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storage news - December 1-7, 2001

the SSD Buyers Guide
A Storage Architecture Guide
History of Enterprise Disk to Disk Backup
the Benefits of Serial Attached SCSI for External Subsystems
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The Next Decade in Storage? - View from the Hill -
ACSL, publisher of StorageSearch.com celebrates its first 10 years of computer directory publishing in December 2001.

So I thought it would be interesting to speculate about what major changes the next 5 to 10 years might bring. We'll be returning to these and other subjects in much more detail in future articles.

Who will dominate the storage market?


Is the storage market going to be dominated by a single supplier? in the same way that the IP switch market is dominated by Cisco, and the Unix market is dominated by Sun?

If you'd asked that question at the beginning of 2000 the bets could have gone either way, and the answer might have been EMC. But in 2001 we've seen the start of some irreversible trends which will shape the market of the future. EMC lost 9 points of market share in the external RAID market this year, and the biggest gainer was that category (which includes hundreds of RAID companies) and which market researchers lump together as "others".

It's clear that even at this early stage of the new storage market that users regard network storage as a commodity, and don't see why they should pay a premium price to anyone for a box of disks with some network ports.

Storage will end up looking much more like the PC market, in which there are thousands of manufacturers. It will be difficult for a single storage company to capture even as much as 10% of a market which will be worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

No single company will dominate the market.

The end of operating systems?

The increasing use of data network technologies like XML and storage virtualization software in new business applications software will reduce the role of the operating system in the computer market from the primary buying criterion, which it is today, down to a secondary minor role.

When you can do pretty much the same things with your data whether your OS was written in Seattle or California, or as an Open Source project, the OS is going to become as irrelevant to most users as the source of their gas or electricity is today. It's only the computer appliance manufacturers who will interface at this level.

Of course, the desktop appliance, which we nowadays call the PC, and the notebooks etc will continue to be mostly Microsoft Windows based products, but as long as they get shipped with all the connectivity they need, users won't really care what the differences are in the internal versions, because, as now, they'll be driving these things from a browser front end. In the long term, we may even see the disappearance of the reset button, but remember I'm talking about a 5 year timeframe here, so the mechanical switch manufacturers don't have to start panicking just yet.

The end of tape backup?

The tape library occupies the same slot in the IT datacenter arsenal today that the ironclad Dreadnoughts did in the Europe of the early 1900's. They're expensive to buy, include a lot of metal, and are seemingly invincible.

Owning more Dreadnoughts became an obsession to navy planners in the UK and Germany in the years leading up to World War I, because they demonstrated superpower status. In a similar way, owning a fleet of tape libraries indicates to the outside world that your company is a massive data owner, such as a media company, a bank, a telco or other corporation which is on the same scale datacenterwise as a government department. So you may get a bit twitchy when someone predicts that you're going to pull the plug on all that investment, especially when most of it hasn't even been installed yet, and is waiting for the next budget period to kick in. Well, remember, I'm not talking short term here, but here are my reasons.

Tape was a good idea as a backup and recovery technology in a disconnected world, when disk drives were expensive, and data security depended on being able to carry your data into a car for off-site backup via sneakernet. Although the density of tape backup has increased, so too has the volume of data which people want to store.

Data weighs a lot, and the average person would not feel comfortable carrying a terabyte of storage for very long. Unfortunately the terabytes are are growing like Topsey. Tape libraries solve today's problem of backing up data networks, but no-one suggests that you're going to unplug your tape library, lift it up using a fork lift and drive it to an off-site location as your secure backup. Get real. The way that tape libraries manage the off-site backup problem nowadays, is they use IP based data replication software to back themselves up onto other tape llibraries somewhere else...

...And that is exactly my point. If you aren't going to pick up the whole damn thing and move it, then there is no particular advantage in using a tape cartridge as the medium for the data replication. It could be any convenient, reliable technology which stores data, such as a RAID system using hard drives or an optical based juke box. So one of the historic arguments for using tape media has already been junked. The internet doesn't care what shape or size the media is at the other end.

I think tape will put up a fierce rear guard action, and remain a factor in the data recovery market for many years, but its days are numbered. From now it will only lose market share, maybe just a few points each year, but the writing is on the wall.

...I look forward to reporting on all these changes and more, in our 2nd decade as a computer directory publisher.

see also:- storage market research
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Optosys Technologies ships the first 1-GB CompactFlash Type-II Card in the World

Berlin - December 05, 2001 - Optosys Technologies has developed in collaboration with Lexar Media, California, the world´s first CompactFlash memory card in the world with a capacity of 1 GB.

The Type-II-compatible card with dimensions of 36.4 mm x 42.8 mm x 5.0 mm (LxBxH) is available ready-to-ship at a street price of about $900.
Among the most important areas of application of flexible-use memory cards are PCs, Notebooks, PDAs, MP3-Players as well as industrial and medical applications. Particularly in the area of professional digital photography, it represents an ideal solution. For example, using the 1 GB CompactFlash card from Optosys, up to 60 images could be stored in the highest resolution taken with a professional camera. news image 1-GB CompactFlash
The high storage capacity is facilitated by the Chip-on-Board-(COB) assembly technology used in the company as well as the specific "Die-Stacking" technology developed by Optosys to a sophistication level suitable for production. Characterizing for its technology is the multiple layer stacking of dies with identical size. This allows the maximum use of the given geometry of a standardised casing and therefore realizes a significant higher total memory capacity beyond the current industry standard of 512 MB. With this advanced technology, Optosys has secured the world-wide market leadership in the product area of the "High-Density CompactFlash Cards". ...Lexar Media profile, ...Optosys profile


Intel Demos InfiniBand Fabric Accelerating SAS Enterprise Miner On Oracle9i Real Application Clusters

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Dec. 4, 2001 - At Oracle Open World today (Booth #1512), Intel led a broad team of InfiniBand technology developers demonstrating deployment benefits of InfiniBand architecture running on Oracle9i Real Application Clusters and two of SAS Institute's enterprise-class solutions: SAS Enterprise Miner and WebHound.

Besides Oracle and SAS, this proof-of-concept demonstration included well-known enterprise vendors Dell and EMC in addition to such new enterprise entrants as InfiniSwitch, Voltaire and OmegaBand.

The demonstration connected InfiniBand- and non-InfiniBand-enabled servers running -- for the first time -- Oracle9i Real Application Clusters and two enterprise-class solutions from SAS, Enterprise Miner for data mining and WebHound for clickstream analysis. At the core of the technology demonstration were pre-production Intel InfiniBand components.

"Our goal with this demo was to illustrate how seamlessly InfiniBand can fit into today's data center that supports a broad range of technologies, including Ethernet, Fibre Channel on Intel architecture and newly deployed Intel Itanium™ servers," said Tom Macdonald, general manager of Intel's Advanced Components Division. "An InfiniBand-enabled Intel architecture-based platform enhances scalability and performance of Oracle 9i Real Application Clusters with virtually no changes to existing applications."

In the demonstration, Oracle9i Real Application Clusters ran in a distributed manner on four rack-mounted, eight-way Intel® Pentium® III Xeon™, 900Mhz processor-based Dell PowerEdge 8450 servers. By reducing the latency it takes to perform a message transfer, InfiniBand architecture ensures that Oracle9i Real Application Clusters runs faster, thereby freeing CPU cycles for additional work by the application. ...Intel profile


NSI Software's Double-Take® Serves as the Replication Engine for IBM's TotalStorage NAS Products

Hoboken, N.J. - December 4, 2001 – NSI Software®, a leading developer of award-winning data replication technologies and services, today announced that its Double-Take® replication product now supports IBM's TotalStorage NAS products.

Recognizing the worldwide market demand for cost-effective, scalable NAS solutions that deliver unmatched data replication and high availability, Double-Take is now certified for use with IBM's NAS 200, NAS 300 and NAS 300G products.

"IBM is committed to providing open and interoperable storage solutions to our customers, especially in the area of data protection and business continuity," said Roland Hagan, vice president of Storage Networking Marketing, IBM Storage Systems Group. "By combining NSI Software's Double-Take with IBM's NAS family of products, we enable our joint customers to have a high performance, open system that protects data and ensures data availability."

According to industry analyst firm, Gartner, the market for NAS devices is expected to grow at a CAGR of 48.2% between 2000-2005. To take advantage of this strong market opportunity, IBM and NSI Software will continue to work together to offer customers highly reliable replication solutions.

"By extending the set of functionality offered through Windows Powered appliances, independent software vendors (ISVs) like NSI Software are able to enhance the capabilities, performance and availability of NAS products for OEMs like IBM," said Keith White, senior director of marketing for the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp. "NSI Software's Double-Take application is a great example of how replication technologies and service capabilities can be quickly and easily extended to Windows Powered NAS appliances to provide a complete high availability NAS solution for IBM's customers."

Establishing leadership in the replication market, NSI Software's Double-Take is the only replication product to achieve Windows 2000 Server, Advanced Server and Datacenter Certifications, and is one of the only replication products to protect everything from servers to NAS environments. Capturing and replicating only byte-level changes as they occur, Double-Take asynchronously replicates selected files or entire storage devices from one or more source servers to one or more target servers over standard network connections. Its patented technology provides high availability for network servers, reduces or eliminates downtime and data loss with automatic failover, while enhancing the capabilities and performance of existing backup systems. Double-Take's failover capabilities allow network operations to resume rapidly after a disaster, without user intervention or the complexities of restoring from tape. ...IBM profile, ...NSI Software profile


Exanet Secures $17 Million 2nd Round of VC Funding

SANTA CLARA, CA, - December 4, 2001 – Exanet Inc. announced today that it has completed its second round of venture funding, raising a total of $17 million from such firms as Evergreen Canada-Israel Investments Ltd., Intel Capital and Microdent Ltd., as well as individual investors.

The funds will be used to help bring Exanet's leading-edge ExaStore storage system to market.

The ExaStore System uses advanced fabric-based storage clustering technology to deliver storage services that scale in key dimensions including capacity, bandwidth, backup/restore speed, geography and manageability, eliminating the scaling constraints that have impeded the growth of data center storage facilities. The system achieves these benefits through a combination of Exanet's patent-pending ExaMesh software and industry-standard hardware based on the Intel Itanium processor architecture and high-speed InfiniBand interconnect technology. The system will begin beta deployment at a number of companies in early 2002. ...Exanet profile


Ideas International selected as preferred analyst for US-based Storage Performance Council (SPC)

SYDNEY, Australia - 4 December 2001 – Australian-based global IT research company, Ideas International Limited has been selected as one of two preferred analysts for the US Storage Performance Council as it releases its SPC-1 benchmark test today – the first industry standard benchmark for enterprise storage systems.

As a member of the Storage Performance Council for more than two years, Ideas International participated in the establishment of the vendor-neutral benchmark, which facilitates a more accurate comparison of the performance of storage solutions.

Chief Operating Officer of Ideas International, Ian Birks, said the storage market has for many years been in need of a standardised and audited performance metric: "The SPC-1 storage benchmark is a major industry contribution for providers and buyers of storage networking technology. It is characterised predominantly as a random access environment for server-class computer systems and is modelled on the most ubiquitous applications in the market today – web servers, database servers and email servers," Mr Birks said.

Ideas International's Principal Worldwide Storage Analyst, Chris Ober, said: "As a leading provider of comparative hardware data, we are very excited about the clearly applicable vendor-neutral comparison process the SPC-1 benchmark offers storage buyers. We are pleased to have been a part of the process of the establishment of this benchmark test."

The SPC has formed a strategic alliance with Ideas International, and has announced it as one of two worldwide preferred analysts for the organisation, together with The Evaluator Group. This vendor-neutral evaluation and analysis is designed to pave the way for end-users, resellers and integrators to rapidly and confidently adopt SPC-1 as the standard for comparing storage solutions. The SPC membership reinforces Ideas International's totally independent position on IT products and services analysis, working for the storage market in a similar way to the role that the company plays for server market by its contribution to, and membership, of the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC). ...Ideas International profile, ...Storage Performance Council

Editor's comments:- as soon as storage vendors have quotable benchmarks, we'll start seeing these kinds of comparisons in their press releases, just like we already see in the server market. You know the sort of thing... Sun is faster than IBM, but IBM is faster than HP, while HP claims to outperform Sun. You get into these kinds of loops because new products are introduced at different times. These kinds of standards are useful. But cents per megabyte will remain an easier to understand and important metric.



Platypus Technology Announces Channel Strategy to Aid Delivery of Solid-State Storage to the Masses

West Lebanon, N.H. - December 3, 2001 - Platypus Technology today announced a multi-faceted channel strategy for its high-performance storage systems aimed at expanding the potential of solid-state across a wide variety of industries.

The Platypus Partnership Program incorporates several categories including: Professional Services, Technology Alliances, Systems Integrators and Resellers. Rightsizing, Inc., Vector ESP, The Root Group, SUN's SolutionsSite and CDW have been appointed as channel partners for Platypus' solid-state storage systems.

Platypus' DRAM-based SSD systems are used for speeding up the delivery of e-commerce databases, email servers, delivering streaming data, and obtaining maximum application performance. Due to their dramatic price/performance offerings, Platypus' high-performance storage systems allow organizations to take full advantage of the existing infrastructure's cost and performance potential.

"We are pleased to have discovered a vendor, Platypus Technology, that has delivered a product with the reliability required by database operations, the speed of solid-state media and a price range that finally makes deployment of significant amounts of solid-state disk plausible for a broad range of business users," said Mark Farnham, President of Rightsizing, Inc. "To best serve our clients in our Oracle performance tuning line of business, we have developed a strategic relationship with Platypus and will be recommending their solid-state disk devices to our clients who have systems limited in performance by the slowness of traditional disks."

Platypus' storage innovations free applications from the I/O bottlenecks caused by hard drive-based storage, allowing mission critical files to run from silicon, rather than from rotating platters. These DRAM-based storage products provide many inherent benefits over the hard disk drive-based storage alternatives, including massive data transaction rates, faster access times and lower power utilization, and all without the risks of moving parts.

By integrating Platypus storage, businesses can access and serve data dramatically faster, whilst maintaining their current server infrastructure and without incurring higher CPU-based software licensing fees. ...Platypus Technology profile


Nexsan Rolls Out Infinisan ATAboy 2 Correct Cost Raid Solution With 75% Capacity Boost, Enhanced Performance Features

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. - Dec. 3, 2001 - Nexsan Technologies today unveiled an enhanced version of its InfiniSAN™ ATAboy™ storage solution that delivers significant upgrades in capacity and performance, while providing the same unique combination of high availability and affordability as the previous products.

The new InfiniSAN ATAboy 2 features a 14-bay enclosure, providing 75% more capacity over the previous eight-bay model. The innovative ATAboy architecture provides a comparable performance boost with the increase in drive density, leveraging Nexsan's proprietary ATA silicon on its own RAID controller to scale up data throughput. Instead of opting for the conventional design of putting dual ATA drives on each bus, the Nexsan design allocates a private bus for each of the 14 ATA drives, generating improved data throughput, improved reliability and the ability to hot-plug each individual drive.

Nexsan will also be offering the ATAboy 2 in high-availability model with support for dual RAID controllers in an active/active configuration with automatic failover support. This high-performance configuration using Ultra160 SCSI host data paths pushes throughput to 250 MB/s for sequential reads. Nexsan will offer active-active versions of the ATAboy with Ultra320 SCSI and Fibre Channel host connections in 2002.

The InfiniSAN ATAboy 2 provides enterprise-class features and functionality in a low profile - 14 drives in a 3U rack mount enclosure - cost-correct, expandable package. The ATAboy 2 is also available in tower and stacker models. Unquestioned reliability results from utilizing redundancy and the latest advancements in RAID technology. Nexsan's new ATAboy 2 ATA disk-based technology provides "Next Generation" performance, reliability and high data availability for the most demanding storage and data-delivery applications.

The current InfiniSAN RAID architecture has the ability to support ATA disk in excess of 128 GB, with the flexibility to support even higher capacities with Nexsan's proprietary ATAengine™ with soft-reconfigurable FPGAs, allowing field updates of the ATA interface design. Remote firmware updates are supported using FTP. ...Nexsan Technologies profile


Adaptec Tops 100,000 in Channel Shipments of Ultra160 SCSI Raid Controllers

MILPITAS, Calif., December 3, 2001 - Adaptec, Inc. today announced that channel shipments of its Ultra160 SCSI RAID controllers have topped 100,000 since last year's launch of the products and the company's initiative to speed the adoption of RAID in the PC-server and high-end PC markets.

"Reaching the 100,000 mark in channel shipments of our Ultra160 SCSI RAID products is a key milestone for Adaptec's RAID Everywhere initiative and its aim to grow RAID implementations in the PC-server market," said Lee Caswell, vice president and general manager of Adaptec's Storage Solutions Group. "Not only is this achievement a strong measure of our effectiveness in meeting customer needs with innovative, affordable, easy-to-use solutions, it gives us a strong foothold in the reseller market as we prepare for next year's commercial introduction of our first Ultra320 SCSI RAID controller."

"The demand for RAID data protection and performance in the entry- and mid-range server markets remains robust," said Roger Cox, chief analyst for market research firm Gartner Dataquest specializing in RAID storage management. "Adaptec's shipment of more than 100,000 Ultra160 SCSI RAID controllers to resellers to date shows that it is capitalizing on this demand." ...Adaptec profile

Editor's comments:- the market size for RAID controllers will be many millions of units by 2003, but most are shipped embedded in complete RAID systems.



Seagate Targets VARs, Distis and Integrators with New Drive

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. — 03 December 2001 — Seagate today announced its Barracuda 36ES2, an 18.4 Gbyte and 36.9 Gbyte entry-level SCSI disc drive offered exclusively to channel resellers, distributors, system integrators, and VARs to meet the unique needs of their customers.

The Barracuda 36ES2 is ideally suited for use in entry-level workstations and server systems, or for upgrading existing SCSI products and systems that require the scalability, performance, and backward compatibility that only SCSI provides. The Barracuda 36ES2's advanced drive design blends the best technologies from both Seagate's top ATA and SCSI drive families to provide an unbeatable combination of price/performance value. The Barracuda 36ES2, unveiled today at CMP's Tech Builder Xchange, will ship in volume during the first quarter of 2002. ...Seagate profile


Arsenal Digital Solutions Secures $23 Million In Series C Financing

DURHAM, NC - December 3rd, 2001 - Arsenal Digital Solutions, a leading SSP, today announced that it has raised $23 million in its latest round of financing (Series C).

With this new round of financing, Arsenal has raised a total of $42 million in equity since its inception. The round was lead by Southeast Interactive Technology Funds, and included Covestco, Task USA, and MCNC. Arsenal will use the funding to support both existing and new partners, capital expenditures required to grow the business, and to increase its workforce by 15%.

"Our commitment to Arsenal remains strong," said Norvell Miller, Managing Director at Southeast Interactive Technology Funds. "Arsenal's approach to the market, which is based on augmenting their core enterprise-class storage solutions with other high value services, has shown great results. We believe this approach leaves Arsenal well positioned to capture significant enterprise market share moving forward."

The funding reflects Arsenal's success in staying focused and delivering on its business plan, which anticipates breakeven in the first half of 2002. A key component of this model is partnering with leading hosting companies that rebrand and resell Arsenal's storage service offerings as an important, value-added service. "This new round of financing is a strong vote of confidence, both in our business strategy and the strength of our management team," said Geoff Sinn, President and CEO of Arsenal. "Despite a rapidly changing business environment over the last year, Arsenal has stayed the course and is now experiencing rapid growth in revenue, customer base and data under management."

"Storage services, specifically backup and restore, are a key component of our managed services offering and our partnership with Arsenal is vital to its success," said Justin Jaschke, Chief Executive Officer and Director of NTT/Verio. "Arsenal has the experience, leadership and industry vision to meet our customers' crucial storage needs - today and in the future."

Arsenal has gained industry recognition for offering a comprehensive suite of fully managed storage solutions, including Backup & Restore and Managed Disk. These solutions provide "enterprise class" storage, on a "pay-as-use" basis, to large and small companies that are struggling with storing, managing and protecting their data. With infrastructure in 22 Internet Data Centers in 16 cities across the U.S., Arsenal is in a unique position to play a leading role in the SSP market that is forecasted by Gartner Dataquest to grow to as much as $8 billion by 2004. ...Arsenal Digital Solutions profile, ...Southeast Interactive Technology Funds


ACSL Marks 10 Years Anniversary as a Computer Directory Publisher

December 3, 2001 - ACSL, publisher of STORAGEsearch, announced the 10 years anniversary of its incorporation.

The company was founded in December 1991 to research the Sun Microsystems compatible market. Its best known publication in the Sun market is the SPARC Product Directory which started life as a printed book in 1992. In fact it was not until 1998, that the company diversified outside the SPARC market, with the launch of its enterprise storage portal called StorageSearch.com. Since then the mice have taken over, and the storage readership has grown to several times the size of ACSL's venerable Sun focused publication.

"Nowadays publishing our directories involves the active collaboration of thousands of companies" said publisher Zsolt Kerekes. "But because our publications are now so well known, my job has become a lot easier than it used to be in the early days when I had to explain to everyone what they were all about."

Kerekes admits that he knew nothing at all about publishing when he started ACSL and made a lot of fundamental business mistakes in the early years. "But luckily when the web came along, all publishers restarted with a level playing field, and it was an ideal medium for this kind of information."

"I'd like to thank everyone who uses our publications, my content partners and all our advertisers for helping ACSL get through a difficult year in 2001." ...ACSL profile

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