Hewlett-Packard (HP) has acquired a storage area networks (Sans) specialist to help kick start its effort in the market which analysts reckon will be worth $1.5 billion by 2002.
Californian startup Transoft Networks will provide HP with San Manager, its fibre channel San software for Windows NT and Unix servers and workstations. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
A San enables users to store, move and share data transparently anywhere on the network, and to manage it as if it were a single system. Tasks such as backup and recovery are offloaded from servers on the local area network and are undertaken by the San.
According to Michael Klein, president and chief executive of Transoft, existing San products are limited because they only allow for a single server to be connected to fibre channel hub or switch. "This is only an extension of what people do with servers now - big deal. San Manager allows multiple servers to hook up to a shared pool of storage," he explained.
So far HP's storage efforts have been limited to the hardware side, such as protocol chips for fibre channel, and storage subsystems, including disk array and hubs, but the company expects Transoft to help boost its name in the San market.
HP's strategy for San is to develop an environment that will support many types of servers and storage sytems. Said Clive Surfleet, manager of strategic business development for HP's enterprise storage business unit, "Many people sell Sans that only supports one vendor's storage - this is not an open environment. We will develop a more heterogeneous environment." He added that HP was attracted to Transoft because it develops Sans software for non-HP platforms.
The systems giant is also working with vendors including IBM, EMC, Compaq, Storagetek, and Sun Microsystems, to build open interfaces for Sans. While each will support the initiative to different degrees, they will jointly submit prioritised work efforts for the consideration of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA).
Surfleet would not say when Transoft's products will begin to be merged into HP?s portfolio but said work will commence after the acquisition closes at the end of this month.
Most of Transoft's 60-strong workforce are expected to join HP's enterprise storage business unit.
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