Clariion, the high end storage division of Data General, has launched what it calls the industry's first full fibre channel backup system for storage area networks (Sans).
The system, dubbed Sanbackup, uses Internet protocol over fibre channel that allows it to perform simultaneous backup of multiple servers without loading up local area networks.
Although backup related traffic is kept off the network this way, server power is still used. But the company said that would change when it launches its shared San product in the fourth quarter of this year.
Users could then scale the system up, plugging the Sanbackup system directly into the San backbone, rather than the servers. This would allow users to carry out backup without servers, copying data directly from the storage device to the backup tapes at a rate of up to one terabyte an hour.
Sanbackup is shipping immediately. Pricing will vary, depending on user requirements.
The ultimate San dream of allowing heterogeneous server platforms to share data on the same storage device is still some way off though. Peter Gibbs, marketing director at Clariion, said he believes that there's still much work to be done on the emerging new architecture.
He said: "People are currently implementing good San solutions, which are solving real business problems, but they're still relatively basic. It could take up to two years for the technology to mature."
Christopher Yateman, director of customer services delivery for GTE Internetworking, a large Clariion customer, said: "The storage we pick for our operations centre and the tools we use to manage that storage will rely heavily on Clariion."
"Sans will enable us to connect a lot more storage, expand it more easily and then share it and back it up at high speed," he said.
Data General also announced aggressive plans to target the San market by recruiting 500 new staff worldwide to sell the Clariion products direct to users.
DG's president and chief executive, Ronald Skates, was adamant that DG was not trying to compete with its base of original equipment manufacturing (OEM) customers.
"We would not be taking care of our responsibilities to our shareholders if we did not exploit this market," he said.
He added: "We're not going to shortchange our OEM partners, we're targeting people who are not already DG customers."
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