InterSAN partners with EMC to provide storage package

InterSAN, Inc., is teaming up with a powerful veteran to introduce a new storage application management technology. Storage area management (SAM) software automatically finds storage needs and makes it available to servers. The relationship announcement comes two months before the official release of the SAM software, expected this fall.

A rookie in the storage market, InterSAN, Inc., is teaming up with a powerful veteran to introduce a new storage application management technology. This fall, InterSAN's storage area management (SAM) software will be integrated with EMC Corporation's Symmetrix enterprise storage systems.

SAM, which is based on InterSAN's Virtual Private DataPath (VPD) technology, links management of centralized storage resources within the storage network to the applications that are consuming that storage, according to Truls Myklebust, director of product management at the Scotts Valley, CA-based InterSAN. VPD technology establishes the relationship between applications running on one or more servers and the data storage.

With SAM, InterSAN has taken "an interesting approach where they're managing the relationship between applications and data," said IDC analyst Doug Chandler. SAM can be more scalable than storage area networks (SAN), which are focused on managing the devices that run storage software, but are less successful over wide areas, he said. SAM offers a wide area alternative.

Integrating SAM with EMC's existing storage technologies was an obvious choice for InterSAN. EMC is a vendor of choice for their customers, according to Myklebust. InterSAN expects its customer base to be a mix of their own customers as well as current EMC clients. Customers who buy InerSAN's SAM software will get an agent that talks to EMC's hardware. Policies written by the customers then provision the storage of certain applications to large Symmetrix storage systems, said Myklebust.

For example, if an IT administrator wants to run Exchange on an NT server, he first needs to allocate the space needed. "With our software, you could associate a policy with Exchange, saying: "Here's the level of quality of service you want for storage for that application,'" Myklebust explained. SAM software will then find the matching storage needs and automatically make it available to the NT server, he said.

Administrators do not need to be technical experts to use SAM with their storage networks, said Karen Dutch, InterSAN vice president of marketing. The use of policy allows people to specify in very simple terms what the requirements are for a particular application. "It allows them to translate their best practices into our policies that then drive and automate," she said. The complexity of the infrastructure is, therefore, hidden.

The benefits of incorporating SAM include scalability, availability, service-level management and increased security, said Dutch. As storage networks grow, infrastructures can grow along with them due to SAM's automation policies. Availability is also maintained because a script can be written to ensure that applications are up 24x7x365, she said. Further, SAM can take advantage of the security that's available in the infrastructure automatically and ensure that security is available.

The relationship announcement comes two months before the official release of the SAM software, expected this fall. InterSAN also has formed relationships with Hitachi Data Systems and LSI Logic Storage Systems.

Pricing for the SAM software has not been announced, but it will depend on the complexity of the customer's storage network. This week, InterSAN will begin its first early customer deployment.

InterSAN's challenge, Chandler said, will be to show that SAM really does a better job than SANs or other technologies. Partnering with EMC, he said, gives InterSAN credibility and marketing clout, two big bonuses in a marketplace crowded with proven storage technologies.

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