Storage vendors expand mgmt. options

Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Computer Corp. and IBM Corp. rolled out various software and hardware products this week designed to make it easier for network professionals to manage, expand and back up storage devices.

HP announced three offerings in its OpenView management suite – a new product called OpenView Storage Provisioner, and enhancements to OpenView Continuous Access Appliance (CASA) and OpenView Media Operations.

OpenView Storage Provisioner lets network managers automate many repetitive manual storage tasks by creating rules based on service levels and the requirements of business applications. Products that compete with Storage Provisioner include EMC’s Automated Resource Management and SANPoint Control from Veritas Software.

The automation of storage management is increasing, primarily because managers are realizing that IT resources can be better deployed if automated routines lighten staff workloads. The storage automation market will total only US$50 million this year, The Yankee Group says, but should reach $500 million by 2005.

OpenView CASA lets data be replicated or migrated between storage devices from different vendors. New in this upgrade is support for NetWare 5 and 6, clustering support with MC/Service Guard for HP-UX and asynchronous write ordering, which time-stamps data to confirm it has been received and puts it in the right order on the receiving storage system.

OpenView Storage Media Operations, which automates and enforces the rules applied to backing up data to media, now lets information about the type of media being used be passed to other vendors’ back-up and recovery software via XML. Storage Provisioner, which shipped earlier this month, starts at $20,000; CASA starts at $122,500; Storage Media Operations starts at $8,400.

Separately, Dell introduced a low-end network-attached storage (NAS) device, the PowerVault 725N, for small businesses and work groups within large companies.

Carl Moser, president of financial brokerage firm Excel Mortgage in Iowa City, bought one and used it to replace several Windows 2000 file servers.

“We had a certain amount of downtime with the server that we don’t have with the NAS appliance, and the server was harder to set up and manage,” Moser says. “We put the NAS device in a month ago – since that time it has never failed.”

Moser has seven employees that use the PowerVault 725N for e-mail, file and print sharing, mortgage processing and financial applications.

The PowerVault 725N is a single-processor box that ranges from 160G to 480G bytes of storage capacity. It starts at $1,800.

The company also doubled the storage capacity of its PowerVault 770N and 775N NAS appliances to 17 terabytes when SCSI is used or 40 terabytes when they are attached to a Fibre Channel SAN as a gateway device.

IBM added 2.4GHz Intel Xeon processors to its TotalStorage NAS 200 and NAS Gateway 300 appliances, which double the processing power over previous models.

The company also added Alactritech adapters to connect the NAS devices to the IP network – the adapters offload the TCP/IP processing from the system processor, freeing it to run applications. It integrated 147G-byte drives into both appliances, letting the NAS 200 address more than 7 terabytes of data; the NAS Gateway 300 now scales to more than 22 terabytes. IBM’s TotalStorage FAStT storage array’s capacity also has been doubled to 32 terabytes.

The NAS 200 Model and Gateway 300 Model are expected to be available this month; the 200 starts at $17,300; the 300 starts at $63,100.