Maxxan switch makes storage virtualization easy
Maxxan MXV320 switch and blade combo offers storage virtualization, replication
NAS resources can also be easily created using a Windows or NFS. The Windows version of the NAS reads AD (Active Directory) or NT domain information so the software can easily be integrated into an existing Windows network. Share modes include Samba, an NT domain mode, a domain controller mode, a server mode, or a single server mode, with or without AD. Storage can be added to organization units within AD, which means that the NAS functions can integrate easily into almost any network.
Benefits of the Blade
The SA200f blade has two 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, which can use 802.3ad or IP-based trunking to provide one 2Gbps Ethernet connection. The blade also includes a 10/100 Ethernet management port and 10 1Gbps or 2Gbps FC ports, plus dual 2.4GHz Xeon processors, and 2GB of RAM standard, with up to 12GB supported. The SA200f provides the virtualization functions and is surprisingly mature for a first-generation product.
The SANCruiser application, meanwhile, offers an interesting topographical mapping function that does a good job of coherently representing a complex SAN topology. The interface includes switch-hardware management tools, such as real-time status of all ports, the SA200f blade hardware, and the SAN itself. SANCruiser can also notify administrators by e-mail if thresholds are crossed or problems occur.
To create volumes, administrators have an easy-to-use SAN resource wizard that can create LUNs (Logical Unit Numbers) as SAN resources, assign them to hosts, expand LUN sizes, and do backups via a raw device. Maxxan includes separate read and write cache capabilities, so a separate LUN can be designated as a SafeCache write cache, or a HotZone read cache. These caches improve replication performance over WAN links and allow for asynchronous mirroring.
Enabling snapshots for image backups requires a separate SAN virtual device to store the snapshots. Snapshot functionality includes a time mark, a very interesting feature that creates incremental snapshots so there's no need to restore an entire block device to get one file back.
The switch has a number of notable FC features, too. One is automatic promotion, used in the creation of zones, similar to Ethernet VLANs. If a switch port is added to a zone, the device attached to the port is also added so a device isn't accidentally added (or not added) to a zone. Another feature is rolling firmware upgrades, allowing upgrades to be done without downing the switch or losing storage device access.
The Maxxan MXV320 Intelligent Application Switch, in combination with the SA200f blade, provides virtualization that is potentially very useful, especially in multivendor SAN environments. The average price of $100,000 is fair, considering the switch's functionality and its extra virtualization and gateway features. Because the switch can make a remote storage device appear to be a locally attached raw FC device, distance and manufacturer become irrelevant -- just what’s needed to deal with the real world of multivendor devices.