BETA NEWS - Novembre/Dicembre 1996

For Immediate Release

Impactdata Introduces New Storage Architecture For High Performance Computing

New architecture to fill critical need for high-speed, high-volume network storage

MONROVIA, Calif. -- November 3, 1996-- Impactdata, a division of DATATAPE Incorporated focusing on high-performance network storage solutions, has introduced Distributed Storage Node Architecture (DSNA). This advanced open architecture for network storage has been optimized to take advantage of the world's fastest networks, enabling users to collect, store and access vast amounts of data across multiple computing platforms.

DSNA is a breakthrough architecture for network storage, blending centralized control with distributed access. It enables any authorized node on the network to manage the information assets distributed across the entire network. It also enables applications operating anywhere on the network to access and use data as if it were stored locally. Data is transferred efficiently, at the rates for which the network was designed. With DSNA, information can be stored anywhere on the network with the assurance that it will be secure, responsive and consistent.

DSNA is an integrated storage architecture that addresses the demanding needs of users in high-performance scientific, technical and commercial computing systems. The architecture is designed specifically for environments whose performance, functionality and management requirements far exceed the capabilities of traditional storage systems. DSNA embodies a number of technological breakthroughs, including high-performance hardware drivers for network-device interfaces, including HIPPI, Fibre Channel, ATM, Ethernet, FDDI and others; distributed object storage management supporting Java and ActiveX; the Common Peripheral Interface (CPI) to ease integration into existing environments; extended security for access control and management; and user-friendly, graphical network data management. The framework for these breakthroughs is the innovative DSNA network storage protocol, which ensures fast, error-free data transmissions and ease of integration into existing distributed systems.

"Today's departmental and enterprise-level high-performance computers produce as much data as yesterday's supercomputers," said Bob Farkaly of Impactdata. "This has created a data management challenge that cannot be addressed adequately with current technology. Impactdata's Distributed Storage Node Architecture is the answer to this crisis. Its state-of-the-art management capabilities finally allows even the fastest, most sophisticated computer storage networks to be controlled and managed. What's more impressive is that the architecture can be integrated without changes to application programs currently in use, thus protecting our customers' investments in hardware and software. DSNA is a truly open solution that is scaleable for both capacity and performance, and it takes advantage of commercial, off-the-shelf PCI hardware to provide a cost-effective, high-value storage solution."

DSNA fulfills the promise of network storage to enrich the computing landscape. It gives users powerful new tools to optimize the computing infrastructure and run distributed systems applications at new levels of performance. Typical applications supported by DSNA include all user written applications, network backup and recovery, network Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM), network virtual disk, Network File Service (NFS), Bulk Data Service (BDS), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and other critical storage tasks. The architecture also provides for enhanced system management, remote operation, dynamic reconfiguration, security access management, extensive use of Metadata, and a user-friendly graphical interface.

"The advent of next-generation 'metanode' HPC servers and ultra high-speed network architecture will inevitably force the industry into a new distributed storage paradigm," said Bruce Borden, managing director of research, Smaby Group, Inc. "While memory will remain closely coupled to processors in these evolving topologies, I/O will migrate further out into the ether. Impactdata's Distributed Storage Node Architecture (DSNA) is one of the first solutions to efficiently enable this migration. With DSNA, a collection of high-performance computing nodes can effectively share very high-speed disks and tapes across standard networks. DSNA will allow users to dynamically expand storage - at the speed of the network - independent from the relentless performance improvement of the underlying processors."

DSNA is enabled through Impactdata's hardware and software building blocks that can be used with storage devices and components from many vendors. The pieces supplied by Impactdata include:

-Network Peripheral Adapter (NPA) - an intelligent controller and optimized file server that enables network-attached processors to access distributed data while maintaining the benefits of centralized management and control.
-Common Peripheral Interface (CPI) - middleware that allows UNIX and Windows NT clients to use network storage as if it were locally attached.
-Storage Node Controller (SNC) - a high-performance UNIX server used to increase the processing power, capacity, throughput and functionality of a DSNA node beyond that available through a single NPA.
-DS-50 - a high-speed tape drive capable of transferring data at 50 Mbytes/sec.
-DSNA Protocol - used to pass commands and data between an application and the DSNA architecture.

To supplement these building blocks, sites can use a wide variety of supported tape drives, automated tape libraries, high-speed disk arrays and other shared resources.

"There isn't any single set of products or an architecture that addresses high-speed network storage like Impactdata's DSNA," said Farkaly. "Many companies are trying to cope with the increased amounts of data and the increased network speeds by combining various tape drives and disk drives that result in one-off and sub-optimal configurations. It's very costly in some cases and very inefficient in others. DSNA will now provide a high-value, highly-efficient solution for these enterprises."

A typical organization that will benefit from a DSNA implementation is one that has at least 100 gigabytes of on-line storage, uses high-speed networks for data movement, produces large amounts of data that need to be stored and retrieved for such purposes as data mining (a terabyte or more of data), and/or has an installed relational database like Informix, Sybase and Oracle. The cost of the technology starts at less than $50,000 with individual systems configured depending upon the network being connected to, the number of peripherals to be attached, the performance required of the peripherals, configuration variables and the specific hardware and software required for the network connection.

The initial concept of Impactdata's DSNA technology was evaluated and validated by some of the leading high-performance computer and digital video users across the country.

"I feel the ability to configure DSNA subsystems with a choice of vendor hardware is a definite advantage," said Thomas M. Ruwart, Assistant Director, Laboratory for Computational Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota. "This allows users to integrate the DSNA into their current environments thus maintaining their original capital investment in archiving hardware and media. Our research group at the University of Minnesota's Laboratory for Computational Science and Engineering has a significant investment in Ampex D2 tape subsystems and data on the D2 format. The DSNA system will allow us to use our existing D2 tape subsystems more effectively than we can now, having them be more easily network accessible."

Impactdata is leading the industry into the era of network storage. The company's systems are designed specifically to address the most demanding requirements of network data storage, distributed data access, and integrated storage management. The company's focus is on storage solutions for high-performance network computing, including the support of collaborative distributed computing on a global scale. Impactdata is headquartered in Monrovia, Calif. The company website address is

Contact: Debbie Caldwell, The Bernhardt Agency
(503) 226-6452

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