Adaptec Joins The Custom Storage Array Trend

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With its new OnTarget 3.0, Milpitas, Calif.-based Adaptec, enters the fray with other vendors offering simple plug-and-play software to build custom storage arrays, such as Puchheim, Germany-based Open-E; Norfolk, Va.-based Wasabi Systems; and the ANStor64 division of El Cajon, Calif.-based Cutting Edge. They all offer disk-on-module (DOM) devices that have built-in software that when installed in a server, automatically configure that server as an iSCSI storage device when it is booted up.

James Huang, product marketing specialist at Amax Information Technologies, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder, said OnTarget is one of the most robust, high-end iSCSI solutions he has seen. "It supports a wide range of hard drives," Huang said. "And it simplifies integration—once you plug it in, it works. And it's easy to use."

Adaptec's OnTarget allows customers to manage direct-attached storage and iSCSI-attached storage from a single solution, said John Noellert, vice president of sales and channel marketing for the Americas at the Milpitas, Calif.-based vendor.

"Most SMBs are still using only direct-attached storage today," Noellert said. "This will help ease their transition to SANs."

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Adaptec's offering is more restricted than its competitors' in terms of hardware support because it supports only RAID cards manufactured by Adaptec, Noellert said. OnTarget also is limited to either Intel- or AMD-based server platforms using Supermicro or some Tyan motherboards, but its options will be extended in the future, he said.

The OnTarget solution is available to system builders through Bell Microproducts and Synnex and carries a list price starting at less than $1,500.

Wasabi's latest version offers 64-bit support for AMD Opteron processor-based platforms from AIC/Xtore and Tyan.

The Open-E solution is great software for small businesses and Adaptec's OnTarget is a good solution for midsize businesses, Huang said.

The new USB-based DOM from Open-E will add to its appeal to small businesses, Huang said. "The fact that the DOM is USB-based makes life simpler for system builders," he said. "Customers are already asking about it."