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Storage

HDS, McData tap new standard for cheaper storage

The partners promise to provide lower-cost storage area networks for small business with a package that uses iSCSI, an emerging interface standard.

Hitachi Data Systems has joined forces with switch-maker McData to offer lower-cost networked data storage to small and midsize businesses.

HDS, which makes hard-drive-based storage devices, said Wednesday that the storage package will rely on the emerging iSCSI interface standard.

The Hitachi TrueNorth iSCSI SAN Solution lets customers create storage area networks (SANs) at a lower cost than SANs built using the Fibre Channel interface, according to HDS. SANs are networks designed for more efficient use and easier management of data storage equipment.

"Our new iSCSI solution provides an alternative for customers who have been priced out of the SAN market by the high cost of Fibre Channel," Scott Genereux, Hitachi vice president of global marketing and business development, said in a statement.

The package includes the Thunder 9570V storage system from Hitachi, the Eclipse 1620 SAN internetworking switch from McData, and services. The product is available now, with prices starting at about $60,000, depending on configuration, Hitachi said.

iSCSI (pronounced eye-scuzzy) is an Internet Protocol-based standard for transmitting data. Approved earlier this year, the interface is intended to make it easier for computers to share and manage stored data over common Ethernet networks. It is an alternative to linking computers and storage through more specialized networks that use the Fibre Channel interface.

Nancy Marrone-Hurley, an analyst with research firm Enterprise Storage Group, said just a fraction of small and medium-sized businesses now have SANs in place. Smaller organizations may not have the manpower to manage Fibre Channel networks, she said.

With iSCSI, it's possible that existing network administrators at small and midsize businesses can take on storage network management as well, Marrone-Hurley said.

"iSCSI really is targeted at that market, as well as work groups and remote offices of (large) enterprises," she said.

Adoption of iSCSI has been slower than expected, Jamie Gruener, an analyst with market research firm Yankee Group, said earlier this week. But the technology may be gaining momentum. Also on Wednesday, Microsoft said that more than a dozen storage hardware companies--including Intel, Network Appliance and McData--have proven that their iSCSI-based products work with Windows.