Active Storage today introduced a 1U Metadata Controller appliance, ActiveSAN. The unit runs an unspecified Linux (still being evaluated) and an "Xsan-optimized" version of Quantum StorNext. There will be dual 8G fiber channel ports. A custom administrative app manages the appliance and configuration.
ActiveSAN is "in development today" and will be shipping in the second quarter. Integrated ActiveStats and Innerpool will also ship in Q2. A beta program will be announced at NAB (April). Pricing has not been announced, but expect it to cost a little more than Xsan on an Xserve.
Active Also announced a training and certification program for the ActiveSAN appliance.
Can I use the appliance for file sharing? No.
Lights-Out Management? Integrated with the admin app. Includes power and fan monitoring.
SNMP? Not at release, but we'll release a MIB "very quickly."
Extended attributes and ACL? We are working with Quantum bring these to StorNext.
Base level of Xsan supported? 2.2.1
Promise storage supported? Yes.
MultiSAN support in Innerpool? Will be supported.
Is this a replacement for Xserve? Can I run other apps on it? Nope. You can still buy an Xserve today and you should.
Can we leverage StorNext add-ons such as Storage Manager? Yes. (Best news of the day in my opinion.)
Open Directory support? That is a hard one to answer. (Translation: no.)
JSamuel started a Forum Thread, let's use that instead of the comments here.