SAN vendors to boost storage gear

A slew of vendors are expected to announce hardware and software next week at NetWorld+Interop 2000 that will help storage administrators back up, protect and manage their heterogeneous storage-area networks (SAN).

Gadzoox, a startup SAN vendor, will introduce a router that lets users join SCSI storage to Fibre Channel SANs. Ecrix will announce a compact, rack-mounted device network administrators can use to back up data stored on Linux, Windows NT and Unix networks and SANs. And NSI will show off software for Microsoft Cluster Server (MSCS) that protects data by replicating it between remote locations.

Storage requirements are growing exponentially, says The Yankee Group. Sixty-five percent of overall systems spending is allocated for storage, according to a Yankee study.

Limited space is also spurring vendors to design products that can fit in standard equipment racks. "If you combine a rack-mounted set of tape units with a box such as the Crossroads or Gadzoox Fibre-to-SCSI routers, you can build a SAN for Linux, NT or NetWare server clusters in a single rack," says Rob Turk, co-founder of RTist BV, a software development company in Hoevelaken, the Netherlands.

Gadzoox' Geminix is a compact router that supports up to two Fibre Channel ports and four SCSI ports, which connect Fibre Channel SANs to SCSI disk and tape systems. The box supports third-party copy, also known as serverless backup, in which back-up traffic is removed from the server and network, freeing them for other operations.

The Geminix operates in conjunction with Windows 2000 and NT, Unix, NetWare and Linux servers, is SNMP-manageable and supports zoning or partitioning of drives by network operating system. It will be available in June for a starting price of $5,500 for one Fibre Channel and two SCSI connections.

Over at Ecrix, the firm's new RakPak consists of two tape drives that take a single slot in a standard rack and can back up more than 130 G bytes of data. It works with backup and recovery software from Veritas, Legato and Computer Associates. The RakPak costs less than $2,600 and is available now.

As for NSI, the company's DoubleTake GeoCluster ensures protected data in another way. The package lets customers build and link MSCS clusters across geographic distances and replicate data from one location to another using IP.

The software provides for fault tolerance in the event of server failure and for increased availability. The GeoCluster software will ship in June for $4,000 per two-node cluster. GeoCluster operates on NT and Win 2000 networks and requires identical servers.

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