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JNI Issues Host Bus Adapters for Windows Users

JNI , which makes equipment that connects heterogeneous systems to be part of the same storage area network (SAN) , Monday said it has completed a new line of speedy host bus adapters that run at 2GB and are easier to install and configure.

Host bus adapters provide input/output (I/O) processing and physically connect servers and storage devices. Software in the HBAs manage the adapters, which are attached to each server. They provide storage management capabilities such as load balancing, fail-over and SAN administration.

Aimed at small and medium businesses (SMBs), San Diego-based JNI's new ZStar series of HBAs are interoperable with Windows servers and storage devices. They are designed to lower the cost and difficulty associated with stitching resources together in Fibre Channel SANs.

JNI, acquired August 28 by Applied Micro Circuits for $190 million in cash, sits behind such vendors as Emulex , QLogic and HP in the HBA market, according to Gartner, but hopes to spruce up its portfolio with the new products tailored for Windows operating environments.

JNI argues that its ZStar series opens up the storage consolidation and management benefits of SANs to areas that have been priced out of the Fibre Channel SAN market in the past.

JNI's ZStar HBAs includes two models: the Z210, a single port 2Gb HBA for the PCI-X bus and the dual port Z220, also with PCI-X connectivity. Both HBAs are backward compatible to 32-bit PCI and 1Gb environments.

The new HBAs include the company's EZ Fibre software to automatically configure SAN topology, link speed, as well as LUN discovery and mapping. The EZ Fibre software has also been updated for Windows, making it easier for SAN administrator to change configuration specifications for Microsoft software.

The ZStar HBAs also boast a performance tuning perk in EZ Fibre that lets the user tune I/O performance by selecting from a list of server application environments, including streaming (larger blocks with sustained I/O), transactional (smaller blocks with variable I/O) or minimize CPU utilization (to conserve CPU for other tasks).

The new ZStar HBAs are compatible with Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Windows 2003 32-bit and 64-bit Server and Enterprise Server OS platforms. JNI supports Fibre Channel SAN hardware and software, including servers and storage from Dell, HP, Hitachi Data Systems and IBM; switches and hubs from rivals Brocade, McDATA, Gadzoox and Q Logic; and storage applications from IBM HDS, Legato, Veritas, CA and Microsoft.

The JNI ZStar Fibre Channel HBAs will be available through JNI's resellers later this month priced at under $800 per port.