The quest to bring fault tolerance to the physical path is nothing new, the only danger that technology can't eliminate in protecting the connection between servers and storage subsystems is also one of the biggest threats to the data center the klutz. That unlucky operator who trips over a cable and disrupts the data path. Until now companies have not been able to account for the physical connection, but Mylex, a subsidiary of IBM is getting at that physical connection with a new software utility called PATHpilot.
"Customers expect extremely fault-tolerant systems for their data-intensive environments," said Suresh Panikar, director of product marketing for Fremont, Calif.-based Mylex. "PATHpilot provides an extra layer of data protection to help maintain dependability of the overall storage system."
Panikar said PATHpilot essentially provides for management of the physical path. "The single place where we did not have fault tolerance is the physical path. PATHpilot recognizes transparencies and automatically switches over to another path and, according to Panikar, balances the load.
David Hill, research director, storage and storage management said that companies can never have too much storage protection. "PATHpilot uses software intelligence to take a leading role in closing data protection loopholes at all levels - system, controller, and now data path."
Mylex said PATHpilot protects against path, cable, hub and switch failures. PATHpilot is designed for the company's SANArray family of external RAID controllers. Features include data path failover, automatic failback, manual path switching, load balancing, path monitoring and path failure logging, all aimed at preventing data loss and degradation between the server and storage units.
Mylex offers other fault tolerance features such as transparent disk drive rebuild, transparent failover, hot-drive swapping support, drive roaming during power-off, online RAID expansion and clustering support for Microsoft Windows 2000.Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor