LeftHand Networks changes sales approach

With virtualization increasingly on the minds of network and IT managers, a maker of iSCSI storage area networks has changed the way it sells its systems to make it easier to assemble virtual storage.

Rather than have customers chose what they want from the three models in its NSM line, LeftHand Networks has assembled three bundles of systems that include hardware, software, training and three years of support. To add to the base bundles, buyers can buy expansion modules and hard drives.

The company says the new bundles, announced this week and to be made available early in October, will make it easier for organizations to order SAN systems. While they are built around the company’s existing hardware, two of the offerings include new 450Gb Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drives that each spin at 15,000 rpm.

The company also announced version 8.0 of its SAN/iQ software, which runs all of its systems, with added capabilities.

“The major theme for all the things we’re doing this fall is to reduce costs (and) simplify management in a virtualized environment,” said Chris McCall, the Boulder, Colo., firm’s director of product marketing. “It’s everything we do as a company packaged up into a single offering so resellers and customers only have to reference a single part number and they get everything they need.”

The bundles are called:

-the Virtualization SAN, which has a list price of US$90,000, includes 24 SAS drives with 450Gb of capacity totaling 10.8 terrabytes , four ports and dual controllers. With expansion modules it can support 480 disk drives, 2,000 volumes and up to 80 ports. It also includes the company’s new Remote Office Solution Pack, which gives organizations the ability to perform remote SAN replication to a corporate data centre without additional hardware, as well as a Windows Solution Pack that can link to an unlimited number of servers.

-the Multi-Site SAN, with a list price of US$170,000, includes two SANs. The system has 48 SAS hard drives totaling 21.6 TB of capacity and eight ports. The system can scale up to 960 drives and 160 ports. In addition to the Windows and Remote Solution Packs it also includes a Multi-Site Solution Pack.

-the Starter SAN package, with a list price of US$30,000, is aimed at companies going at virtualization for the first time. The base system has a total of 9TB of storage in twelve 750-GB SATA hard drives, that, with expansion modules, can go up to 240 drives. It includes a Windows Solution Pack that limits its links to 10 servers.

McCall said this system competes against Hewlett-Packard’s MSA 2000, Network Appliance’s FAS 200, EMC’s EX series and Dell Computer’s EqualLogic PS5000.

McCall said LeftHand’s SANs differ from others in that its systems are based on storage nodes that include processing power, network bandwidth and drives. As a result, he said, the systems don’t have controller bottlenecks.

SAN/iQ, the storage management software that comes with all versions of the company’s hardware, has been upgraded in a number of ways. Version 8 has three new capabilities:

-SmartClone creates virtual copies of data without duplicating volumes, which saves time and space in server and desktop provisioning and copying production data to test and development environments.

-Integrated Performance Manager, helps identify performance bottlenecks in virtual environments. Performance data can be integrated into third party network management applications/

-Virtual Connection Manager is a map of the connections between servers, virtual machines and volumes to make it easier what’s where.

Customers with service contracts can upgrade to SAN/iQ 8 for free.

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