Adaptec Unveils New Software For Custom Storage Arrays


Adaptec on Tuesday released OnTarget 3.0, a software solution that allows solution providers to turn an industry-standard server into an IP SAN array for small and midsize businesses.

With OnTarget, Adaptec joins the ranks of other vendors with simple plug-and-play software to build custom storage arrays such as Puchheim, Germany-based Open-E and Norfolk, Va.-based Wasabi Systems, both of which have recently enhanced their own offerings.

These vendors, along with the ANStor64 division of El Cajon, Calif.-based Cutting Edge, all offer disk-on-module (DOM) devices have built-in software that, when installed in a server, automatically configure that server as a storage device when it is booted up.

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

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

Adaptec's solution is somewhat more restricted than the competitors' solutions in terms of hardware support in that it supports only RAID cards manufactured by Adaptec, Noellert said. "We leverage a lot of the software and functionality of our RAID cards," he said. "With a solution like that from Wasabi, to do RAID management, you need to leave the Wasabi GUI and open the RAID card GUI. It's a trade-off between flexibility and ease-of-use."

OnTarget is also limited to either Intel-based or AMD-based server platforms using SuperMicro or some Tyan motherboards, but its options will be extended in the future, Noellert said.

Because OnTarget works with both DAS and iSCSI SAN storage, both can be managed through a single GUI, said Marty Turner, product manager for OnTarget.

That allows customers to use a single application to handles both types of management, taking the place of multiple applications, Turner said. "It's one application for all," he said. "That makes it easier to learn and use."

The solution also offers Windows-specific data snapshot and auto-provisioning capabilities. It also features synchronous mirroring between two iSCSI target devices and auto-failover without operation.

All those features are configured to allow them to be completed with a few mouse clicks, Turner said. "For auto-provisioning, for instance, now it can take a lot of steps, up to a couple of hours," he said. "With OnTarget, it takes a few clicks and about five minutes."

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

Turner said the company is looking for solution providers who can validate the interoperability of their hardware and understand iSCSI. "iSCSI is not as simple as installing a host bus adapter," he said. "We want to make sure the VARs we engage with have the ability to provide level-one technical support."

OnTarget currently does not support NAS capability, and Turner would not say whether that is expected in the future.

However, simultaneous support for both iSCSI SANs and NAS is a feature of the newest version of the Open-E Data Storage Server. That version also includes new support for tape libraries and autoloaders, serial-attached SCSI (SAS) controllers for Adaptec and LSI Logic, logical volumes of up to 16 Tbytes, and VMWare ESX Server 3.0 iSCSI initiators.

Also new with the Open-E software is a version that is preinstalled on an internal USB DOM. Company executives said that is important, since new motherboards are commonly coming to market with a single IDE slot and sometimes with no IDE slot. The internal USB DOM connects to an internal USB plug and offers faster booting than previous versions, the company said.

Meanwhile, Wasabi this week unveiled a 64-bit version of its Wasabi Storage Builder for use with AMD Opteron processor-based platforms from AIC/Xtore and Tyan. Like the Open-E software, the new Wasabi product also supports VMWare ESX Server 3.0.