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LeftHand touts SAN that plugs into Ethernet

Storage startup LeftHand Networks has a new way to use IP networks for moving block storage.

The IP storage playing field is crowded with startups and incumbent companies trying to move storage traffic over Ethernet pipes. Now there's a new southpaw in the game with a crafty pitch for pushing block storage over IP networks.

LeftHand Networks Inc., Boulder, Colo., has a new way to construct storage area networks (SANs) based on IP technology. The new method uses the company's newly announced Distributed Storage Matrix (DSM) technology.

Founder and CEO Bill Chambers said that, by using DSM in combination with LeftHand's Network Storage Modules, a user can build a complete IP SAN using his existing servers and Ethernet infrastructure.

The DSM includes clustering, virtualization and replication capabilities, which work together to create a fault-tolerant storage pool accessible to all servers on the network. The storage pool appears to application and database servers as a local disk drive. When more modules are added, the server only spots a capacity increase in the existing storage pool and does not need to map a new drive.

A single Network Storage Module packs 480G bytes of storage capacity in a 1U-high box running the Linux operating system.

Arun Taneja, a senior analyst for Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Storage Group Inc., said that LeftHand provides a way to migrate existing DAS systems to network storage without the complexity and cost of Fibre Channel SANs.

"Since it's IP, the cost is low and implementation is simple. The fact that they can add on capacity on the fly is an added bonus," Taneja said.

In October, LeftHand landed a deal Comstor Inc. under which Comstor will push LeftHand's products to its resellers in North America.

Comstor is selling the Network Storage Module 100 and enterprise storage management software. The two companies are also working together on marketing and interoperability initiatives to further expand the deployment of "network unified storage."

Pricing for the Distributed Storage Matrix starts at $15,000.


LeftHand throws storage a curve


Let us know what you think of this story. E-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer

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