Xiotech Corp.'s Magnitude is the first true SAN-in-a-box

Xiotech Corp.'s Magnitude is the first true SAN-in-a-box

by J.B.Miles

Though a handful of companies are working on SAN-in-a-box products, Xiotech Corp.'s Magnitude SAN is the first one I know of that works.

Magnitude consists of a high-performance redundant array of independent disks controller, an eight-port Fibre Channel switch and logical volume management software'REDI Storage Manager'that seamlessly work together as a single configuration.

Xiotech's Magnitude is an eight-port switch with full-duplex, 1.0625-Gbps speed that provides full SAN services. It's priced at $60,000.

The box can handle eight point-to-point or up to 192 Fibre Channel-Arbitrated Loop or Fabric server connections and, with an expansion unit, up to 64 Ultra2 SCSI drives of capacities from 9G to 73G. If 73G drives are used, the system can support a total storage capacity of 4.6T.

Magnitude incorporates redundant, hot-swappable components and allows both disks and servers to be added on the fly. If server clustering is required, the unit's cluster-ready architecture provides a many-to-many failover capacity.

Magnitude's bundled REDI Storage Manager software lets individual disk drives on the RAID array be treated as a pool of shared storage. Unlike typical RAID arrays, the system can mix and match drives of different speeds and capacities. Thus, Magnitude can use all the storage space available, not just the lowest-capacity drive in the array.

Branching out

Merging the total performance and capacity of up to 64 physical drives into a single, large storage pool isn't the only attribute of the Magnitude, though. The REDI Storage Manager software creates up to 256 virtual drives that can be assigned to as many as 192 heterogeneous servers running a mix of operating systems, including Microsoft Windows NT or Windows 2000, SGI Irix, Apple Mac OS, SCO UnixWare, Novell NetWare, Hewlett-Packard HP-UX, Linux, SunSoft Solaris and IBM AIX.

For each virtual drive created, REDI Storage Manager stripes data across all the physical drives, allowing simultaneous access to all drives for the highest possible input/output performance. The unit also can serve RAID levels 0, 1, 5 and 10. That's a lot of flexibility and power from a machine that was built from the ground up as a SAN device.

Prices for the Magnitude SAN-in-a-box start at $60,000.


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