Snap rolls out midrange storage

Snap Appliance Inc., a vendor of network-attached storage systems and now the newest division of Adaptec Inc., today will introduce its fastest midrange storage solution to date targeted at the distributed enterprise.

Along with the new Snap Server 18000, it will also introduce a new version of its Guardian operating system with a unified block-and-file architecture, and server-to-server (S2S) synchronization software that Snap officials say will significantly speed up data recovery and backup processes.

The 18000 is Snap's first dual-processor server, according to Jim Sherhart, the division's senior product manager. It scales from 2 terabytes up to 30 terabytes and includes iSCSI support for simultaneously accessing block-and-file data.

It's also the first Snap device to exclusively use Serial ATA disk drives and comes with integrated nonvolatile memory that retains cached data in case of system crashes.

With a Microsoft Corp. Windows file server performance of over 70M/sec and a sustained throughput of around 110M/sec, the 18000 has double the performance of Snap's previous top-of-the-line system, Sherhart said, and begins to close the performance gap between iSCSI NAS and direct-attached storage systems.

The asynchronous, S2S software enables bidirectional synchronization of data between target and destination systems at the byte level, which should make backup and recovery significantly faster, Sherhart said.

"The challenge in moving data is that many organizations don't have big pipes," or connecting systems, he said. "When you replicate data you usually have to copy an entire file, but S2S allows you to drill down into a file and just synchronize the change data."

That makes for a major improvement in the speed of data distribution, backup and recovery throughout a wide-area network, Sherhart said.

Retail prices for the Snap Server 18000 begin at just under $15,000 for a 2 terabyte system, up to around $143,000 for the 30 terabyte version. That puts the Snap solution cost at less than $5 per gigabyte, Sherhart pointed out, compared to the more than $31 per gigabyte which was the industry average in 2003, according to market watcher IDC.

The new Snap products will begin shipping by the end of August.

The $100 million purchase of Snap Alliance, which was finalized July 13, plugs an obvious product hole for Adaptec, already a leading provider of storage components, systems and software. With Snap, it now boasts a fairly complete line of end-to-end external storage products for the enterprise.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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