VA Linux details network-attached storage system

InfoWorld |  Operating Systems

VA LINUX SYSTEMS followed up last fall's entry into the storage arena on Tuesday with a more scalable network-attached system for online data archiving for mid-range applications.

The 9450 NAS appliance is designed to provide transparent file-sharing across several operating environments including Linux, Unix, Windows and the Macintosh operating system, making it easier for different workgroups to communicate across departments.

"With [the 9450], users can scale to 6.6TB in just a 26U (unit) rack space. And we have added a logical volume manager in our [operating system] software so users can dynamically grow multiple RAID systems and make them all look like one system to a user," said David Farace, director of VA Linux's storage systems group.

The Fremont, Calif.-based company also debuted on Tuesday version 3.0 of its VA NetAttach (VANA) operating environment. Besides the logical volume manager, the new version includes SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) support, allowing the product to better fit in with corporate users' existing infrastructure, such as Hewlett-Packard's Open View, Computer Associates's Unicenter, and IBM's Tivoli systems management environment.

Other features and capabilities of version 3.0 include a Snapshot feature, the Ext3 journaling file system, OpenNDMP (Network Data Management Protocol), and single sign-on integration with Windows NT domains.

The 9450 has a built-in and improved Web-based management interface that makes it easier to set up, manage, and expand, company officials claim. The VANA management features include a Global Status Monitor that lets users centrally manage NAS applications that are connected to their networks. It also has a built-in "phone home" feature that alerts the VA Linux Alert monitoring Center, as well as customer sites, when problems crop up.

"What we have done is taken all the basic building blocks of open source and tied them together into a seamless whole right underneath the graphical interface, instead of having users integrate all these pieces themselves," Farace said. "We give you the base operating system and all the protocols you need so you can turn them on or off as you need them," he said.

With the new version, administrators can more easily adapt the system's graphical interface to look like Windows, or they can invoke a command-line interface similar to Unix.

The 9450 is shipped with RAID 5 level support, which includes a hot spare for redundancy as well as a battery-backed RAID controller cache, a company representative said.

Pricing for the 9450 starts at $29,299 for a system holding 180GB of data AND scales up to $300,000 for one that can store $6.6TB.

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