DataDirect To Introduce "SAN Appliance"

NEW YORK -- In the coming weeks, DataDirect Networks Inc. ( will be introducing a bold move in the storage area network industry. According to Bob Farkaly, senior director of marketing and strategic sales for DataDirect, the company will unveil the first "SAN Appliance."

This SAN-in-a-box comes completely tooled and ready to be attached to a server farm. Ousting the likes of Gadzoox and Brocade from valuable OEM contracts, DataDirect has developed its own switching, routing and controlling devices that are all a part of the SAN Appliance.

"We've replaced the conventional switch with a zero latency switch. We've gotten rid of the controller and the complexity and provide one SAN Appliance," Farkaly explains. "This solution includes switching, cache, RAID, management, security and tremendous ease of operation. It's a different approach. By eliminating the complexity you make SANs much simpler to implement."

What results is a SAN that can be partitioned to different servers with some room left for load balancing or have the entire Appliance configured for load balancing." Farkaly says this type of approach makes the SAN itself platform agnostic, leaving the ability to attach Windows NT, Sun Solaris and Linux boxes to the one appliance.

DataDirect Networks is a privately held, Southern California company that is the result of a merger between MegaDrive Systems and Impact Data. Farkaly says for four years the company has been working on the software and the hardware to make this work. The upcoming SAN Appliance is the result of that effort.

"This is what the world has told us they want," Farkaly says. "They want a storage area network that's easy to install and administer.... We call this the future but the future is very soon."

At Internet World on Wednesday, DataDirect introduced a family of SAN-enabled products geared towards the ISP market. Initially available for Windows NT Server, with plans to support Linux, DataDirect offers the following configurations:

  • Midrange WebHosting SAN Solution -- a redundant Fibre Channel SAN for two cluster NT-based Web servers via a Fibre Channel hub. The Midrange WebHosting SAN Solution offers 500 GB of usable system capacity and includes a Fibre Channel controller with 128 MB cache, thirteen 50 GB drive modules, 9-pot hub and two Host Bus Adapters for NT.
  • High I/O WebHosting SAN Solution -- a high performance SAN solution for a single NT-based Web server via a Fibre Channel hub that offers 432 GB total system capacity. The High I/O WebHosting SAN Solution includes a dual Fibre Channel controller with 256 MB cache, forty-eight 9 GB 10,000 RPM drive modules, a 9-port hub and two Host Bus Adapters for NT.
  • High I/O, High Capacity WebHosting SAN Solution -- a hardware SAN solution for up to two NT-based Web servers via a Fibre Channel hub with 864 GB total system capacity. This solution includes a dual Fibre Channel controller with 256 MB cache, forty-eight 18 GB 10,000 RPM drive modules, 9-port hub and two Host Bus Adapters for NT.
  • The Ultimate WebHosting SAN -- a high data availability solution for up to five NT-based Web servers employing a Fibre Channel switch, offering 1.25 TB total system capacity. The Ultimate WebHosting SAN includes a dual Fibre Channel controller with 256 MB cache, Metadata controller, twenty-five 50 GB drive modules, an 8-port switch, two active copper GBICs, six non-OFC GBICs, six Host Bus Adapters for NT, six 30-meter optical cables and DataDirect's SAN Software.

All solutions include a management console (excluding the Midrange solution), rack, rackmounts and Fibre Channel cables. -- Brian Ploskina

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.


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