when network infrastructure players such as Nortel and Cisco jump into the market. SAN over IP is not going to replace Fibre Channel, but it's going to be a lot cheaper than running ATM. It's not perfect, but it's a heck of a lot better than shipping tapes Federal Express."

The Aspen is managed from a Windows NT Workstation-based application dubbed SAN Patrol. The software has SNMP support and serial support for out-of-band communications. It can monitor the status of the fans, power supplies and each port for fault detection and isolation.

The management software can also be used to configure the hub and send status updates to HP OpenView. Future plans call for integration with Computer Associates' Unicenter TNG and Tivoli's TME.

The Aspen Managed Hub will be available this month.

SAN Valley: www.sanvalley.com.

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