Xiotech SAN on wheels

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Portable storage

Government officials who need a few terabytes of storage that is ready to roll have a new option. Storage vendor Xiotech last week introduced the Magnitude 3D 1000m, a mobile, self-contained storage-area network (SAN).

The 1000m is not going to thrill those who fancy themselves light packers – together the two-module set-up weighs about 550 pounds – but Xiotech officials believe the product will appeal to a select group of government users, particularly law enforcement officials, who need a high capacity, portable storage unit to support field investigations involving the collection of digital evidence.

“It comes with all the interconnects and cables that you need to connect to an existing [storage] environment quickly,” said Tony Celeste, vice president and general manager of government sales at Xiotech. “You can make a native image of the data and be sure that it’s forensically sound. The only other way to do this would be to try and offload data to another format in some cumbersome [portable] media and then upload it to another system. How would you maintain security that way?”

Xiotech officials said the company developed the 1000m specifically for a couple of government customers whom they declined to identify, and said that six federal customers in all now have one of the systems.

The 1000m consists of two modules, each in its own hardened, wheeled case. The control module contains all the system management software, network connectivity and power distribution equipment. The drive module holds the system’s Fibre Channel disk drives. The maximum storage capacity in one drive module is 12.6 terabytes, but up to six drive modules can be connected to one control module, for a maximum capacity of 67.2 terabytes.

Celeste said the average configuration for government customers would likely be a system with 6 terabytes of storage and cost $250,000.

Once on site, the system can be operational in minutes, Xiotech officials said. It can be used to collect data from a variety of storage environments, including storage directly attached to servers, SANs from Xiotech or other vendors, and network-attached storage (NAS) systems.

“There are no restrictions on the types of target storage devices that you can copy from,” said Brad Stamas, senior product marketing manager at Xiotech.

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