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Times N on Trial

Another startup has entered the storage virtualization fray. Times N Systems Inc., which announced its first products June 25, says it's being trialed at seven prospective customer sites and will be installed in at least ten more test locations before the month is out.

The news puts Times N, founded in 1999, into the growing crowd of firms offering storage virtualization -- the pooling of storage across multiple servers and devices (see Virtualization Vendors Vie for OEMs).

Times N says it's unique in offering enterprise customers a way to virtualize not only the servers in their corporate networks, but the storage devices directly attached to those servers. The result, says the vendor, is a way to improve I/O in corporate networks two to four times, without buying Fibre Channel gear or new servers.

"We create a big virtual disk spanning multiple resources, then stripe data across the resources," says Margaret Lewis, program director of product marketing at Times N.

Times N's product, the TNS 1600, includes a specially designed PCI adapter that fits Intel servers. The adapters provide a high-speed, proprietary connection to Times N's hardware unit, called the TMN Shared Memory Node. Each node can handle the maximum equivalent of 16 servers, each equipped with 16-Gbytes of disk storage. Once the virtual disk is set up, Linux- or Windows2000-based software enables data to be controlled and manipulated.

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