DataDirect Aims to Simplify Storage

SAN MATEO (04/04/2000) - In an effort to simplify the complexities of SANs (storage area networks), DataDirect Networks Inc. has introduced DataDirector, an intelligent network device that incorporates the key interconnect components of current SANs into a single, integrated, plug-and-play appliance.

Featuring 28 ports, eight of which are for users and 20 for storage, the DataDirector offers 800MBps throughput in both directions, which is fractionalized depending on the number of users connected to the SAN interface, according to Robert Woolery, the senior director of strategic business at DataDirect.

The device routes the constant flow of data off the network where it is laid out according to how often the individual data is recalled from storage. By keeping the most used information in the most accessible areas of the storage architecture, recalled information "runs at an optimized speed, and the system doesn't have to search from A to Z," Woolery said.

"We've been watching this product for at least two years," said Ken Bacci, the president of systems integrator Patuxent Technology Partners, a user of the product. "We've known about it under NDA [non-disclosure agreement] and have been real impressed by its potential."

"It reduces the complexity of the network fabric," Bacci said. "If you have lots of data shared in a SAN environment, and you start layering switches and interconnecting users, that layering gets complicated and expensive. The number of channels you can put through [the DataDirector] reduces the number of switches you need, and we've seen some significant cost savings compared to the classical RAID controllers you see today."

The DataDirector is compatible with AIX, Solaris, Windows NT, Linux, and Silicon Graphics platforms, and is undergoing qualification for S/390 mainframes, according to Woolery.

Suggested retail price for the stand-alone unit is $75,000, available through the channel.

DataDirect Networks Inc., in Chatsworth, California, is at www.datadirectnet.com. Patuxent Technology Partners LLC, in Clarksville, Maryland, is at www.patuxent-tech.com.

Dan Neel is an InfoWorld reporter.

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