Compaq Introduces New Storage Devices

Compaq Computer Corp. launched two new storage systems this week at Storage Networking World in Orlando Fla. The devices are the first to use Compaq’s long-awaited Versastor technology.

The devices are the Enterprise Virtual Array and the Universal Network Storage device. Both offer administrators new options in managing storage pools.

The Enterprise Virtual Array is a rackmounted RAID array for Fibre Channel storage. The arrays use 2Gbps Fibre Channel both on the backplane and to connect to servers.

The arrays introduce virtualization technology embedded in the controller to improve both performance and manageability. Administrators can create virtual RAIDs (VRAID), virtual snapshots (Vsnap), and perform replication with the controller (Snapclone).

“The virtualization that creates the Vraid, the Vsnap, and the Snapclone are all firmware embedded in the controller,” says Roger Archibald, vice president of the enterprise storage array division at Compaq. Archibald says the firmware improves performance compared to software-based virtualization systems because of the way data is striped across the disks.

Although the Enterprise Virtual Array is a rackmounted unit, rather than a cabinet unit, Compaq positions it for the enterprise. “One-and-a-half terabytes and three terabytes will be the entry-level for this product,” Archibald says. He believes some midrange users may use the product, but says it is ultimately an enterprise storage system. “We’re using the SAN infrastructure to scale,” he says.

The Universal Network Storage device is designed to aid enterprises in managing SAN and NAS systems on a single storage pool. It offers connections to IP-based servers and Fibre Channel-based servers. NAS data is put on the same drives as SAN-data, but the device can serve file-level data, in addition to the block-level data SANs usually provide. The device also offers simpler management, since NAS data can be backed up to the same tape systems as SAN data.