Imperial To Introduce Solid State Storage For SANs


Plans to unveil SAN appliances over next six months


Imperial Technology is preparing new products and programs aimed at convincing the IT market that solid-state storage is ready for use with SANs.

The company, based here, is planning a series of storage appliances over the next six months aimed at bringing the high-speed benefits of solid-state storage into SAN environments, said Craig Harries, vice president of product management.

Harries said that solid-state storage devices--in which memory chips replace hard drives to improve storage speed--are still almost exclusively attached directly to servers and aimed at specific applications, despite their being SAN-ready for at least the past 18 months. "They are very, very infrequently attached to a [SAN switch," he said.

Solid-state storage devices, if attached to a SAN, can be used to improve enterprise-wide storage performance instead of improving single applications, said Harries. This is done by identifying hot data, moving it to the solid-state storage device and making sure applications can find it when needed. "This is a quality of service issue," he said. "We need to find a way to automate this."

New appliances Imperial expects to unveil over the next six months will include software that identifies the hot data and tools to move that data into and out of a SAN, Harries said. He did not rule out partnering with other vendors on the software side. "We're not going to reinvent what already exists," he said. "If someone has the right storage resource management application, we're not going to lock ourselves out."

About 50 percent of Imperial's solid-state storage sales go through indirect channels, including OEMs, systems integrators and solution providers, up from only 20 percent in 2000, said Harries.