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Users sneak a peek at startup's self-managing storage

EqualLogic came out of stealth mode this week to show off its new approach to modular, automated IP storage that manages itself.

Storage startup EqualLogic Inc. announced this week new architecture designed for modular, self-managing enterprise-class IP-based storage area networks (SANs).

The company, based in Nashua, N.H., has been working on the development of the architecture for more than 18 months. It detailed the architecture Monday at the Server I/O Conference in Monterey, Calif.

The company's PeerStorage Architecture technology uses storage and networking technologies to reduce the manual labor of managing storage.

According to Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst of the Milford, Mass-based Enterprise Storage Group Inc., EqualLogic's arrays are self-managing storage, which means it is a collection of storage bricks that look like one big array.

"The point is that a monkey can administer it without having to be your typical storage Ph.D.," Duplessie said.

Peter Hayden, CEO and cofounder of EqualLogic, called the PeerStorage Architecture a new approach to building storage subsystems.

"[PeerStorage] allows us to create storage arrays that are completely self-managing. It doesn't require constant babysitting," Hayden said.

While the product details are still under lock and key, EqualLogic's technology is said to offer automated management, provisioning, load balancing, virtualization and storage over IP capabilities.

Hayden said EqualLogic has applied technologies and techniques from other parts of the IT industry. "We've taken features from the [operating system] world and applied them within our storage array," Hayden said.

Duplessie added that PeerStorage allows for "double-click" storage, meaning that it only takes a few seconds for an application to launch.

He also said PeerStorage is based on the iSCSI specification, a market that has not developed yet but which "is about to explode."

The IP Storage Forum Governing Board of the Storage Networking Industry Association has said that almost every operating system will have support for iSCSI by the end of 2003, following the completion of the iSCSI specification and the availability of iSCSI storage products early this year.

EqualLogic said the PeerStorage architecture was tested by its partners, including Alacritech, IBM, QLogic and other hard drive vendors, as well as the University of New Hampshire's Interoperability Lab.

The company said its arrays are under evaluation by a number of customers and that it plans to show its product during the first half of 2003. Let us know what you think about the story. E-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer


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