Compaq Introduces New Storage Devices

CompaqComputer Corp. launched two new storage systems today atStorage Networking World in Orlando Fla. The devices are the first use Compaq’slong-awaited Versastor technology.

Compaq introduced two new devices, the Enterprise VirtualArray and the Universal Network Storage device. Both offer administrators newoptions in managing storage pools.

The Enterprise Virtual Array is a rackmount RAID arrayfor Fibre Channel storage. The arrays use 2Gbps Fibre Channel both on thebackplane and to connect to servers.

The arrays introduce virtualization technology embeddedin the controller to improve both performance and manageability. Adminstratorscan create virtual RAIDs (VRAID), virtual snapshots (Vsnap), and performreplication with the controller (Snapclone). “The virtualization that createsthe Vraid, the Vsnap, and the Snapclone are all firmware embedded in thecontroller,” says Roger Archibald, vice president of the enterprise storagearray division at Compaq. Archibald says the firmware improves performancecompared to software-based virtualization systems because of the way data isstriped across the disks.

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

The Universal Network Storage device is designed to aidenterprises in managing SAN and NAS systems on a single storage pool. It offersconnections to IP-based servers and Fibre Channel-based servers. NAS data is puton the same drives as SAN-data, but the device can serve file-level data, inaddition to the block-level data SANs usually provide. The device also offerssimpler management, since NAS data can be backed up to the same tape systems asSAN data. – Chris McConnell