Apple unveils Xsan 2

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In the first major upgrade to its Storage Area Network (SAN) file system, Apple on Tuesday introduced Xsan 2, adding a new feature called MultiSAN and making it easier for first time users to get up and running.

“The feedback we’ve heard from customers is that a SAN is too difficult to setup, so one of the goals in this release was to make SAN simpler,” Eric Zelenka, senior product line manager server & storage software, told Macworld.

One of the ways Apple has accomplished this is with the SAN Setup Assistant, which is integrated into Mac OS X Leopard Server or as an application that can be run on its own. When first setting up Mac OS X Server, a fourth option automatically appears if you have a Fibre Channel card installed. The setup assistant will do all the heavy lifting for you, setting up everything including Open Directory permissions.

Xsan 2 also includes a new feature called MultiSAN for users who need to access multiple Xsan volumes from the same workstation or server. Zelenka pointed to examples like a newsroom with separate SAN volumes for production and broadcast.

“Tens of thousands of businesses, from small video post-production houses to large data centers and TV stations, use Xsan as their clustered SAN file system,” said Zelenka. “Now with Xsan 2, businesses can efficiently share and access their data faster and easier than ever before.”

In addition, Apple said that Leopard Server features such as iCal Server, Mail Server and Podcast Producer, can now integrate with Xsan 2 to support clustered file systems, improving performance and scalability and reducing the impact of a service outage from the loss of any one server.

Xsan 2 has also been qualified with third-party RAID storage hardware from Promise Technology in configurations tuned and optimized for Xsan.

Apple has qualified Xsan 2 with Xserve, Mac Pro and Apple Fibre Channel PCI-X cards. Xsan 2 requires that Mac OS X version 10.5 or Mac OS X Server version 10.5 software be installed and will support qualified Fibre Channel switches from vendors such as Brocade, QLogic and Cisco, and RAID storage hardware including Xserve RAID and Promise VTrak E-Class RAID subsystems.

Xsan 2 is available immediately for $999.

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