Startup Touts Interoperable SAN Device

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. (05/11/2000) - Startup StorageApps began selling a hardware/software appliance this month that could be the glue that links any type of storage device to any host computer, the company says. It will also solve the problem of getting one device to work with another.

Dubbed the Storage Application Appliance, the device runs StorageApps SANsuite software and works on Windows NT, Unix, Linux, Solaris and NetWare to link servers to any disk array, tape library or disk drive in a storage-area network (SAN). With Gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as Fibre Channel and SCSI connections, the appliance can also link any type of SAN to a LAN, WAN or metropolitan-area network.

The Storage Application Appliance and SANsuite are targeted at large corporate networks and designed to let administrators share a single storage device among bunches of servers or take several underused storage devices and link them to one NT server.

"This appliance would be of great interest to me if all my platforms could play the same game; if I could centralize not only Unix, but also NT and NetWare," says Ron Diebert, manager of network services for Baltimore County.

Built with Pentium Xeon processors, the three-processor appliance is rack-mountable and contains integrated Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel and SCSI connectors, as well as software that performs the assignment of data partitions to specific servers.

StorageApp's appliance combines the features of many Fibre Channel hubs and switches with the Fibre Channel-to-Gigabit Ethernet capability now available in some routers. Dell Computer Corp. will adopt the StorageApps black box and software within the next month to complement its storage products, according to StorageApps. Dell declined to comment.

SANsuite consists of data-mirroring software and snapshot copy capability, as well as virtual device management and security.

In data mirroring, data is simultaneously written to storage devices that are separated from each other by up to 10 kilometers over T-1, T-3, Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, ATM or Fibre Channel connections. The snapshot copy function lets an administrator instantly create an image of data that is copied to a local or remote system.

The Storage Application Appliance and SANsuite are available now starting at $202,000.

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