With reduced cost of implementation and high RoI, popularity of SAN-based storage has increased manifold with even small and medium businesses looking to implement such kind of storage solutions. The 3400i is an IP-based SAN which comes in a 3U chassis and so can easily fit into your existing rack.
The configuration is quite simple. The 3400i has two controllers for failover, which means you need to attach two power cables. Each controller unit is modular and can be taken out from the back. Also, each one has two Ethernet ports for connection to servers (that would most probably run enterprise class applications). Once powered on, simply visit the IP address of any one NIC and login using default credentials. The default user name is 'itxadmin' and the corresponding password is 'password'. First step in configuration involves setting up a virtual IP which acts as a proxy to the actual IP address of the unit; the rationale behind the 'Virtual IP' is that there are multiple NICs on this unit each having a unique IP address. In order to avoid any confusion about which IP address to use for accessing 3400i, a single virtual IP is used. If you try to access the 3400i from any NIC IP address after setting a virtual IP, you are redirected to the virtual IP. Once the network configurations are over, the quickest way to configure the 3400i is using 'Quick Setup Wizard' for which you are prompted. This wizard helps you configure RAID on the entire set of disks that are present in your unit and then lets you define storage pools from where one can use storage volume (by running volume wizard) for actual use.
As mentioned previously, the 3400i comes with two controllers which means that the other controller can be configured to start automatically if the primary controller fails. There are a lot of features to talk about but in this section we would touch on those which we found really interesting. One key feature that stands out in this unit is the management software known as 'iTX 2.8 Network Storage Software' which is based on 64-bit architecture. Once you log into the 3400i interface, you can do a lot of monitoring and management from a single window thanks to iTX. In one look you get to know the health status of your unit. The bundled software features a 3D model of the actual unit with critical parameters color coded, so if your disk is showing red color on the interface it means it has failed. Similarly you can go to the back of the 3D model and check status of power supply and connectivity.
The other key feature of 3400i is its expandability. The users interested in expanding their storage capacity can easily cascade StorTrends 3201j JBOD units behind the 3400i head. Along with its onboard SAS expander for JBOD expansion, there is also the option to add two additional NIC ports or 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. With the ability to expand up to four 3201j JBODs, the StorTrends 3400i enables organizations to solve future expansion issues. Besides this, with Thin Provisioning and ILM (Information Lifecycle Management) the JBOD expansion capability of the 3400i can be leveraged to the maximum. ILM of StorTrends iTX analyzes data for its value, and stores it accordingly---the fastest, most responsive top-tier storage is for the most popular data, and automatically it migrates data down the chain to less expensive, less powerful storage as and when it loses value (similar to Dell EqualLogic PS Series that we tested in Nov 2010). The ILM can manage data growth and accessibility, reduce cost, improve recovery, and remove risks and exposure to data loss.
The 3400i also features Data Archiving with Deduplication, which works with the WAN Data Services (WDS) feature of Volume Replication to apply data deduplication on the secondary appliance at the disaster recovery site to conserve storage space and increase data archiving capabilities. Because the 3400i features Asynchronous Replication with WDS, it can be used for Disaster Recovery (DR) applications requiring a secondary appliance in an offsite location, as WDS saves bandwidth usage and data transfer times.
Finally with virtualization becoming important in IT, 3400i supports all major platforms including VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix Xen.
Bottom Line: With expandability and enhanced management software this SAN solution could be a valuable 'current' expenditure for 'future' use.
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