SAN-in-a-box Simplifies Storage

The benefits of so-called storage area networks (SAN) are often lost in the prohibitive costs associated with deploying them in the first place. Now Winchester Systems hopes to change all of this, marketing a new product, dubbed "FlashDisk SAN-in-a-box," that leverages an inexpensive SCSI-based transport.

SAN typically describes a dedicated backbone connection in which computer systems communicate with storage arrays by means of a high-speed, scalable transport technology.

"The overheads of SANs, Fibre Channel, HBAs [host bus adapters] and SAN Switches drive the cost per gigabyte of storage up," comments Roger Seielstad, a senior network administrator with Peregrine Systems Inc., an Atlanta-based consulting and software firm that specializes in infrastructure resource management. "This can have the effect of making SANs attractive only in more specialized applications, such as clusters and very large data storage environments."

Winchester Systems' FlashDisk SAN-in-a-Box matches a FlashDisk OpenRAID disk array with six Ultra160 SCSI host ports. The result? A fibre-free SAN solution that provides a shared storage pool that can be accessed simultaneously by as many as six servers. More important, argues Winchester Systems CTO Jerry Namery, FlashDisk SAN-in-a-Box provides SAN-like performance at a reasonable price.

"Winchester Systems is delivering this new FlashDisk SAN-In-A-Box to meet the market's demand for SAN capabilities and sophisticated backup but without the high SAN price tag and infrastructure requirements of most SAN products," he explains.

Winchester Systems says that a single SAN-In-A-Box can support up to 1.45TB of combined storage, which can then be partitioned into as many as 32 logical unit volumes. SAN-in-a-Box is managed by means of Winchester Systems' FlashConsole management workstation.

Finally, SAN-in-a-Box can be deployed in conjunction with any of several clustering solutions that are currently available from Veritas Software Corp., Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Steeleye Technology Inc. and Mission Critical Linux.