SANsymphony orchestrates virtualized storage pool for SANs

DataCore Software Corp., a provider of storage networking software based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., announced the availability of its SANsymphony storage domain server software that it says is the first product to provide true cross-platform disk virtualization that realizes "any-to-any" device connectivity.

SANsymphony consolidates a mix of storage devices into a shared, networked storage pool, providing storage to open system servers, including Windows, Solaris, Linux, NetWare, HP-UX, IBM AIX and Macintosh.

According to DataCore, this software-based approach frees storage from the control of individual servers.

"As a SAN virtualization software tool available from an independent vendor - yes it is the first of its kind," said John Webster, senior analyst and IT advisor for Illuminata, Inc., a Nashua, N.H. analyst firm.

However, Webster warns that the jury is still out on SANsymphony. "I think it needs to be proven that it works. Once it's been out there in the field and proven in a number of different storage environments, I think it will be a viable option," he said.

Brownell Chalstrom, vice president of marketing for DataCore, said SANsymphony converts network devices into a unified storage pool. "We use a 'network approach,' not a box approach."

Chalstrom said that SANsymphony has a wide range of applicability. "It can control storage not directly connected to the SANsymphony box, though you can connect storage to it directly. It virtualizes the volume," he said.

SANsymphony allows the user to reassign storage resources "on the fly" using a drag-and-drop user interface which DataCore says yields minimal or no application disruption.

DataCore said that a SANsymphony box plugs directly into a fibre channel switch, and just like a LAN, one SANsymphony computer can be a single point of failure.

SANsymphony supports all types of open system servers, and runs on most commercially available PC servers under Microsoft Windows NT. Software license price is based on the size of the storage pool and number of servers sharing the pool, and starts at $7,995.

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