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Storage news - 2001, February - week 1

among other things - Intel started a strategic agreement to supply flash memory to Cisco
First of a New Family of Flash From Atmel

SAN JOSE CA February 07, 2001 - Atmel Corp today introduced the first of a planned new family of Flash Serial Memory products.

The AT25F1024 is a 1Mbit device organized as 64K x16. The device conforms with the industry standard Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) protocol and is fully compatible with Atmel's existing SPI (1K to 512K) EEPROM product range. The migration to ever smaller geometry's results in faster speeds and higher densities. The AT25F1024 will operate from 2.7V to 5.0V with a standby current below 1.0uA when operating at 2.7V. An additional feature allows the device to go into deep power-down mode without the need for additional software commands. Typical access speeds of 20MHz are achieved at 2.7V which will increase when operating from a 5.0V supply. Fast programming options include single byte, multiple byte and full page and all are available with a single instruction.

"The flexibility and range of the AT25F family make them ideal for multiple applications including code storage and shadowing in PCs, telecom products, graphic cards, set-top boxes and hard disc drives," remarked Jeff Takahashi, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Serial Memories." They have also found widespread use as an alternative to the traditional parallel EEPROM solution for CD-ROM and DVD drives, PDAs, DSP and many micro-controller based applications."

Engineering samples of the AT25F1024 are currently available with qualification samples scheduled for the end of Q1. Pricing for the AT25F1024 in the 8-pin SOIC and PDIP package will be under $2.00 with the LAP and dBGA versions below $3.00 in quantities of 10,000 units. ...Atmel profile, SSDs on a chip


Ecrix Receives New ISO 9001:2000 Certification

Boulder, CO - February 7, 2001 - Ecrix Corporation has been certified under the globally recognized ISO 9001:2000 Quality System Standard through Colorado-based Orion Registrar.


Certification validates that the tape drive manufacturer has implemented and maintains a quality management system that represents a progressive business model with a focus on customer satisfaction and continual improvement. Ecrix manufactures data storage tape products that offer market-leading data capacity, performance and value for midrange servers and high-end workstations.

"Orion assessed Ecrix against the ISO 9001:2000 draft standard, and was able to award Ecrix the 2000 certification on the same day that the standard was released, December 15, 2000," stated Kelly Beavers, president of Ecrix. "In addition to being one of the first companies worldwide to be awarded this certification, we are extremely pleased that Ecrix accomplished the entire certification process within a short six months. This clearly demonstrates our commitment to customer satisfaction and leadership in the tape storage industry."

Over 150 countries recognize the ISO 9000 standards, established in 1987 by the Geneva-based International Organization of Standards as a uniform quality management system standard. Every seven years the International Organization of Standards rewrites the ISO 9000 series. The new ISO 9001:2000 standard places more emphasis on customer satisfaction, management responsibility and organizational performance measurement. ...Ecrix profile


AMI Sells Discounted EOL Products at AMIdiscount.com

ATLANTA - February 7, 2001 - American Megatrends Inc. (AMI), today unveiled AMIdiscount.com - offering customers End of Life (EOL) products at extremely reduced rates.

AMIdiscount.com offers a 50 percent price break on discontinued and over-stocked products

''AMIdiscount.com's product offerings include top quality, EOL products at amazing prices,'' said Jim Evans, AMI Marketing Communications Manager. ''This new web site features fast and dependable products backed by services unprecedented in the industry, and gives customers insurance and peace-of-mind with its secure transactions.''

All products sold on the discounted site will have a 30-day warranty. For example:- a single channel configuration of the MegaRAID Enterprise 1200, with advanced SCSI RAID performance and fault-tolerance, is available at AMIdiscount.com for $199.95. The enterprise-level controller offers 4 MB of intelligent cache memory. This high-performance controller supports a wide range of operating systems, including Windows NT/2000, NetWare, RedHat Linux, OS2 Warp, SCO Unix, Solaris and UnixWare.

MegaRAID IDE66 is AMI's solution for desktops, workstations and entry-level servers. IDE RAID, a simple and cost-effective way to increase the capability of IDE hard disk drives, allows users to double drive performance or data security at a fraction of the overall cost of SCSI RAID. AMIdiscount.com now offers IDE66 at only $39.95. ...AMI profile


Quantum to Acquire U.K.-Based M4 Data

MILPITAS, Calif., February 7, 2001 - Quantum Corporation's DLT & Storage Systems Group today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire M4 Data (Holdings) Ltd., a privately held data storage company based in the United Kingdom.

The acquisition enables Quantum to leverage M4 Data's complementary products and technologies to enhance the range of storage solutions offered to enterprise customers.

Under the terms of the agreement, Quantum will acquire all the outstanding stock of M4 Data for approximately $56 million in consideration, including $13.4 million in cash, with the balance split between debt and equity. The purchase agreement also includes additional contingent consideration based on the achievement of future performance goals. The acquisition is expected to close by March 31, 2001, pending various tax and regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

M4 Data provides high performance tape automation products for the data storage market. The company is focused on developing truly scalable tape automation products that also incorporate higher cartridge capacities per cubic foot than comparative products. Higher densities are important because they allow data center managers to achieve greater cost and operational efficiencies by storing more data in the same amount of floor space.

Over the past year, Quantum has made significant progress in enhancing its presence in the enterprise storage market. It has introduced innovative new services, such as Internet-based remote management of Quantum tape libraries, and begun building a direct sales force to support customer needs more effectively. Last May, in conjunction with Network Appliance, Quantum began offering integrated SAN solutions that allow NetApp filers to backup data directly over a network to any available tape drive within a Quantum enterprise-class library. In December, following on its success in selling Fibre Channel solutions, Quantum began shipping Gigabit Ethernet solutions. In both cases, Quantum provides not only the libraries but also the networking gear, consulting services, and customer support – demonstrating how Quantum has leveraged its leadership in tape automation to provide more complete solutions to enterprise customers. ...M4 Data profile, ...Quantum profile


Interphase Posts 13th Straight Profitable Quarter

DALLAS, Texas, February 7, 2000 - Interphase Corporation (NASDAQ: INPH) today reported financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year that ended December 31, 2000.

For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2000, Interphase reported revenues of $15.5 million compared with revenues of $18.2 million for the fourth quarter of 1999. Net income for the quarter was $0.6 million compared to net income of $1.2 million during the fourth quarter of 1999.

Storage products revenues for the quarter were $3.4 million, a decline from the $8.9 million posted in the fourth quarter of 1999. Revenue from products for broadband telecommunications systems grew 16 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 1999 to $3.0 million, representing 19 percent of the total revenues for the fourth quarter of 2000.

For the year ended December 31, 2000, the company achieved revenues of $55.7 million compared to $73.5 million during fiscal year 1999. In 1999, one customer accounted for 50 percent of the annual revenue, and that figure dropped in 2000 to 20 percent of the annual revenue.

"Year 2000 was a challenging year for Interphase," said Gregory B. Kalush, Interphase president and chief executive officer. "Developing and launching new, leading edge product lines, as well as signing up new customers and distribution channels were paramount to a successful future. I'm proud of how the team at Interphase responded with nearly 14 new product solutions, as well as many new customers who, themselves are at the forefront of technology. Our foray and recent design wins in the telecom sector are particularly exciting, and I look forward to returning Interphase to a revenue growth mode in the not too distant future." ...Interphase profile

Carrier-Class Storage Vendor Appoints New CEO

Fremont, CA, US, Feb 07, 2001 – 3PARdata, Inc. today announced that it named David Scott as President and Chief Executive Officer.

Scott assumes the responsibilities of CEO from 3PARdata founder Robert Rogers, a veteran from several start-ups. Scott was previously the General Manager of Hewlett-Packard's XP enterprise storage business in the Network Storage Solutions Organization that successfully grew from first introduction in May 1999 to hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue 2000. The appointment of Scott coincided with the addition of two other key executives. Bob Rando, a long-time storage systems veteran from Hewlett-Packard, EMC, Data General Clariion and Hitachi Data Systems, was hired as Vice-President of Sales; and Paul Harvey was added as Vice-President of Customer Satisfaction, a role he occupied at both Lucent and Amdahl.

3PARdata is designing Carrier-Class Storage Servers that enable organizations to implement service provider models through seamless provisioning and management of information. These next generation solutions, driven by intelligent management software, make granular Storage Provisioning a reality for Merchant and Enterprise Service Providers: they can provide new levels of differentiated services while dramatically reducing information management costs. ...3PARdata profile


Brocade Announces Qualification with Storedge Arrays

PALO ALTO and SAN JOSE, Calif. - February 6, 2001 - Sun Microsystems, Inc., and Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. today announced qualification of the Brocade SilkWorm(r) family of Fibre Channel fabric switches for interoperability with Sun StorEdge[tm] T3 and A5200 arrays and Sun Enterprise[tm] and workgroup server configurations.

To facilitate the qualification process, both companies set up interoperability labs and conducted extensive testing of the Brocade switches with various Sun server and storage configurations. Sun Professional Services can deliver Brocade Fibre Channel fabric switches as part of its complete SAN integration solutions. These end-to-end solutions include SAN architectures, implementation including installation of the switches, and integration with Sun server and storage configurations.

"Joint interoperability testing and qualification of Brocade switches with Sun StorEdge arrays fits perfectly with Sun's strategy for delivering end-to-end solutions," said Janpieter Scheerder, executive vice president for Sun Network Storage. "At the same time, both Sun and Brocade are demonstrating our commitment to open standards, which will provide our customers with best-of-breed solutions in their open storage networks." ...Brocade profile, ...Sun Microsystems profile


Cisco Reports Second Quarter Earnings

SAN JOSE, California - February 6, 2001 - Cisco Systems, Inc., the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, today reported its second quarter results for the period ending January 27, 2001.

Net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2001 were $6.75 billion, compared with $4.36 billion for the same period last year, an increase of 55%. Pro forma net income, which excludes the effects of acquisition charges, payroll tax on stock option exercises, and net gains realized on minority investments, was $1.33 billion or $0.18 per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2001, compared with pro forma net income of $897 million or $0.12 per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2000, increases of 48% and 50%, respectively. ...Cisco Systems profile

Editor's comment:- Cisco came in for a hammering by analysts featured on CNBC's Market Wrap yesterday, despite the revenue increase, for technical reasons such as increased debtor days etc. That's too technical for me, but I thought I should look at this release because I've predicted that Cisco will be one of the top 10 biggest storage companies by the end of 2003.

Well... in a really long press release, which includes a lot of words, the magic word "storage" did not appear at all, so I guess that's another good reason for their stock to take a short term hit. But I did say in my article that Cisco would be slow to react to this paradaigm, and despite that - it would still achieve my projections. If anyone in Cisco marketing is reading this - it's spelt "s-t-o-r-a-g-e" and even those boring old telcos need a lot more of this technology... I can't guarantee that putting that word in the next Cisco quarterly results press release will do the trick by itself, but it can't hurt to try. We'll wait and see.



StorageCeNTral Update Supports Microsoft Active Directory

February 6, 2001 -- Reston, Virginia - W. Quinn Associates, Inc., developers of the industry-standard StorageCeNTral® SRM suite for Microsoft® Windows NT®/2000, announces the latest product update and imminent availability of StorageCeNTral 4.1 at the MCP TechMentor Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Designed with increased scalability for large enterprise SANs and data center environments, StorageCeNTral 4.1, build 457 includes support for Microsoft® Active Directory and more than 20 other performance enhancements, including:-
  • Active Directory Support - Systems administrators can now utilize Active Directory to properly configure quota-based e-mail alerts to users for greater efficiency.
  • Enhanced TruStor™ I/O Quota Filter Driver - Processes data transfer 4.5 times faster than previous releases, which were already the fastest in the industry. In large SAN and data center environments where millions of files are frequently processed, this enhancement has a tremendous impact on efficiency.
  • User-Definable Quota Monitor Window - Enables systems administrators to set custom views in the quota monitor window. In large SAN and data center environments with hundreds or thousands of quotas, systems administrators can set filters on which quotas are displayed, thus making large-scale SRM deployments much more manageable.
"Companies in SAN and data center environments realize the need for a highly scalable SRM solution to manage and control excessive storage growth," says Najaf Husain, WQuinn's president and CTO. "WQuinn fulfills this tremendous demand with the most comprehensive, robust and scalable SRM solution available in this latest StorageCeNTral release." ...W. Quinn Associates profile


INRANGE and Hitachi Data Systems Form Alliance

LUMBERTON, NJ, FEBRUARY 6, 2001 - INRANGE Technologies announced today that it has reached an agreement with Hitachi Data Systems that enables Hitachi Data Systems to resell through its global sales and service organization INRANGE's IN-VSN™ family of Virtual Storage Networking solutions.

The agreement is effective immediately.

The agreement expands an existing relationship between the companies, through which Hitachi Data Systems has been successfully distributing IN-VSN solutions in the Asia-Pacific marketplace. Hitachi Data Systems will now resell worldwide the FC/9000 Fibre Channel Director for Fibre Channel SANs, the CD/9000 Channel Director for supporting ESCON environments, and the IN-VSN Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) offerings and 9801 Storage Networking System for extending SANs and enabling Hitachi's disk mirroring technology over Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) and Wide Area Networks (WANs), via fiber and standard telephone lines. ...Hitachi Data Systems, ...INRANGE profile


Vixel Continues to Build Asia Pacific Presence

Bothell, WA, February 6, 2001 - Vixel Corporation today announced a partnership with Sobey Electronics, the leading manufacturer of non-linear video editing equipment in China.

Sobey will incorporate the Vixel 7000 series Fibre Channel switches into its multimedia solutions, targeting the film, video and broadcast television industries in China. Vixel was the only vendor able to deliver the required level of switch performance and value.

Sobey multimedia solutions have long been used in the film, video and television industries in China. The company's current customers include China Central TV (CCTV), Beijing TV (BTV) and Shanghai TV. These stations are among the largest in China, delivering news and entertainment to viewers internationally. ...Vixel profile


Cisco, Intel Enter into Flash Memory Agreement

SANTA CLARA, Calif, Feb. 5, 2001 - Intel Corporation today announced it will provide Cisco Systems high-performance flash memory for a variety of Cisco communications technologies, including cable modems, desktop switches and low-end routers.

The agreement between Cisco, a leading vendor of communications technologies, and Intel, the industry leader in flash memory, features a three-year commitment by Cisco to purchase Intel's high-density flash memory devices, including advanced Intel® StrataFlash™ memory technologies.

"This long-term agreement with Cisco reflects Intel's broadening reach into the communications sector, as we continue to serve the industry as a leading building block supplier to the Internet economy," said Curt Nichols, vice president and general manager of Intel's Flash Products Group. The agreement to supply high-density flash memory of 32Mb and higher is representative of Intel's strategic relationship with Cisco. Flash is one of several key communications technologies that Intel provides Cisco.

First introduced by Intel in 1988, flash memories today are found in thousands of common products, including mobile phones, MP3 music players, handheld voice recorders and tape-less answering machines, in addition to such industrial products as network routers and cockpit voice recorders. ...Cisco Systems profile, ...Intel profile


BMC Software Helps Customers Discover All of Their Storage

HOUSTON - Feb. 5, 2001 - BMC Software, Inc. today announced PATROL® Storage Network Manager. A comprehensive storage network management tool, PATROL Storage Network Manager provides a single, integrated point of control for monitoring, management, control and automation of storage elements across an enterprise.

One of the key benefits of PATROL Storage Network Manager is its ability to automatically discover and map all of the storage devices within a network, providing a clear graphical view of the physical storage devices and defining how they are connected. This view is available in various formats, depending on the level of information needed. This detailed topography allows customers to "fine tune" their storage network, based on changing business needs. In addition to supporting storage area networks, this solution differentiates itself with its ability to also support network-attached storage (NAS) and direct-attached storage.

"Storage is emerging as a key component in the IT infrastructure, eating upwards of 55 percent of most company's IT hardware budgets. And it's no wonder. Today's 'information factories' demand non-stop access to more and more stored data," said Chris Gahagan, vice president and general manager, Recovery and Storage Management business unit, BMC Software. "PATROL Storage Network Manager simplifies and streamlines increasingly complex storage environments, adding the interoperability necessary to manage heterogeneous networks. Its ability to map and discover all forms of storage assets eases the transition from traditional direct-attached storage configurations to networked storage." ...BMC Software profile


Qualstar Quarterly Revenues Grow 39.6%

CANOGA PARK, Calif., February 5, 2001 - Qualstar Corporation (Nasdaq: QBAK) today reported that revenues grew 39.6% to $15.5 million during the second quarter ended December 31, 2000 over the same period last year.

Net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2001 increased 35% to $2.3 million as compared with net income of $1.7 million during the same period in fiscal 2000. Revenues for the six months ended December 31, 2000 were $29.4 million, a 30.7% increase over the $22.5 million during the same period of the prior fiscal year. Net income for the six-month period ended December 31, 2000 amounted to $4.6 million, as compared to $3.6 million for the same time period in the prior year.

"We are pleased with another solid quarter's operating performance," said President and Chief Executive Officer William Gervais. "Our 37% gross margin percentage continues to be among the best in the industry. Additionally, our operating expenses continue to be in line with expectations. In future periods we expect our R&D expenses to rise as a percentage of revenues reflecting an increased commitment to new product activities."

Sales of automated tape libraries and related products, such as tape drives and tape media, represented 72.4% of revenues in the six months ended December 31, 2000, compared to 68.2% of revenues for the same period in fiscal 2000. Qualstar Corporation had a cash balance of $25.7 million and shareholders' equity of $42.1 million at December 31, 2000 ...Qualstar profile


Mellanox Introduces 10Gb/s InfiniBand Devices

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA and YOKNEAM, ISREAL - February 05, 2001 - Mellanox Technologies, Ltd. today introduced its InfiniBridge family of devices supporting the new InfiniBand architecture and announced immediate availability of silicon.

The InfiniBridge family of products includes Switches, Host Channel Adapters (HCAs), and Target Channel Adapters (TCAs). Mellanox is shipping InfiniBridge silicon, development boards, and software products to customers, marking the first commercial availability of devices supporting both 2.5Gb/s (1X) and 10Gb/s (4X) links compatible with the InfiniBand 1.0 specification. The first member of the InfiniBridge product family is the MT21108, which combines Host Channel Adapter functionality with a fully integrated eight-port switch, and an InfiniBand to PCI Target Channel Adapter bridge.

"Mellanox is proud to be the first semiconductor supplier offering InfiniBand silicon solutions supporting both 1X and 4X links to the market," said Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox. "We have worked closely with leading members of the InfiniBand Trade Association to ensure that Mellanox's InfiniBridge devices offer a full and robust feature set and will be interoperable with silicon from other suppliers."

The MT21108 is available today and is packaged in a 516 PBGA package with pricing of $196 in 10K quantities. Production quantities of the MT21108 will be available in Q2 2001. Mellanox offers immediate availability of the PDK system development board (including DDK software), priced at $5,000. ...Mellanox Technologies profile


Maxoptix and HP Collaborate on LTO Solutions

LIGHTWATER, UK ­ February 5, 2001 ­ Maxoptix selects Hewlett Packard as its supplier of Linear Tape Open (LTO) for the Maxoptix line of drive-independent tape libraries.

This decision strengthens Maxoptix's commitment to provide customers with next-generation tape technologies to meet their need for increased capacity and higher performance. The selection of HP's LTO drives by Maxoptix for its Breece Hill Technologies branded products forms the foundation of a strategic business relationship between the two companies. Fred Bedard, Maxoptix Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said joint business initiatives, including complementary marketing programs are anticipated, and will be aimed at building user awareness and driving acceptance of the LTO technology.

"The addition of LTO drives to the Maxoptix Tape Library range offers our Distributors and Resellers in Europe a chance to differentiate themselves from their competitors and offer their customers the latest tape technology", said Brian Blanchard, Vice President, Europe, Middle East & Africa for Maxoptix Corporation. ...Hewlett Packard profile, ...Maxoptix profile


Ideal Sign Exclusive Deal With Ciprico

UK - February 05 2001 - UK distributor, Ideal Hardwaretoday announces the signing of an agreement with premier storage manufacturer Ciprico making Ideal the exclusive UK distributor of Ciprico's NETarray range.

Ciprico's decision to use Ideal as its sole UK distributor follows the recent formation of Ideal's dedicated Enterprise Solutions Group (ESG) focused on providing its resellers with a complete enterprise solution.

Gerry Holman, Ciprico's European channel manager, comments: "Compared to our competitors, Ciprico offer a true open platform RAID solution for the enterprise market. Ideal's recent investment in its dedicated Enterprise Solutions Group provides the perfect platform from which to launch Ciprico's NETarray. Our partnership with Ideal is key to our business strategy and will see us align ourselves with the open SAN players in the storage market, developing our market share and establishing ourselves as the market leader in this field. We have every confidence in Ideal's ability to help us achieve this and see it as instrumental in our future success." ...Ciprico profile, ...Ideal Hardware profile

Editor's comment:- Ideal Hardware has been busy signing up new distribution agreements. Today they also announced an exclusive deal to distribute Fujitsu Siemens SPARC servers and SAN products.


Sun to Acquire LSC

PALO ALTO, CA - February 2, 2001 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire LSC, Inc., a privately held company based in Eagan, Minnesota.

LSC is a pioneer in high-performance file systems and data storage software. With this acquisition, Sun intends to reinforce its strength in open storage networks software by delivering simple and automated end-to-end data management to its customers. Under the terms of the agreement, Sun will acquire LSC in a stock-for-stock transaction worth approximately $74 million. Following completion of the acquisition, Sun plans to make LSC a part of Sun's Network Storage organization, led by Executive Vice President Janpieter Scheerder.

"The acquisition of LSC is just one more execution point in our strategy to deliver dramatically simplified management software for open storage networks," said Janpieter Scheerder, executive vice president of Sun Network Storage. "Sun has invested heavily in storage software, developing over one million lines of code. Today's announcement, combined with the recent HighGround Systems acquisition announcement, reinforces Sun's position as a leader in open storage management software." ...LSC profile, ...Sun Microsystems profile

Editor's note:- my Squeak! article (September 2000) identified strategic weaknesses in Sun's storage business. Since then they've announced 3 acquisitions of storage companies designed to make up these deficiencies.


4th Quarter Presages Changes at Exabyte

BOULDER, Colo., February 2, 2001- Exabyte Corporation (NASDAQ: EXBT) today reported revenue for the fourth quarter of 2000 of $61,215,000, compared to revenue for the third quarter of 2000 of $60,100,000 and revenue of $58,617,000 for the fourth quarter of 1999.

Revenue for the full year of 2000 totaled $222,205,000, compared to $222,827,000 for 1999. For the fourth quarter of 2000, Exabyte reported a pretax loss of $8,458,000 compared to a pretax loss of $11,354,000 ($7,455,000 excluding pretax restructuring charges) for the third quarter of 2000 and a pretax loss of $11,763,000 for the fourth quarter of 1999. The pretax loss for the full year of 2000 was $42,838,000 compared to a pretax loss for the full year of 1999 of $51,188,000.

As a result of the continued operating losses for the fourth quarter of 2000 and the full year of 2000, the Company has increased its existing valuation reserve on deferred tax assets by $35,203,000, thus fully reserving for such assets. Although the Company may return to profitability in the future and thereby begin to realize the benefit of its deferred tax assets, management does not believe that its recent operating history supports carrying the gross value of the deferred tax assets. As stated in its pre-release dated January 8, 2001, results were particularly strong in the automated tape library business, where the Company achieved record revenues of $25.2 million, up from $21.0 million in the preceding quarter and $15.5 million in the fourth quarter of 1999. The standalone drive revenue was modestly lower than the third quarter result and the media business was essentially flat. The media business was impacted by very strong demand, which outstripped suppliers' delivery capabilities during the quarter. Exabyte is continuing to transition into a more significant participant in the growing tape library market and is focusing more of its research and development and sales and marketing resources into this segment.

The Company is currently reassessing its business and investigating various strategic alternatives that would result in increased liquidity. ...Exabyte profile

Editor's comments:- this demonstrates the flip side to the high growth rate paradigm portrayed in press releases from other companies in recent months. As discussed in my Squeak! articles there are few automatic winners in the storage market, and even though the segment as a whole is recession proof (partly indeed because storage can replace other more costly business functions such as mailshots, printed catalogs and tele-sales people) there will still be be winners and losers.

Exabyte operates in an attractive high growth market segment, but their financial results show that they have failed to execute a successful marketing strategy. They have to decide what business they're really in, and leverage their core business assets (which include company alliances not just technology) better. During the last year Exabyte has been unusually active (compared to other storage companies) in the rate at which it issues press releases. This publication has filtered most of those out because they were mostly saying essentially the same things about the same product and we believe that instead of abusing the PR channel companies should come clean and invest in advertising. But we'll keep track of the upcoming changes in this company and our readers will be among the first to know what's happening regarding any new developments.


Indecs Computers becomes Western Scientific Reseller

SOLIHULL, UK - February 2, 2001- UK reseller Indecs Computers Limited has recently become a Western Scientific reseller.

With over 16 years experience, Indecs is a reseller for a wide range of storage products including RAID, Data Filers, Tape autoloaders or Disk and Tape systems from Sun, HP, Storagetek and now Western Scientific. ...Indecs Computers profile , ...Western Scientific profile


IBM introduces record-breaking 15,000 rpm hard disk drive

San Jose, Calif - February 1, 2001 - IBM today unveiled the Ultrastar 36Z15 - the first high-performance 15,000 RPM hard disk drive to achieve 36 GB of storage capacity.

The new drive, with its peak performance, is ideal for Web hosting, e-commerce applications, data mining and transaction processing. The new Ultrastar is offered in both 36 and 18 GB models and will be available this quarter. In addition to a new capacity point and shorter latency, the new Ultrastar also achieves a media transfer rate of up to 647 Mb per second and seek time as low as 3.4 mS. Faster seek times and data transfer rates speed up information retrieval, and contribute to the overall performance of the drive. Interface options include: Ultra 160 SCSI and Ultra320 SCSI; 1Gb/s and 2Gb/s Fibre-Channel Arbitrated Loop (FC-AL-2) ...IBM profile


California Power Crisis Highlights Need For Readiness

MARINA DEL REY, CA - February 1, 2001 - Software developer Storactive, Inc. has announced that its LiveBackup 2.0, the only client-server "real-time" backup and recovery software solution for Windows 95, 98, NT, and 2000 systems, can help businesses safeguard their data from loss up to the minute a disaster strikes.

Storactive has noted increasing interest in LiveBackup 2.0 over the past several weeks of the California power crisis. The company believes recent rolling blackouts and the ever-present threat of disasters, virus attacks, hard drive/system failures and general user errors have highlighted the need for organizations to draft comprehensive disaster readiness/risk management plans that include backup systems to protect against data loss.

Storactive's LiveBackup 2.0 provides "real-time" backup, which backs up user files as soon as changes to those files are made. Real-time backup has advantages over scheduled network backup, the standard of most companies, since a complete diary of all saved data is backed up--not just the data that was saved to a server at the last (often weekly) scheduled backup. Without any additional effort at the user level, all data that was saved up to the second before a disaster strikes will be backed up in the data archives. Thus, should a file accidentally be deleted or wiped out, it can easily be restored. The entire "saved-saved" real-time backup process happens transparently in the background, without any noticeable decrease in system performance, and LiveBackup uses network bandwidth only sparingly. ...Storactive profile


SANbloc Named Resellers' Top Choice

BOXBOROUGH, MA, February 1, 2001 - Eurologic Systems today announced that its SANbloc(tm) network storage system was named "Resellers Top Choice" in the December 2000 issue of Computer Technology Review magazine.

"Only a select few of the hundreds of new products we are exposed to each year are designated as a Resellers Top Choice," said Mark Ferelli, Editor-In-Chief of Computer Technology Review. "The products we choose demonstrate not only technological advantage, they also provide an exceptional value to OEMs, resellers, and integrators, enabling them to pass on value to their own customers. The flexibility, density, reliability, and performance features of Eurologic's SANbloc product clearly give the channel the ability to provide advanced network storage capability to end-users, while cost-effectively meeting their growing storage capabilities." ...Computer Technology Review, ...Eurologic Systems profile

Editor's note:- actually I see that CTR has got an interview with StorLogic's Daniel Smith, president and CEO on their web site today. Everyone's covering storage these days. I didn't see any mice though...

SSD ad - click for more info
SSD ad - click for more info
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Nibbles:- What's the difference between a SAN and a traditional computer network?
That's a question I get asked quite a lot by managers who don't have time to read reams of stuff, but do need to have a mental picture of where it fits into the wider business picture. So here's a suggestion.

In a traditional network, users are mainly joined together by bits of wire which have no memory. Once the network operating system has reliably delivered the data you need, it forgets all about it and goes on to process the next job. If you accidentally delete some of this information, for example an email, you can't guarantee you'll get it back.

In a SAN users are mainly joined together by disks and tapes which do have memory. Once the SAN has delivered the data you need, it remembers what you wanted and where it came from. You can ask for the same data again tomorrow, next week or next year, even if you've accidentally deleted it, and even if the server you got it from has been replaced and upgraded. SANs don't just deliver data, they know about its value, origin and how to rebuild and replace the entire computer environment which produced it.

Just as the original network operating systems enabled computers to talk to each other automatically without having to manually plug in cables to facilitate point to point connections, a SAN automates many of the functions which were traditionally done by people called "systems administrators" whose job was to ensure that backups got done and everything ran smoothly. They are part of the onward evolution of managing computer complexity.

"The storage system is the computer" - to deliberately misquote Sun's motto from the 1980's.

Does a SAN need to include fibre-channel?

No. In the early days, SAN implied the use of fibre-channel as the connection technology, but today that's no longer true.

Marketers love to create new jargon to make things sound new and complicated. For example:- connecting to a disk array via SCSI just means it's a "RAID system" which doesn't sound as sexy today as it did in the early 1990's. Changing the connection interface to ethernet (an even older technology) enables you to create a newer and better sounding label - "NAS - Network Attached Storage".

To differentiate their products even more, in a crowded market, many RAID companies have recently bolted on the term "SAN" for a fibre-channel connected RAID - simply to make it sound even better. In reality they're all RAID systems whether they're connected by IDE, SCSI, ethernet or fibre-channel, and without the RAID controller card, they're just JBODs (Just a Box of Disks).

To my way of thinking, circa 2001, "SAN" now encompasses the idea of any kind of significant storage system which can connect over some distance to a network, whether that connection is by fibre-channel, ethernet, the internet, or in the future InfiniBand. The "newness" in this storage revolution comes from the fact, that the significant part of the value in any business lies in how well it uses data.

In the past most organizations bought their storage in the same box as their servers, or desktop machines because there was no other technical alternative. Now users are waking up to the idea that technology allows these choices to be separate. That's creating a shake up in the computer market, because the amount spent on storage is more than that spent on other factors, and now it can be unbundled from the choice of machine or server. So if you decide that you want to buy your desktops from Dell, and your servers from Sun, the really big choice will be where do you buy your storage. That's going to be a market worth over $200 Billion in a few years, so you can see why there's such a buzz in the storage market - because there are few established winners.

I think the SAN market today is like the PC market before Microsoft, and the networking market before Cisco. Nobody really knows who is going to create the standards which are going to be the winners.

See also:- Megabyte's Glossary of storage terms.
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The Future of Storage

by:- Farid J. Neema - President of Peripheral Concepts, Inc

The future of storage networking is contingent upon the evolution of SAN and NAS architectures, the distribution model for storage, and the advances in telecommunications techniques. These in turn will create new applications demanding higher levels of performance, very scalable interoperable systems, and universal data access. Storage beyond 2003 will inter-operate with the rest of the IT and IP environment

SAN and NAS Architectures

The frontiers of SAN and NAS are rapidly growing and evolving making it increasingly difficult to identify separate markets. Ultimately, much of the differing functionality of the two architectures will merge. NAS will find a way to overcome the slow nature of TCP, and take advantage of the higher Ethernet speeds, as NAS appliances scale and layer in additional software functionality SAN will overcome its interoperability problems, will incorporate both caching and heterogeneous data sharing, while moving to easy-to-install, low-cost products. The road to NAS and SAN convergence will go through some "SAN over IP" solution

The exact outcome of SAN and NAS merger is not clear at this point. The most likely outcome is that FC prevails in the mid-term for the metropolitan area, a SAN file system emerges as a standard, and bridges are built to either encapsulate FC (or SCSI) over IP or to translate FC into IP for WAN connections. IP protocol will prevail in the long term with the advent of 10-gigabit Ethernet, its advantages override FC merits, and many SAN products will be implemented based on IP.

Just like in any major new development, there won't be one technology that fits everyone's needs. There will be complementary technologies that address different market segments. The proper solution will likely differ by application, connectivity requirements, scalability, performance, and price sensitivity. Fibre Channel SAN has acquired enough momentum to ensure its continued high acceptance rate for the next three to five years. For any architecture to be successful, it will have to guarantee continuity/ integration with Fibre channel.

Storage Distribution

The profile of distribution channels is changing, driven by service providers. Service providers represent a very significant discontinuity in the way storage is distributed and the way vendors interact with their users and channels. They will constitute a great market opportunity and create a new business model for storage. A data tone model will prevail. Storage will be provided as a utility by service providers, except for larger corporations that will be very reluctant to give away all of their data to someone else to manage. To succeed, a VAR will need to offer a complete solution and service.

Applications

The Internet revolution is causing businesses to rethink every interaction with customers, suppliers and partners. While the Internet is merely the trigger, the real effect lies in the better use of corporate information, leading to broader market reach and additional business. Corporations will aggressively invest in the development of more efficient and optimized IT infrastructures to leverage new and existing data. Mobile business, consumer retail purchase, entertainment, combined with multi-media support, will drive the creation of an infrastructure where content is independent of the data format and the storage location. In such an environment, data security will grow to a become a vital necessity.

Industry and Industry Leaders

The storage leader in year 2003-2005 will:

  • Provide reliable, scalable solution to open storage that is easily managed
  • Stay closest to his customers
  • Execute in a timely way
  • Offer a high Quality of Service
  • Have very high software, system and network skills

Industry consolidation will continue, many storage vendors will disappear, and a new breed of companies will emerge as storage leaders.

click to see STORAGEsearch's predictions for the 10 biggest storage companies in 2003...

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Squeak! - Animal Brands and Metaphors in the Storage Market
Squeak! - Animal Brands and Metaphors in the Storage Market
Animal marketing metaphors are popular in service industries, but you'd be surprised how many companies have used animals in their marketing of data storage products and services.

The storage market was worth over $160 billion in 2006, and as it gets bigger - more companies will turn to animal brands to help differentiate their otherwise bland products and lend them artificial (or deserving) characters and virtues.

The idea behind this type of marketing is to suggest positive connotations so it's unlikely that anyone will choose to associate their products with gremlins. But you may be surprised by the population of the storage ark.

This reference articles lists all known companies who have furry marketing brands, and also includes some which are slimy, scaly and scary too. ...read the article, Mice in storage
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