Compaq Rolls Out SAN Software and Arrays

Compaq Computer this week announced a variety of hardware and software storage products for users of heterogeneous Windows NT, Sun Solaris and Unix networks.

The products Compaq introduced are:

An appliance for managing storage-area networks (SAN).

A Web-based management portal.

The Open SAN Manager.

The Storage Allocation Reporter.

Two storage arrays.

The SANworks Management Appliance operates as an out-of-band device on the SAN and is used to manage and monitor Compaq StorageWorks storage arrays and Fibre Channel switches. It reduces processing on the network server by offloading management functions. Initially three applications will operate on the SAN appliance. They are the SANworks Open SAN Manager, the SANworks Resource Monitor and the Storage Allocation Reporter.

The SANworks appliance contains four PCI slots for peripheral expansion and a Fibre Channel adapter for attachment to the network. It also contains a modem for event notification and remote management and an embedded network adapter for communication with the local network. The appliance is host-server-independent and can run on Linux, NetWare, Windows 2000 or NT and Unix networks. The $US10,500 appliance is Pentium-based and will be available in the US in mid-May.

The SAN Web portal, dubbed the SANworks Enterprise Network Storage Manager, is the entry point to Compaq's storage architecture. From the portal the storage administrator can employ the Open SAN Manager, Storage Allocation Reporter and the SAN Resource Manager. Other utilities will be added. SAN, network-attached storage and directly-attached storage management. It will be available in the fourth quarter and is not priced yet.

The Open SAN Manager lets storage administrators map the SAN, configure and monitor storage devices and Fibre Channel switches across NT, Linux, Unix or NetWare platforms. The software is Web-based.

The SANworks Resource Monitor allows fault and failure notification to e-mail, pager, customer site, Web browser or Simple Network Management Protocol traps. It monitors the Compaq StorageWorks Array RA8000 and ESA12000 and Brocade switches. It is browser-based, costs $US16,000 and will be available mid-May.

The Storage Allocation Reporter is an accounting utility that allows storage space to be billed on an as-used basis. It allows companies to assign costs to storage, track storage consumption and bill users on a gigabyte-per-time-period basis. The Reporter is Web-based and accounts for use on Compaq StorageWorks Raid Array 8000 or 12000 subsystems. It starts at $US16,000.

The StorageWorks MA8000 and EMA12000 disk arrays supplement existing Compaq storage arrays. They have greater capacity and flexibility than the RA8000 and the ESA12000. The new storage arrays support up to 2.2 terabytes and 132 drives in a single rack and work with Compaq ProLiant and AlphaServer servers. They support Win 2000, NT, Linux and Unix operating systems and are equipped for configuration in UltraSCSI, Fibre Channel switched fabric and arbitrated loop environments.

"Increased storage [capacity] is important in the xSP market and large companies where real estate counts," says Steve Duplessie, analyst for the Enterprise Storage Group in Milford, Mass. "The storage appliance gives Compaq a good out-of-band [method] to add storage-resource management [SRM]."

Normally, SRM will sit on the host and chew up CPU cycles, Duplessie says.

The storage arrays let multiple hosts access a single subsystem for host consolidation and increased utilization. In addition, they are configurable with dual controllers, caches, power supplies and redundant cooling in the event of component failure.

Further, Compaq announced that its SANworks software and the StorageWorks storage arrays now work on Sun Solaris platforms. Software that runs on Solaris 7 can do storage reporting, snapshot backup, data replication, failover and accounting. In addition, the SANworks Management Appliance and the two new disk arrays operate on Solaris networks.

Bill Riedy, associate vice president of First Albany, has Solaris and NT networks and Compaq StorageWorks storage.

"Sun has not had a good storage vision. In terms of price/performance, their storage subsystems have been lackluster," Riedy says. "With Compaq storage, we were able to reach the type of RAID fault-tolerance we needed at the price and growth we wanted. We had an immediate need for 200G bytes of fault-tolerant storage."

In the next six months, Riedy expects his storage requirements to expand to a terabyte of data. "The scalability, disaster recovery and cross-platform options of Compaq storage dovetail into other plans I have for business continuity," Riedy says.

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