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New Year spawns more hardware partnerships

A number of new alliances have been born in the early days of 2003. But it's not necessarily a new era of cooperation driving these deals. One expert believes storage vendors are finally paying attention to the end user.

Forget about dieting and exercising, most storage vendors have made a New Year's resolution out of building better...

hardware partnerships.

This week, Overland Storage Inc., based in San Diego, and StorServer Inc., a backup appliance manufacturer in Colorado Springs, Colo., said they would combine their respective tape libraries, servers and backup software. The resultant StorServer V Series features Overland's Neo Series tape libraries with LTO and Super DLT technology and the StorServer Backup Appliances suite.

The pitch? StorServer said that environments with existing DLT or LTO technology can migrate to a new StorServer, replacing all of their backup solutions with one appliance built around Overland's Neo Series libraries. IBM Tivoli Storage Manager backup software sits atop the systems.

The StorServer appliance supports 35 operating platforms and backs up local area network, storage area network and network-attached storage clients that use direct-attached storage.

Also this week, Milpitas, Calif.-based LSI Logic Storage Systems Inc. has paired its storage controllers with Seagate Technology Inc.'s 10K.6 Cheetah 146G byte disk drives.

LSI said the integration of the new drive could save up to 14% more space in the data center.

Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Seagate said the 146G byte Cheetah drive's data transfer rates are 25% faster than previous generation 10,000 RPM drives. The company claims that average seek times are also faster.

It's a give-and-take relationship. According to Brian Dexheimer, Seagate's executive vice president of sales and marketing, Seagate uses chip technology from LSI in its disk drives, which are then integrated into their storage arrays.

Also this week, QLogic Corp. announced that its SANblade 133 MHz PCI-X host bus adapters (HBAs) are shipping in Hewlett-Packard Co.'s ProLiant servers for NetWare and Linux platforms.

HBAs let customers use multiple PCI-X buses at different speeds. The SANblade QLA2340 family of HBAs delivers double the throughput of the 66 MHz PCI interface that is commonly found in server platforms today, QLogic said.

Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based QLogic has similar partnerships in place with storage vendors, including Cisco Systems Inc., Dell Computer Corp., EMC Corp., Fujitsu Ltd., Hitachi, IBM Corp., Quantum Corp., Sony Corp., Storage Technology Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

So why all the camaraderie? Don't get your hopes up. It's not necessarily a new era of cooperation that's driving these deals. One expert believes storage vendors are finally paying attention to the end user.

"I don't know if I would call it a 'new climate,' but this activity does reflect the market's desire for solutions and not just piece-parts," said Michael Fisch, a senior analyst with Wellesley, Mass.-based Clipper Group Inc. "An integrated solution is more attractive than a box of parts with some assembly required." Let us know what you think about the story. E-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer


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