SNW: Small, SAS-sy & Safe

EMC rolls out SMB Clariions; others plan emphasize SAS, security, and 4-Gig in San Diego

March 31, 2006

4 Min Read
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SMB systems, SAS, security, and 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel will be common themes next week at the Storage Networking World trade show in San Diego. Here's a rundown:

SMB systems. EMC and its partner Dell next week will launch the new low-end versions of their Clariion family for SMBs -- called the AX150 and AX150i. (See EMC, Dell Get Small With SATA and EMC Mounts iSCSI Blitz). The companies are waiting until Monday to make it official, but product data sheets reveal the major changes to the new AX150 over the AX100 rolled out last year are the inclusion of SATA II instead of SATA drives and a tad more software functionality.

Besides SATA II features such as 3-Gbit/s interfaces and native command queuing, new larger capacity drives allow the AX150 to scale to 6 Tbytes. (See SATA Speeds Up.) Like the AX100, the new systems come in single- and dual-controller configurations, and either 2-Gbit/s Fibre Channel (AX150) or iSCSI (AX150i) versions.

The major software change? The new systems will support up to eight snapshots -- up to four on the AX100. Pricing remains about the same, starting at slightly less than $6,000.

"Nothing earth-shattering here," says one analyst of the AX150 rollout. The AX150 remains a long way below the CX "Sledgehammer" platform that EMC is expected to revamp over the next few months with 4-Gbit/s and more iSCSI capabilities.Also on the SMB front, LSI Logic will demonstrate a switch that connects direct-attached SAS drives and servers to form small SANs for SMBs. (See LSI Logic Reveals SAS Switch.) Charlie Kraus, director of LSI's HBA business unit, says he expects the switch to show up in small enclosures from its Engenio systems division late this year. The switches will let Engenio OEM customers' small SANs with SAS that could rival low-cost iSCSI systems with SATA drives.

SAS. LSI's demo will show a 1U switch with nine SAS ports that can hold four connections per port. No other vendors have announced a dedicated SAS switch yet. The switch will likely become a key piece of the entry-level SAS systems Engenio executives have hinted at since late last year. (See Engenio Lowers Its Sights.)

Dot Hill, a rival of Engenio in supplying OEM systems to storage vendors, will demonstrate its latest SANs, which support 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel, as well as SAS and SATA drives.

Security. After a spate of high-profile data breaches last year, it is hardly suprising that security vendors will be out in force at SNW. (See Time Warner Talks About Lost Tapes, ChoicePoint Appoints Independent Exec, and IT Managers Sweat Security.) NeoScale, for example, be will demonstrating its new KeyVault encryption product, and Iron Mountain will be making a PC backup announcement. (See NeoScale Centralizes Management.) Startup NetLib will also reveal enhancements to its Encryptionizer security product early next week. According to NetLib execs, the overhaul will enable users to encrypt SQL backups sent directly to tapes without the use of additional software.

4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel. The big news for Fibre Channel will be more 4-Gbit/s gear. McData will demonstrate what it's calling its "soon-to-be-released" 4-Gbit/s blade for its Intrepid 6140 director. But is it soon enough? Brocade has been shipping a 4-Gbit/s director for over a year, and there are rumblings that Cisco is close to delivering a 4-Gbit/s director next month. (See Cisco 4-Gbit Director MIA.)Besides Dot Hill, Engenio, and McData, others who have confirmed they will show off 4-Gbit/s products include HBA vendors Emulex, LSI Logic, and QLogic, hard drive vendor Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST), and systems vendor Xyratex.

Other stuff. Clustering specialist Ibrix will be announcing new partners at SNW, and startup Abrevity will use the show to unveil a new version of its File Data Manager ILM software. Tape specialist Neartek will be debuting a new flavor of its Virtual Tape Library product on Monday.

RAID specialist Infortrend will unveil a low-cost, 1U, 4-Bay Subsystem, and is also expected to make a major partner announcement at the show.

Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch and James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Abrevity Inc.

  • Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)

  • Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)

  • Dot Hill Systems Corp. (Nasdaq: HILL)

  • World Cellular Information Service (WCIS)

  • Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX)

  • Engenio Information Technologies Inc.

  • Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST)

  • Ibrix Inc.

  • Infortrend Technology Inc.

  • LSI Logic Corp. (NYSE: LSI)

  • McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA)

  • Neartek Inc.

  • QLogic Corp.0

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