11th Annual Well-Connected Awards: Storage and Servers

It's all about storing data this year: Where to put it and how to get it there fast, manage it and keep it safe. Find out which products we

May 4, 2005

8 Min Read
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iSCSI Host Bus Adapter

Winner: SES1001T iSCSI Accelerator. Alacritech, (877) 338-7542, (408) 287-9997. www.alacritech.comWithout a dedicated host bus adapter, your iSCSI SAN is destined to eat up processor power and spend life in the slow lane. The Alacritech SES1001T was the only iSCSI HBA whose capabilities included "teaming"--pooling more than one card with redundant data paths to ensure that a network outage did not automatically set off a server outage. The Alacritech HBA returned double the performance numbers of its nearest competitor in our IOMeter throughput and latency testing. With strong showings in our bidirectional throughput tests and all the features we could ask for, this affordable device was the best iSCSI initiator we tested. (Read the original review)

Finalists:
• Adaptec iSCSI Card 7211C. Adaptec, (800) 442-7274, (408) 945-8600. www.adaptec.com

• SANblade QLA4010C iSCSI Host Bust Adapter. QLogic Corp., (800) 662-4471, (949) 389-6000. www.qlogic.com

SAN ManagerWinner: SANavigator 4.0.2. McData Corp., (800) 545-5773 (720) 558-8000. www.mcdata.com

Autodetection and the ability to manage a diverse set of SAN products are critical features in SAN-management software, and SANavigator provides them. Furthermore, SANavigator's advanced security features helped us to include security in our overall storage management portfolio. SANavigator's expansion management feature was icing on our storage cake. This innovative feature let us plan system upgrades and predict their effect on our overall storage network. (Read the original review)

Finalists:
• BrightStor SAN Manager 1.1. Computer Associates International, (888) 423-1000, (631) 342-6000. www.ca.com

• SANView 5.2 (now shipping 5.5). Softek Storage Solutions (formerly Fujitsu Softek), (703) 288-5800. www.softek.com

Online Backup Service

Winner: LiveVault Online Backup and Recovery Service (now known as LiveVault InSync). LiveVault Corp., (877) VAULT-ME, (508) 460-6670. www.livevault.com

All the online backup services we tested this year had good backup and restore capabilities and could support multiple platforms. LiveVault, however, stood out with a purely Web-based management interface that let us control backups and restores from nearly anywhere. Remote-restore capability is important, because you may not be able to log in through your normal machines to restore them. With the additional protection of Web interface encryption, LiveVault keeps your data private while protecting your systems from massive failures.

Finalists:
• InfoSure. Data Base File Tech Group, (800) 661-0272, (250) 727-9811. www.infosure.com

• EVault Protect. EVault, (877) 382-8581, (510) 903-7100. www.evault.com

Virtual Tape

Winner: Clariion Disk Library DL300. EMC Corp., (866) 464-7381, (508) 435-1000. www.emc.com

When your nightly backups protect your organization's heart and soul, you expect the system to be highly available and redundant. EMC's Clariion DL300 Disk Library delivers. This tape virtualization product beat the competition in our lab tests with its massive available space, ease of management and overall completeness. Based on IPStor's innovative virtualization software, the DL300 will give you reliable nightly backups and easy configuration for streaming off to tape. (Read the original review)

Finalists:
• Virtual Tape Library Appliance. Network Engines, (877) 638-9323, (781) 332-1000. www.networkengines.com• DX30 Disk-based Backup System. Quantum Corp., (800) 677-6268, (949) 856-7800. www.quantum.com

Storage Virtualization

Winner: StoreAge SVM. StoreAge Networking Technologies, (866) 804-6582, (949) 754-0640. www.storeage.com

When we sent out an RFI for merging the aging infrastructures of two companies, StoreAge Networking Technologies offered us the cleanest approach. Its out-of-band management system utilizing IP and the Storage Virtualization Management appliance supported the vast majority of our aging hardware. The storage virtualization offering replicates data at the same time it's being moved to the new target devices, letting you phase out your antiquated hardware without a massive overnight change. Of all the vendors, StoreAge plays the tough game of virtualization best. (Read the original review)Finalists:
• IBM TotatlStorage SAN Volume Controller. IBM, (800) 426-4968. www.ibm.com

• Storage Foundation for Networks. Veritas Software, (800) 327-2232, (800) 327-2232. www.veritas.com

Storage Security

Winner: Assurency SecureData 1.5. Kasten Chase, 1-800-263-1448 x3339, (905) 212-2861. www.kastenchase.comThe storage security solutions we examined in our Green Bay, Wis., Real-World Labs® covered database encryption, block- and file-level encryption, and access control. Assurancy SecureData offered the most options for protecting your data--from FC to iSCSI, encrypted on the disk, access control and authentication, with an add-on solution that provides for secure IM, e-mail and file sharing over the Internet. Performance of encryption functionality showed minimal impact in our IOMeter testing. (Read the original review)

Finalists:
• MDS 9216i. Cisco Systems, (800) 553-6387, (408) 526-4000. www.cisco.com

• SANtegrity Security Suite. McData Corp., (800) 545-5773, (720) 558-8000. www.mcdata.com

iSCSI TargetWinner: PeerStorage Array 100E. EqualLogic, (888) 579-9762, (603) 579-9762. www.equallogic.com

Offering 3.5 formatted terabytes, RAID 0 and RAID 5, simple IP connectivity and enterprise-class redundancy, EqualLogic's PS100E gave us all the storage without the storage networking hassles. The only downside we found were the limitations placed on the PS100E by using IP connections--even with their multiple redundant paths. When we reviewed this category last year, an OEM-only product won the Editor's Choice award. However, we found no other openly available product that could compete in every area with the PS100E in our evaluations this year. For expandability, performance and throughput, our tests showed that the EqualLogic product holds an edge over each competitor. (Read the original review)

Finalists:
• Snap Server 18000. Adaptec, (800) 442-7274, (408) 945-8600. www.adaptec.com

• IP5500. Intransa, (866) 446-8726, (408) 678-8600. www.intransa.com

Server

Winner: SunFire 40z Server. Sun Microsystems, (800) SUN-0404, (800) 555-9SUN, (650) 960-1300. www.sun.com

The SunFire 40z, from Sun Microsystems, uses true multiprocessing and HyperTransport technology to kick performance from merely fast to blazing. With two 1-Gigabit Ethernet cards, advanced remote-management capabilities and support for a broad array of both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems, the system performed near full speed for each processor. (Read the original Reviews: Review 1, Review 2)

Finalist:
• ftServer 2300 W Series. Stratus Technologies, (800) STRATUS, (978) 461-7000. www.stratus.com

Don MacVittie is a senior technology editor at Network Computing. Previously, he worked at WPS Resources as an application engineer. Write to him at [email protected].

Product of the Year --PeerStorage Array 100EClick to Enlarge

PeerStorage Array 100E. EqualLogic, (888) 579-9762, (603) 579-9762. www.equallogic.com

Midsize enterprises and departments in larger organizations have long needed the benefits of storage-area networks without investing millions of dollars to build a Fibre Channel SAN. The market has responded with "SAN-in-a-box" and high-end iSCSI solutions. For ease of configuration and management, the EqualLogic PS100E iSCSI target cannot be beat. The cost versus enterprise-class features and top-notch performance in our iSCSI throughput tests make it the best iSCSI setup we looked at all year, and iSCSI makes it more useful than any SAN-in-a-box for users not trained to deal with FC SANs. Offering terabytes of information storage with basic IP configuration, and expandability in a few mouse clicks, the PS100E is the iSCSI dream machine. The multiple Gigabit NICs in each box and the ability to drop another array in and say, "Add this array to existing volumes without any downtime" make the PS100E massively expandable, for a price that most small or midsize organizations will be willing to pay.

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