SAN FRANCISCO (04/25/2000) - Compaq Computer Corp. yesterday took the wraps off its strategy for managing enterprise storage. The modular-based strategy, embracing open SANs (storage area networks) as well as RAID (redundant array of independent disks) systems, will allow users to build up their storage infrastructure as their companies grow, according to Compaq.
SANs are back-end networks that link up storage devices through technologies such as SCSI (small computer system interface) and Fibre Channel.
Known as Enterprise Network Storage Management (ENSM), Compaq's initiative is a way to ensure company-wide management of open SAN storage. Yesterday's strategy supports the company's Enterprise Network Storage Architecture or ENSA, which focuses on standardizing Web-based user interfaces and management appliance.
Compaq's storage initiative is the company's answer to a sea change currently sweeping the whole storage market sector which is concerned with making the technology cheaper and more flexible in meeting users' requirements.
To put the flesh on the bones of Compaq's initiative, the company announced a raft of new products today:
-- The SANworks Enterprise Network Storage Manager Web portal, available in the fourth quarter of this year, will provide a central place for managing all of a company's storage requirements. The portal will link up to both Compaq's SANworks products as well as third-party software including Computer Associates International Inc.'s Unicenter TNG (the next generation), IBM Corp.'s Tivoli Enterprise and Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView.
-- The SANworks Management Appliance, directly hooked up to the SAN fabric, can carry out the centralized management and monitoring of SAN elements without the involvement of host computers to both simplify operations and cut costs.
-- Residing on the SANworks Management Appliance are several applications. The SANworks Open San Manager provides an interface for the Open SAN, allowing users to easily see, configure and monitor the SAN. The SANworks Resource Monitor offers event notification for StorageWorks switches and arrays both raising SAN availability and cutting the average time-to-repair. The SANworks Storage Allocation Reporter enables the billing of SAN storage as a utility service with the software's pricing model working out charges on a per G-byte per time period basis.
-- StorageWorks modular disk RAID arrays -- the MA8000 and the ESA12000 -- provide greater capacity, scalability and flexibility for storage consolidation on heterogeneous or homogeneous SANs. The systems can support a maximum of 132 drives in a single cabinet. The arrays also support the Linux and Windows 2000 operating systems.
Steve Duplessie, senior analyst with The Enterprise Storage Group Inc., based in Milford, Massachusetts, saw two key developments in yesterday's announcements from Compaq. The first is an effective doubling in the company's storage densities -- the amount of data that can be stored within a specific area. Compaq is now able to support 4.7T bytes in a single footprint.
"They're targeting the xSP market where footprint really matters," Duplessie said in a phone interview today. XSP is an acronym grouping together ASPs (application service providers), ISPs (Internet storage providers) and SSP (storage service providers.)The other more significant development is Compaq's SANworks Management Appliance. "It's relatively limited in capacity today, but it has the framework in place to add more and more storage capacity over time," Duplessie said.
The important feature of the SANworks Management Appliance is that it is "out of band," he said, explaining that this means the device is external to the data flow, so it won't impede performance.
"Being out of band is a good foundation to build more and more intelligence without sticking your nose into the data path and impacting performance," Duplessie said. Compaq is the first in this field with an out-of-band storage appliance, since other SAN devices are either host-based or are in the data flow, he added.
Compaq also announced yesterday that its SANworks and StorageWorks products support Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris 7.0 Unix operating system.
Earlier this month, Compaq signed a strategic relationship with storage service provider StorageNetworks Inc. [See "Storage Networks Boosted by Compaq, BMC, Hitachi," April 18.] StorageNetworks has an ambitious plan to establish a worldwide global data storage network via S-POPs (storage points of presence).
[See "Analysis: StorageNetworks: The New Face of Storage?," Feb. 14.]More information about Compaq's ENSM strategy can be found on the Internet at http://www.compaq.com/products/sanworks/ensm/index.html. Compaq, in Houston, Texas, can be reached at +1-281-370-0670 or via the Internet at http://www.compaq.com/.