Following an industry-wide trend toward storage abstraction, Unisys on Tuesday announced a new storage appliance that pools disk storage from various vendor products on a storage-area network and serves it up to clients or backs it up as if from a single source.
Unisys's Storage Sentinel is a RAID controller device that comes in a refrigerator-size cabinet with 2TB of internal storage. It features snapshot, striping and mirroring capabilities over multiple platforms and applications.
Unisys said its focus is on selling services, with the company's appliance being 75 per cent of the cost of rolling out a standard $US200,000 Storage Sentinel configuration.
"The professional services were important to prove why we're in this space," Jim Thompson, director of Unisys's Eastern Development Laboratory, said, referring to management of heterogeneous storage networks.
Thompson said Unisys is taking a consulting approach with the new product, beginning with a two-day workshop to assess customers' current storage infrastructure and evaluate the benefits of deploying Unisys Storage Sentinel. Additional services can include design and project management, networking and system implementation, and ongoing maintenance.
Bob Passmore, an analyst at Gartner, said what Unisys has done with its Storage Sentinel is not unique. Startups DataCore Software, FalconStor Software, and StorageApps are all using storage middleware to "virtualise" or pool storage from different vendor products.
What is different about Unisys's approach is placing the appliance outside of the data path, which "long term is a better architecture, if perhaps a more complicated architecture", Passmore said.
Storage Sentinel runs on Windows, Solaris or Unix and can be managed from a single management dashboard using graphical user interfaces.
Unisys Storage Sentinel, which will be available from September 4, complies with the Storage Networking Industry Association's Common Information Model, a consistent way of mapping management elements in a network.