Archives ||  About Us ||  Advertise ||  Feedback ||  Subscribe-
 Home > Cover Story
 Print Friendly Page ||  Email this story
Shopping for storage solutions

There are a whooping number of storage hardware and software vendors in India. And to help put your storage needs together, there are many experienced integrators. Take a day out to explore the options before making a purchase. by Soutiman Das Gupta

Rahul Saxena (the CTO we spoke about in page 21, who has acute storage problems) is now wise to the larger issues concerning enterprise storage. He now wants to consolidate and store his company's data into a networked storage architecture. He has decided to use a NAS or a SAN and is looking forward to provide data access and share privileges in all areas of his network. Maybe it's a bit of a strain on the IT budget in the beginning but in the near future, he knows he can save the money he would have spent on things like periodic procurement of disks and salaries for IT personnel.

He's made a list of storage hardware and software vendors and storage systems integrators. We've sneaked a peek into the list and printed it below for your reference.

IBM has been rather active in the storage front and had developed proprietary storage boxes and architectures in the beginning. Now it has shifted out of its proprietary mould and offers solutions that work across platforms.

The company's products can be divided into three broad categories. SAN components, NAS components, and iSCSI components. Under these category heads there are products like SAN management software, NAS appliances, Storage management software, disk drives, Fiber channel and SCSI RAID subsystems.

A storage management product family called Tivoli is one of the more popular offerings of the company.

Veritas specializes in storage software and has dedicated its research keeping in mind this particular core strength. Its disaster recovery solutions are rather comprehensive.

The solutions span areas like backup and recovery, file and volume management, clustering and replication, SAN management, and application-enablers.

HP has a large range of products that cover SAN, NAS devices, disk arrays, automatic backup, and DVD-ROMs. The SAN management range includes SAN switches, bridges, and hubs. The NAS disk arrays are compatible with the company's backup devices. There are also various tape drives, libraries, and archival storage products.

The company aims to be the driver for storage virtualization solutions.

Compaq offers NAS devices, SAN platforms, RAID systems and controllers, switches, SCSI and FC hubs, tape backup libraries, backup solutions, and disk arrays.

Its popular offerings are the StorageWorks range of devices and the SANworks range of data management software. The company's offerings support multiple platforms and interoperate with other vendors' storage products.

Sun is a very prominent player in the open storage products market. Its family of products include data center systems; mid-range, workgroup, desktop storage; boot disk solutions; tape backup and restore; SAN solutions; storage software suites; storage management and data services software. The StorEdge family of products is the most prominent among the offerings.

The company also offers Veritas' software as a part of its solutions.

Legato offers software solutions that perform storage operations control and management. The company aims to specialize in 'Information continuance' solutions for an enterprise.

Legato claims that it specializes in data protection and application availability.

EMC is certainly one of the biggest drivers of storage technologies. It has various software and hardware offerings for enterprises. Its SRDF remote data mirroring solution is a very popular disaster recovery choice. Another solution called AutoIS allows open storage management and claims to do what virtualization cannot.

IDC in 2001 has named CA (Computer Associates) the best performing ISV. The company offers a suite of integrated storage software solutions. The solutions cover areas like storage data protection and storage management solutions including SAN management and ROI calculating tools.

Its BrightStor range of products is the most popular storage offering.

HDS (Hitachi Data Systems) offers Thunder, Lightning, and Freedom. Thunder and Lightning are integrated hardware and software NAS and SAN solutions. The Freedom family offers storage software. All its products are based on open standards and offer interoperability.

Adaptec has a number of storage solutions. They range from SCSI, iSCSI, RAID systems, to FC boxes. The products provide support for NAS and SAN data clusters. Its new range of products has support for the emerging InfiniBand and Ultra 320 SCSI standards.

Network Appliance offers product families of filers, NearStore appliances, and NetCache appliances. The products offer storage data management, backup, disaster recovery, and remote access to storage data.

Cisco's entry into the storage arena is rather recent. It doesn't have a very comprehensive range of solutions and has partnered with other storage products and services vendors to facilitate its customers. Cisco offers storage routers and switches that will integrate with other hardware and software applications.

Acer has a range of enterprise servers which can act as storage boxes. Its cluster server offering which uses an Altos Cluster Kit promises to scale high storage needs.

Samsung manufactures hard disk drives which are mostly IDE. Its Polaris series of high-speed (7200 RPM) IDE drives can be used for low-end servers or busy workstations.

Maxtor manufactures hard drives and now also offers a line of low-end and mid-range NAS devices.

Storagetek offers disk arrays, FC switches, and SAN management solutions. The solutions adhere to open standards and promise interoperability.

Other than the ones mentioned above, there are numerous storage vendors who manufacture reliable products. Some of them are SGI, Dell, Quantum ATL, Vixel, and Overland.

Storage integrators
These are the people who'll actually set up the gear on your premises. You can consult them to get a relatively unbiased opinion about the best-fitting storage solution. A good idea is to look at some of the company's implementation case studies to get a clearer picture of how your storage strategy will be shaped. More than often, integrators can advise you a good mix and match solution that brings out the best in different vendors' products.

Wipro provides solutions in areas of simple DAS, NAS, and SAN solutions. It also designs automated back up solutions and disaster management solutions.

It has partnered with companies like Sun, EMC, Hitachi, Netapps, ATL, Veritas, Storage Tek, and Legato to provide hardware and software.

Although Infosys's core competence is software development, it has enjoyed some success in systems integration. It offers consultancy in SAN solution design and services in system integration and application migration.

The company claims to have experience in mainframe computers, legacy systems, application domains, and SAN integration.

Bangalore Labs had one of the first data centers and NOCs (Network Operations Centers) in India. It has a Technology Solutions Group which plans, architects, and deploys storage infrastructures. It also performs infrastructure audits to help you manage your infrastructure.

Apara claims to have focussed on the Indian storage market for more than six years. It has tied up with companies like Network Appliance, Veritas, Vixel, and Quantum ATL to help implement solutions for clients.

The company favors appliance-based concepts because it is easy to deploy, manage, and scale. It claims to have special expertise in installing NAS and SANs.

Other integrators like HCL Infosystems, CMC, Tata Infotech, Lanbit, and CMS also offer reliable consultancy and integration.

Storage software functionalities

Storage hardware is the platform and storage is the intelligence. The software is the key enabler of functions like clustering, backup, recovery, management, and most functionalities in a NAS and SAN.

V. Rajesh, Project Manager, SAN and Wireless of Infosys Technologies says, "Storage software provides features like LAN-free backup, automates scheduling, disaster recovery, and virtualization. It allows resources to be shared across multiple servers and reduces the cost of ownership.

P.P. Subramanian, Country Manager of Hitachi Data Systems says, "Storage software is a logical progression to make the management of storage solutions user friendly. Since it's difficult to get skilled manpower to manage storage setups, storage software's presence and role is very important. Imagine not being able to use your investments for want of skills. Storage software removes the mystic from technology."

Soutiman Das Gupta can be reached at

- <Back to Top>-  

Copyright 2001: Indian Express Group (Mumbai, India). All rights reserved throughout the world. This entire site is compiled in Mumbai by The Business Publications Division of the Indian Express Group of Newspapers. Site managed by BPD