StorMagic today launched its first virtual storage appliance, the StorMagic SvSAN, designed to help small businesses create iSCSI SANs using VMware ESX server disk and attached external arrays.
Vendors such as DataCore, FalconStor and Hewlett-Packard/LeftHand Networks sell virtual storage software appliances that run on VMware's ESX server, letting customers take advantage of VMware features such as VMotion without an external SAN.
StorMagic's SvSAN goes beyond that by running as a virtual machine (VM) inside of VMware and integrating with VMware's vCenter management console to let administrators manage the iSCSI SAN and internal RAID controller from inside VMware.
"StorMagic goes in a different direction than other virtual appliances that take software, shove it into a virtual machine and make the virtual machine pretend it's a storage controller," StorageIO Group analyst Greg Schulz said. "SvSAN plugs into the VMware management framework, so when you provision storage it's a lot easier. You don't have to plug into a separate management tool."
Schulz said that other virtual storage appliances "require you to use that RAID array's management tools, or the internal RAID manager's configuration tools. StorMagic effectively consolidates functionality you would expect in a larger enterprise system."
Gavin Murrill, network administrator at Make-A-Wish Foundation, says he already has Xiotech Magnitude 3D and IBM DS3400 SANs, but is looking at SvSAN for departmental applications and SQL servers.
"I have a whole bunch of applications I use for different departments and I can use [SvSAN] instead of our other SANs for them, he said. "I see a lot of potential for it. Just the fact you have redundancy with VM machines should keep us from wasting hardware space trying to make VM machines the right size."
SvSAN pricing begins at $995 for a single virtual appliance license and 2 TB of capacity plus $995 for high availability, and runs to $4,795 for unlimited capacity and high availability.
StorMagic Vice President of Sales & Marketing Mike Stolz says the SvSAN roadmap includes support for Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer.
StorMagic has been selling software to create iSCSI SANs since late 2007, but remains virtually unknown compared to its competitors. Schulz says despite the advantages of SvSAN, StorMagic may need an OEM partner to succeed.
"It's a small company that nobody knows," he said. "They need to land a major OEM or VAR agreement quickly to go to market and generate brand awareness."