DataDirect looks to lower SAN costs

DataDirect Networks is expected to release a new storage appliance Monday targeted at small and medium-sized companies who manage data across a number of servers.

Trying to lower the cost of building out a storage area network (SAN), DataDirect will take the wraps of its S2A 3000 Silicon Storage appliance which can serve us a data-hub for between one and eight servers, according to a statement. The product can transfer data at up to 400M bytes per second to servers running the Linux, Unix, Windows NT/2000, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX and IRIX operating systems.

Companies are building out SANs in an attempt to free up more data within their networks and manage information more effectively. Unlike traditional direct connections between storage systems and servers, SANs link hardware over a switching network. While proponents argue that SANs can help save money in the long run, smaller companies can find the cost of SAN hardware to be too expensive.

DataDirect is trying to reduce the initial cost of a SAN by pricing the product for small and mid-sized customers. The S2A 3000 will start at US$39,000 with 500G bytes of storage. A larger model that can store 1T byte of data will be priced at $49,995, according to a statement. DataDirect said the S2A 3000 will work best in a SAN holding between 500G bytes to 7T bytes of information.

Administrators can connect servers and workstations into one side of the 1U (1.75 inches) high appliance and connect to hard disks on the other side of the system.

Some smaller companies considering a SAN have been daunted by the task of managing the relatively complex networks. DataDirect touted a three-step set-up process for configuring the systems and setting up network virtualization. In addition, the company includes several software modules on the appliance to help with management.

Customers will be able to order the product starting Monday; it is expected to begin shipping in 60 days, a company spokesman said.

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