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LSI Logic, one of the few IT companies that develops and makes storage chips, software and hardware, started shipping in mid-January the newest addition to its lineup of enterprise-class SAN systems for OEM partners: a direct-attached storage array that can transition into a SAN with minimal reconfiguration.

The Fibre Channel-connective Engenio 1932, which features a SAS (serial attached SCSI) back end, is aimed at entry-level enterprise and departmental customers. It will be supplied to OEM partners that include IBM, MaXXan, Sun Microsystems, Sepaton and Exanet.

Engenio 1932 is designed for enterprise users with departments or remote offices that need to integrate storage into existing FC environments to accommodate growth, a spokesperson for Milpitas, Calif.-based LSI Logic said.

The model 1932 has the flexibility to deploy the system in a direct-attached storage configuration and then seamlessly transition to a SAN configuration when needed, the spokesperson said.

Managed by LSI Logic’s Simplicity Storage Manager software, the new system provides customers an intuitive, task-based management structure that aims to reduce the complexity of installation, configuration, management and diagnostic tasks, the spokesperson said.

“SAS continues to gain tremendous deployment traction and market diversity. Its integration with Fibre Channel host connections will enable SAS to keep building on this momentum,” said Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst, StorageIO Group in Stillwater, Minn.

“Systems that can offer this combination, such as the new Engenio 1932 from LSI, further validate the strength and flexibility of SAS and present an appealing SAN option to customers ranging from enterprise departments, remote office branch office (ROBO) to growing SMBs [small to midsize businesses].”

Click here to read more about LSI Logic’s SMB storage systems.

Modular design allows ‘add-as-you-go’ functionality

The Engenio 1932 features a modular design so users can start by purchasing only the amount of storage needed and scale capacity without disruption.

Entry-level systems begin with a 12-drive configuration that can scale up to 48 drives, offering more than 14TB of storage when using 300GB SAS drives.

The 1932 system is based on the 2U, 12-bay Engenio DM1300 drive module. Featuring two 4G bps FC host ports per system, the model 1932 provides the ability to auto-negotiate FC link speeds, providing backward compatibility and investment protection for legacy SAN infrastructures operating at lower speeds.

Simplicity Storage Manager software manages the model 1932. Once installed, Simplicity software discovers and configures storage systems in six steps. With the software’s online capacity expansion, volume creation and host-to-volume mappings, users have complete control of their storage system and the ability to quickly make changes when necessary, the spokesperson said.

In addition, Simplicity software offers premium features to support data utilization and protection strategies, including storage partitioning, snapshot and volume copy capabilities.

Truthfully: How ‘simple’ is it to set up?

“Can a savvy business-type person set up a multi-function printer/copier/fax machine or typical PC server?” Schulz told eWEEK. “If yes, then they should be able to set up and deploy this type of solution as well.

“On the other hand, if you are challenged by programming your VCR, setting the time on your microwave, let alone turning on your computer, than all marketing aside, you would be challenged by these solutions as well, which means leave it to a solution provider.”

What is the most important feature of this new offering?

“I would have to say the expandability and investment protection for this solution should be attractive to customers and partners alike,” Schulz said.

Mark Bowker, analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., told eWEEK he thought the most important feature is the support of SAS disk drives with FC host connections.

“SAS disk drives deliver comparable performance compared to FC drives at an improved price point. The 1932 delivers an improved price/performance ratio than a comparable storage system that only supports FC drives,” Bowker said.

Assuming the end user has FC experience, implementing the 1932 should be a no-brainer, Bowker said.

“If the end user does not have experience implementing FC SANs, a basic knowledge of the hardware and architecture will still need to be learned,” Bowker said.

“However, with that said, the 1932 is a good starting point for organizations implementing their first SAN or for organizations that have already implemented a FC SAN and are looking for departmental or remote office solutions.”

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