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Unisys unveils high-end storage tool

The IT services company launches a $200,000 tool designed to enable the viewing of data stored on various systems from a single interface.

Unisys on Tuesday launched a new tool designed to give companies a broader view of the data tucked away in their various storage systems.

The Storage Sentinel can cut across different manufacturers' networked storage systems, giving IT managers the ability to view data on those various systems from a single interface, Unisys representatives said.

The $200,000 device is designed for companies with a mixed bag of storage. Most companies acquire several different storage systems as they grow, and those systems are not necessarily compatible, Unisys representatives said. Blue Bell, Pa.-based Unisys designed the Sentinel's hardware and user-interface software to better organize those systems, creating the effect of pooling their storage capacity.

With this single interface across several systems, companies can more easily move data around their systems or allocate storage capacity to individual departments or even single applications, such as Microsoft's Exchange e-mail system.

The Sentinel also complies with industry standards designed by the Storage Networking Industry Association, a group of storage companies such as EMC, IBM and Hitachi that is working to make storage software interoperable across different systems.

Aside from creating the effect of a storage pool, the Sentinel will also let companies conduct more advanced storage-related tasks such as mirroring, or allowing data to be backed up, Unisys representatives said.

Unisys will begin shipping the Sentinel on Sept. 4. The device, which resembles a large cabinet, uses standard Fibre Channel network connections and can accommodate 2 terabytes or more of its own internal storage, Unisys representatives said.

Along with the Sentinel hardware, Unisys will provide services to help companies rein in their storage systems. Unisys will start with a one- or two-day workshop to evaluate a company's needs. This is included in the price of the Sentinel. Companies can also step up to more advanced services such as monthly maintenance of the device and of the storage it controls.