the Pipeline

Putting it away

Joining the parade of large storage and server vendors embracing the concept of disk-based backup, Silicon Graphics Inc. will introduce its first storage arrays next month. They use Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) drives rather than the more expensive Fibre Channel or SCSI drives usually found in enterprise storage systems.

The two new SGI arrays are the InfiniteStorage SGI TP9300S and TP9500S. Both systems were developed by LSI Logic Storage Systems Inc., but will be marketed by SGI. The arrays fit into SGI's Integrated Lifecycle Management solution, working with the company's servers and shared file systems to automate data movement in a multitiered storage architecture. Prices for the new storage systems start at less than $40,000.

The idea is not for Serial ATA arrays to replace tape as the final media for archival or backup data. Instead, Serial ATA disk arrays are used as a temporary, near-line staging area for data as it migrates between expensive primary online disk systems to its off-line resting place on tape.

"The price gap between disk and tape is shrinking, and the faster data access times of disk [when compared to tape] greatly speeds access time," said Gabriel Broner, senior vice president and general manager of SGI's Storage and Software Group.

Meanwhile, tape storage stalwart Quantum Corp., which found the Serial ATA disk religion last year when it introduced its DX30 disk subsystem, just started shipping the beefed-up successor to that product, the DX100. Whereas the DX30 topped out at 3 terabytes of capacity, the DX100 starts with an 8-terabyte model — with a list price of $105,000 — that can be upgraded in 4-terabyte increments, up to 64 terabytes.

Finally, storage consulting and systems integration firm Sanz Inc. launched a storage assessment service based on its StorTrust process. StorTrust uses business-process re-engineering of storage management to lower storage management cost and improve service levels. Sanz consultants analyze the customer's storage needs, perform business case justifications of different technologies and design a solution.

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