Vendors plan new breed of storage systems

Four well-funded start-ups will introduce scalable and efficient high-end storage systems in the next 12 months that could improve network performance and make it easier to manage disparate storage resources.

The storage systems from YottaYotta Inc., Zambeel Inc., Cereva Networks Inc. and 3PARdata Inc. allow customers to logically group storage resources for management, provisioning and fault-tolerant support. The idea is to let an IT organization virtually manage all the storage in its network so that the storage can be apportioned among different departments, and managed and billed on a utility basis from a single console.

Analysts say storage hardware market growth is being fueled by the overwhelming increase in computerized data. Meta Group says storage expenses will consume two-thirds of IT budgets by 2003.

Such forecasts explain the rise of storage start-ups, which are striving to differentiate themselves from each other and established players. The four start-ups’ systems differ from high-end storage arrays from EMC and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) in the amount of data they can store. For instance, Cereva’s storage system will handle data capacities of 230 terabytes to one petabyte. The Zambeel and YottaYotta systems will manage as much storage as is connected to them. EMC’s largest Symmetrix scales to 69.5 terabytes; HDS’ Lightning 9900 has an upper capacity of 37.3 terabytes.

“With new high-end architectures coming in from the likes of 3PARdata, Cereva, YottaYotta and possibly others, even EMC will need to make some serious architectural changes” to its storage arrays to support these capacities and capabilities, says Arun Taneja, an analyst with Enterprise Storage Group.

The new products are designed in one of two ways. The Zambeel and YottaYotta systems connect to existing direct-attached storage systems, NAS appliances or Fibre Channel-based, SAN equipment via Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel or SCSI connections. On the other hand, the Cereva and 3PARdata systems replace existing storage systems and sit on the network along with other storage devices and servers.

The vendors are offering a multitude of features. For example:

– Zambeel is designing a scalable cluster of hardware storage gateways, called compute modules, that connect to storage arrays, and just-a-bunch-of-disks and NAS devices, via Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel or SCSI connections. The Zambeel systems will let the data on devices they attach to be combined into a common pool of storage over a wide-area network.

– YottaYotta says its NetStorage system will consist of an 8U (14-inch-high) chassis enclosing 12 storage blades that contain cache memory and connect to existing direct-attached, NAS or SAN storage, and YottaYotta’s rack-mounted storage arrays. The NetStorage system will connect to the network via an optical fiber-optic connection running Gigabit Ethernet or Fibre Channel. It also will be able to join existing storage into a pool of virtualized storage so customers can better utilize and control NAS, SAN and direct-attached storage data.

– Cereva says its Cereva 5000 is an expandable storage array that can handle NAS, SAN and HTTP data, as well as streaming media. It also incorporates Fibre Channel switching technology, thus alleviating the need to purchase separate Fibre Channel SAN switches. Future arrays will exceed one petabyte of capacity and handle NAS file-oriented data and native HTTP, FTP and streaming media.

– 3PARdata acknowledges that it is also manufacturing a large, expandable storage system that is similar to the Cereva 5000 and replaces existing storage.

Pricing of the individual storage systems is not available.

3PARdata can be reached at Cereva Networks can be found at YottaYotta is at and