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StorageTek to Offer New Disk Systems, Software

StorageTek will turn another page in its information lifecycle management (ILM) strategy Tuesday, rebranding its storage systems and software to staunch issues and problems associated with data protection.

At the StorageTek Forum 2004 in San Antonio, the company will rename its key disk storage family FlexLine in order to reflect a more unified approach to helping customers better protect and manage data from its creation until its disposal.

The Louisville, Colo., concern, jockeying for position with IBM, EMC and HP to win as many customers as possible with its brand of ILM, will also unveil a new virtual tape system.

In a briefing before the event, Jay Seifert, senior manager of product marketing in StorageTek's ILM Solutions Group, said FlexLine provides customers a safe way to store, manage and retrieve files such as e-mail, photos, spreadsheets and other unstructured information.

V-Series disk systems will become FlexLine V-Series storage systems, which are distinguished by virtual, mainframe technology that handles heavyweight applications for enterprise resource planning or customer relationship management.

D-Series and B-Series storage systems will be rebranded as FlexLine 200 Series and 300 Series storage systems. These systems are modular and are built to handle many transactions for markets such as financial services.

Seifert said new offerings, such as the 2 gigabit-per-second FLA300 disk array and FLX210 storage system, have been created to help customers corral data in a cost-effective way.

The FLA300 and FLX210 are fitted with asynchronous disk-to-disk mirroring that allows corporations to replicate data from afar and reduce the chances of data loss in the case of a disaster or outage. Targeted for smaller businesses, the FLX210 supports up to 14 SATA disk drives internally and scales to 112 SATA disk drives in total.

The systems are powered by the company's SANtricity 9.1 software, which helps customers mix Fibre Channel and ATA arrays in the same subsystem. The software and new systems will be available tomorrow, with the FLA300 offered at $15,000 and the FLX210 priced at $10,000.

Seifert also said the FlexLine 600 Series systems will be unveiled at the Forum as a major extension to the company's BladeStore family. The system is based on an intelligent storage processor and boasts a new blade design, using less expensive SATA drives that scale in increments of 500 gigabytes for granular growth.

The low capacity entry point to the FLX600 is 3 terabytes and the system will be available in the first half of 2005, with pricing to announced at that time.

On the software side, virtualization has been high on just about every storage vendor's priority list. EMC, Hitachi Data Systems and IBM have all taken steps to fortify their products with technology that allows multiple incarnations of an operating system to be managed as one through a console.

Russ Kennedy, director of software product management in the ILM Solutions Group at StorageTek, said officials will provide a sneak peek at its Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) Open Solution, a virtual tape library geared for data backup, recovery and protection.

Based on the FlexLine 600 architecture, VSM Open is a disk-based virtual tape library optimized for open systems backup and recovery. Armed with a single interface, the software allows IT managers to share backup and restore resources across many backup servers and multiple applications.

The product's virtualization features allow IT managers to boost the number of available tape drives and help eliminate errors so they do not affect the tape applications. The company will offer it in a four terabyte configuration that can scale up to 44 terabytes with up to 600 megabytes per second of data throughput for speedy data transfer.

The software can support up to three million virtual tape volumes and has a total of four Fibre Channel ports. Availability will be first half of 2005, with pricing to be announced when it becomes available.