Adaptec, Milpitas, Calif., next month is expected to unveil a device with built-in software to turn an industry-standard server into a combination NAS and iSCSI SAN array.
With the expected release of its OnTarget technology next month, Adaptec joins a handful of software developers that enable custom system builders to turn commodity server hardware into storage appliances.
Wasabi Systems, Norfolk, Virg.; Open-E, Puchheim, Germany; the ANStor64 division of Cutting Edge, El Cajon, Calif.; and now Adaptec are part of a small group of vendors selling storage-specific operating systems embedded as firmware on a bootable module, called a disk-on-module (DOM) or, more commonly, a dongle.
While Adaptec executives refused to discuss OnTarget or plans to enter this space, CRN has learned from channel sources that the new product scales out of the box to up to 75 Tbytes using JBOD (just a bunch of disks, or non-RAID) expansion boxes.
It features a common direct-attached storage and SAN management user interface. It has integrated RAID and iSCSI target management, and automated iSCSI provisioning.
OnTarget also offers data snapshot capability with Microsoft's VSS (Volume Shadow Copy) (stet) and Microsoft's VDS (Virtual Disk Services) (stet) support, along with synchronous mirroring of data, according to the sources. Unlike some of its competitors, OnTarget allows users to expand both their data volumes and their overall storage pools.
According to a system builder that has seen information from Adaptec about its upcoming OnTarget dongle, it appears to be a more robust solution than some of the other dongle-based products on the market. However, the system builder, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that it seems to be more expensive than the others, and supports only Adaptec storage controllers.
Most custom storage builders build file servers based on Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 operating system in order to add capacity for small businesses, while a limited number have access to Microsoft's Windows Storage Server 2003 operating system as well. Several brand name vendors, including Hewlett-Packard, Dell, EMC, and Iomega, also build storage devices using WSS 2003.
Adaptec offers pre-built, stand-alone NAS and iSCSI SAN storage devices, as well as combination NAS/SAN appliances, under its Snap brand exclusively to indirect sales channels. Those devices are based one of two of its Linux-based proprietary operating systems, SnapOS and GuardianOS.
It is unsure which of the two operating systems Adaptec is using with OnTarget. However, channel sources said OnTarget is a Linux-based solution.