Camp Pendleton gives a storage appliance a beta workout

Camp Pendleton gives a storage appliance a beta workout

BY PATRICIA DAUKANTAS | GCN STAFF

To beta-test a new operating system, Snap Appliances Inc. turned to federal users with a reputation for toughness: Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The camp's communications center, which runs large telephone systems, started using a Snap Server 1000 from the San Jose, Calif., company last October, several months before release of Version 3.0 of its operating system for storage appliances.

Cpl. Gabe Jaggi said the telephone center's staff of several dozen Marines never before had a dedicated server, and 'we had to fight with the computer guys to get the space we needed.'

His staff wanted a separate place for documents and programs, which it didn't want kept on the camp's shared drives because accidental errors could 'mess up someone's telephone service,' Jaggi said.

The Snap Server 1000, with 15G of storage space, was more than big enough to handle the communications center's needs, Jaggi said.
'We're not computer experts,' he said, so easy installation was important.

Once plugged into the camp's network, the Snap Server used the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol to connect as a client to one of the master servers running Microsoft Windows NT 4.0.

Jaggi said he likes the file-level and directory-level security permissions in the Snap Server 3.0 OS. Instead of creating a folder for each user who needs access to a particular document, he can keep the master document in one folder but control the number of people who can modify it.

'To me it made more sense to block it down to the file instead of making 100 different folders,' Jaggi said.

Free OS

Snap Server users can download the 3.0 OS, released in January, free from the company's Web site, at www.snapappliances.com. The OS is compatible with all Snap Server hardware and with Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Network File System 3.0, said Jeff Hill, senior product marketing director for Snap Appliances, a recent spin-off of Quantum Corp. of Milpitas, Calif.

A File Transfer Protocol function is present in the new OS at user request, Hill said. Other features include disk space quotas, support for the Simple Network Management Protocol and an updated Web interface.

Two-thirds of Snap Server users buy the storage appliance for 'just plain old file sharing,' Hill said. The rest want to clone hard drives, set up temporary scratch space or share graphics files in mixed PC and Apple Macintosh environments.

The Snap Server 1000 with preinstalled software cost the Marines $499. Although the base's current technology budget is running low because of California's spiraling energy costs, Jaggi said he would consider upgrading to a larger Snap Server in the future. 'Sometimes the smaller and less intimidating piece of equipment is better,' Jaggi said.

The Snap Server 4100, a different model from the one at Camp Pendleton, is a finalist for a GCN Best New Technology Award at FOSE in the server products category.

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