Best storage products of 2005


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Networking Equipment

Gold: McData Intrepid
10000 (i10K) Director

The i10K offers extensive configuration flexibility, such as the ability to re-allocate buffer credits between ports.

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AS THE DRIVE to secure and better support server and storage applications grows, FC directors have become more than big, fast packet-routing boxes. New technologies such as server virtualization and blade servers, along with the growing economic necessity to establish and support tiers of storage, have dramatically increased the roles of directors within the storage fabric.

McData Corp.'s Intrepid 10000 (i10K) Director sets a new standard with the flexibility it brings to storage network design. With its 256 non-blocking ports, superior distance capabilities, native 10Gb/sec inter-switch links and FlexPars partitioning technology, the i10K can securely connect fabrics and dynamically move resources to meet rapidly changing storage and application requirements.

The i10K's FlexPars provide secure partitioning from the server to the array. SAN designers can divide the i10K into four partitions, which act as separate, independent directors. The separation includes the data, control and management of the switch. And unlike other directors that offer virtual partitioning, only the i10K can run independent instances of firmware on each partition, eliminating single points of failure to secure data. FlexPars can also consolidate SAN islands, but keep their benefits, such as lessening the impact and number of application disruptions.

With FlexPars, companies can avoid having to overprovision to meet peak application demands. The ability to dynamically allocate switch resources is also key to establishing and supporting tiered storage, which requires a switch that can quickly adapt to changing technology and performance requirements.

Silver: Brocade Communications Systems
Tapestry Data Migration Manager

Tapestry DMM is a SAN-based device that inserts itself into the data path only when a migration needs to occur.

MOVING DATA from point A to point B, whether to another subsystem or to different storage tiers, is a big part of a storage administrator's job. Data migrations over SANs and WANs require oodles of planning, often take critical systems offline and need extensive testing. Brocade's Tapestry Data Migration Manager (DMM) is a simple, but powerful, tool for high-performance data migration in heterogeneous storage environments.

Tapestry DMM works with arrays from major vendors and reduces the need for expensive OS-specific server software such as volume managers and replication tools. With migration rates of up to 1TB/hour, Tapestry DMM shortens migration windows and application downtime. Because Tapestry DMM is SAN-based, it's less disruptive than a server-based product. By reducing the complexity of moving data, and cutting the time and cost to do it, Tapestry DMM is, as one judge put it, "both cutting-edge and useful."

Bronze: Hewlett-Packard
StorageWorks Modular Smart Array
(MSA) 1000 Small Business SAN Kit

The MSA1000 Small Business SAN Kit can take you from zero to full-featured SAN in just minutes.

HEWLETT-PACKARD (HP) CO. says its StorageWorks MSA1000 Small Business SAN Kit is "the simplest SAN on the planet." And there's no hyperbole in that advertising slogan--it's easy to buy, install, manage and upgrade. Geared to small businesses or enterprise remote offices, this SAN-in-a-box is an FC storage system that consists of an HP 2Gb FC disk array, two QLogic SANblade HBAs, an 8-port FC QLogic SANbox switch and Microsoft SAN management software. Once the components are connected (color-coordinated cables ease the assembly and a software wizard guides the user through the setup), HP claims it takes only 25 mouse clicks to get the $9,999 (street price) SAN up and running "in a matter of minutes."

Don't get the impression that StorageWorks MSA1000 Small Business SAN Kit isn't a sophisticated and expandable SAN. It can scale to 12.6TB using 42 300GB disks in a 10U rack. All configuration, management and partitioning software comes standard at no extra charge. The array supports hot-plug drives, controllers, fans and power supplies. Its RAID Advanced Data Guarding (ADG) provides a much greater level of fault tolerance than RAID 5, allowing two simultaneous drive failures without downtime or data loss. StorageWorks MSA1000 Small Business SAN Kit supports Windows 2000/2003 32-bit and Linux 32-bit operating systems. It's nice to see three companies get together to produce a powerful, yet easy to use, SAN.

This was first published in February 2006

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