Candera in the Wind

Claims 'network storage controller' works with slew of vendors, but stays mum on box's details

April 18, 2003

3 Min Read
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PHOENIX -- Storage Networking World Spring 2003 -- Candera Inc. continues to drip-feed information about its storage management device. The startup is still holding off on saying exactly what its box does, when it will be finished, or how much it will cost.

Sundi Sundaresh, president and CEO of Candera, refers to the product as "the first enterprise-class network storage controller on the market." What does that mean, you ask? Generally, Candera has talked about providing storage provisioning, charge-back, and other services via its purpose-built device, supposedly eliminating the need to separately manage different vendors' systems.

"We don't want to contribute to hype and set expectations that we can't deliver on," Sundaresh says, by way of explaining why Candera is not revealing many details of its system yet. Fine: How about setting expectations you can deliver on?

At Storage Networking World this week, the company (formerly called Confluence Networks) made a big deal out of the various devices and software it claims to be interoperable with -- more than 15 separate vendors' products (see Candera Gets Interoperable).

These include storage from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), LSI Logic Storage Systems Inc., MTI Technology Corp. (Nasdaq: MTIC), Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) (NYSE: STK), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW); Fibre Channel switches from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA), and QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC); volume managers from HP, IBM, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Sun, and Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS); multiple host bus adapters; and various storage software applications."The message is the emphasis on the architecture and the investment we've made in interoperability," says Sundaresh.

In an attempt to show that it has been getting "traction," Candera put us in touch with one of its 10 beta testers on the condition that we not identify him or his company (see Can Candera Compete?).

We spoke with "Vaclav" [ed. note: not his real name!], a senior IT executive at a Fortune 500 financial services institution. "Vaclav" confirmed that he was checking out the Candera box. "One of the appeals of the Candera solution is the combination of hardware and software," he says. "It's more a personal belief of mine that when you deal with things in the physical world like disk drives, it can't all be done in software."

However, he is also looking at software from MonoSphere Inc. as well as the Rhapsody switch from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) (see Brocade Reupholsters Rhapsody and MonoSphere Whirls Out).

"Vaclav" adds that the beta of the Candera system the company has in its labs "does seem to be working very well at this point, although there are some limitations -- it doesn't work with everything we'd like it to."Right. Well, sorry, y'all. This really doesn't count as customer traction.

That said, Candera may not be losing any significant mindshare -- yet. Every other vendor hoping to provide storage management "intelligence" into the SAN fabric via hardware is still in early stages of real-world deployment, including Brocade (via Rhapsody), Sun (via Pirus Networks), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), MaXXan Systems Inc., McData, Sandial Systems Inc., Sanera Systems Inc., and Troika Networks [ed. note: its real name].

Todd Spangler, US Editor, Byte and Switch

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