SAN JOSE, CALIF. (06/08/2000) - Gadzoox Networks Inc. next week will announce an appliance that lets storage administrators group their heterogeneous servers and storage into a pool so disk space can be shared efficiently among a variety of servers.
The Axxess hardware/software package contains a "white box" Pentium III Xeon server, pooling software and a Gadzoox Capellix switch.
The Axxess lets storage administrators connect any Windows, Solaris, Linux, NetWare, Hewlett-Packard-UX, AIX or Macintosh server via the Capellix switch to any Fibre Channel or SCSI disk array. With the Axxess pooling software running on a Windows NT server, network professionals can assign storage to any server and move it around.
"We have Windows NT and NetWare running on Compaq and IBM servers that we want to consolidate to all different types of legacy and Fibre Channel storage. In addition, the DataCore software lets our network administrators view storage and share access of users to data in a fashion they are accustomed to: by logical volumes and directories across servers," says Richard Boyle, vice president of Chase Global Private Banking in New York, which is in a pilot project with Axxess.
Flexibility is also a key advantage for the package, analysts say.
"If you are a storage administrator, you want to be able to put any server with any storage," says Dave Hill, an analyst with the Aberdeen Group in Boston.
"This is why the [Axxess product and its DataCore software] with its disk virtualization technique is so useful. It is able to virtualize storage for a variety of reasons."
For instance, Hill says you might want to buy a high-performance disk array and mirror it to a less expensive JBOD (just a bunch of disks) to save money.
Axxess works with storage devices from EMC, Compaq and IBM, among others, and with back-up software from Computer Associates, Legato and Veritas. The box is available as the model 200, a high-end appliance for consolidating backups; and the model 400, an appliance that can be paired with another 400 to provide high-availability and failover support.
The Axxess 200 uses an eight-port Capellix 2000 switch, SANsymphony Server software and 528M bytes of server memory. The model 400 uses the Capellix 3000 and supports up to 32 ports of Fibre Channel or SCSI links, SANsymphony Network software and 2G bytes of memory. The entry-level Server Edition supports a single storage pool managed by an Axxess server. The Network Edition supports enhanced performance and larger-scale network-storage pools spanning two or more Axxess servers.
In addition, Axxess sports four Fibre Channel host-bus adapters from Qlogic, one for each server. The dual processor, 555-MHz Axxess server runs NT and has hot-pluggable fans, power supplies and redundant disk drives.
Axxess uses SANsymphony software from DataCore Software that lets storage disks be shared among any server. It also allows disk mirroring, LAN-free and serverless backups and point-in-time snapshot backups. LAN-free and serverless backups eliminate network congestion and server CPU processing by removing the back-up process from the network and server. In snapshot backup, an image of the data is taken at regular intervals and in the event of a failure, data can be restored from one of the previous images.
The SANsymphony software is managed from a central NT console and uses caching algorithms to speed-read and write performance for most applications. Using the software, storage administrators can partition disk volumes and drag and drop them to different servers.
Further, Gadzoox has added an event manager, which monitors faults and sends an alert to the management console.
Axxess 200 will be available in July for $50,000; the 400 will cost $125,000.
SANsymphony software bought alone from DataCore without a Fibre Channel switch, server hardware or connection kits start at $8,000 and ranges from $30,000 to $40,000.
Gadzoox: www.gadzoox. com; DataCore: www.datacoresoftware.com.