Apple Ships Xsan Storage Area Network File System

Apple announced Tuesday that it has begun shipping Xsan, the companyis enterprise-class Storage Area Network (SAN) file system. Xsan is a 64-bit cluster file system for Mac OS X that allows users to share storage resources over Fibre Channel. Aimed at both video professionals and IT networks, Xsan supports very high data throughput for multiple users.

"Appleis pro video and IT customers now have an affordable, high performance SAN file system on Mac OS X," said Phil Schiller, Appleis senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, in a statement. "Together, Appleis Xsan file system software and Xserve RAID storage hardware deliver a powerful, easy-to-manage, enterprise class SAN solution at a breakthrough low price."

Announced in April of 2004, Xsan was originally scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2004, but was pushed back to "early 2005" in December.

According to Apple, Xsan includes advanced features such as metadata controller failover and Fibre Channel multipathing ensure high availability; file-level locking that allows multiple systems to read and write concurrently to the same volume.

In other words, many users can read and write to the same shared storage with Xsan without performance degradation. The example Apple included in its announcement is that up to 64 video professionals can simultaneously access a single storage volume.

Xsanis management and setup software is built into the admin software that comes with the system, which includes remote monitoring. Administrators can impose user quotas and access controls for both security and total usage.

In addition, Apple has developed Xsan to work in a heterogeneous computing environment, including Windows, Unix, and Linux systems, as well as Appleis own Mac OS X. It is also supported by ADICis StorNext Management Suite, an important enterprise-class networking tool.

Xsan is available now through the Apple Store at a price of US$999 per client and per server. Apple has qualified Xsan with Xserve G4, Xserve G5, Power Mac G4, Power Mac G5, Xserve RAID and Apple Fibre Channel PCI-X cards. Xsan requires Mac OS X or Mac OS X Server version 10.3 software installed and will support qualified Fibre Channel switches from vendors such as Brocade, QLogic or Emulex.