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Imation launches independent SAN solutions lab

Imation Corp. announced two new professional services offerings in its Data Storage and Information Management division, Imation SAN Solutions Lab and Storage Assessment services.

Imation's SAN Solutions Lab is designed to test storage-related hardware and software performance and interoperability issues. Storage Assessment Services provides customers with an unbiased evaluation of their current and future open storage architecture. According to Imation, both offerings are designed to simplify storage planning, migration and deployment.

Imation creates system, product and service solutions for image and information handling, data storage, transmission and use. Imation is a spin-off of 3M's data storage and imaging businesses.

Imation's lab is independent in that it will not be selling storage products, theirs or any other storage providers'. "We're operating from an assessment standpoint," said Bill Peldzus, spokesperson for Imation. "We have an independent, no pressure approach."

The Imation SAN Solutions Lab, located at the company's headquarters in Oakdale, Minn., lets customers evaluate the interoperability and software configurations of devices from over 30 leading storage manufacturers. Imation's lab is designed to let customers test and validate SAN architectures without putting their existing production environment at risk.

Sun Microsystems announced yesterday during a major product briefing that it would use Imation's lab and assessment services to test its products against others storage providers for interoperability.

According to William Hurley, program manager for The Yankee Group, Boston, Mass., what makes Imation's lab different from other recently announced storage solution labs, such as McData and IBM, is that Imation's will be a profit center, with an objective, SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association)-blessed goal.

Hurley said that the independence of this facility is important in that Imation does not specifically manufacture any of the gear that would be composite in any of the SANs that they're demonstrating.

The Imation SAN Solutions Lab offerings include interoperability testing, the ability to test multi-vendor configurations, the ability to validate a proposed SAN architecture and to evaluate actual performance throughput of various configurations.

Imation's storage assessment service is a full audit of the customer's existing storage practices and infrastructure. "We get in there and get our hands dirty to help them craft and prioritize their road map for future storage," said Peldzus.

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