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Storage History - 2002, August week 2a

Megabyte's selection of storage news
10 years editing the storage news on
storagesearch.com hadn't aged
Megabyte one little bit.
Mac OS X Bootable ABSplus Now Available

EMC Drives Advanced Connectivity to CLARiiON Storage Family

SNIA Launches Storage Management Initiative

IBM Ships Seagate's 15K Ultra320 Cheetahs in RAID Servers

DinoStor TapeServer Enables Network Backup

New Article - Tuning SANs with Solid State Disks

Fibre Channel Industry Association's "Plugfest"

Emulex Reports 4th Quarter and Fiscal Year Results

Fujitsu Softek Appoint VP of Strategic Business Development

Infineon and Actel Cooperate on Flash-Based at 0.13-Micron

Rave Computer Gives Away SPARC Laptops with

earlier news (archive)
trade associations
Industry trade associations
on STORAGEsearch.com
Megabyte found that talking to other specialists was a good way to learn more about storage.

View from the Hill

A Better Windows than Windows...

A Better Linux than Linux?

For some quirky reason Sun Microsystems' launch of their Linux for Intel architecture systems at LinuxWorld in mid August, put me in mind of IBM's marketing push to get their OS/2 into PC's back in the mid 1990's, long after everyone in the PC world realised that the PC OS race was already over, and had been won by Microsoft.

IBM's phrase "A Better Windows than Windows" sounded good, and was relatively harmless. Less harmless, however, was the realization that if you bought a low cost IBM PC with Windows, then the disk also came packed with OS/2 and a bunch of other stuff which IBM thought you might find useful, just in case you changed your mind about which operating system you really wanted to boot up AFTER you had placed your order. Removing the OS/2 crud to free up disk space, was something you only did once. Next time you didn't make the mistake of buying an IBM PC. IBM's marketers at the time padded their "market share" data with millions of these dual boot, never used copies of the ill fated OS/2.

A recent Sun press release says that in keynote address to Linux enthusiasts at LinuxWorld, Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy said Sun is redefining value in the low-cost, entry server market with one of the first pre-integrated enterprise-class systems running Linux.

"There is no reason not to go to Sun for Linux - we've got the Sun ONE stack, price performance, support and services, scalability and an upgrade path," Sun CEO Scott McNealy said. "We are part of the Linux community and will stay committed through sponsorships, donations, and product deliveries. We're leveraging the Linux opportunity and helping customers at the same time by bringing enterprise-level support to the open source community."

Sun's entry level x86 server, the Sun LX50, launched a few days earlier comes preconfigured to run either Solaris or Linux, and the tone of Sun's statements about their entry into the Linux market are very much along the lines that you'll get a Better Linux than Linux from Sun.

I didn't attend LinuxWorld so I don't know if McNealy had his fingers crossed behind his back, or choked whenever he said something positive about Linux. From Sun's point of view, this is the operating system which brought rivals HP and IBM back into the Unix mainframe market long after Sun thought they had already won that race with Solaris. Sun hoped that Linux would go away, or stay a hobbyist market, but it didn't. They hoped that Intel, IBM and HP would always stay behind Sun in the race to produce the fastest processors, but that that didn't happen either. Then within less than a year of killing Solaris x86 off, and saying many rude things about Linux, and Intel, Sun has now eaten humble pie and launched a dual boot Linux/Solaris x86 server.

Who would believe it?

Well... the words "humble" and "Sun" don't fit together comfortably in the same sentence. No, instead, of eating humble pie, Sun has decided that it is going to ship a version of Linux which has lots of proprietary Sun add ons which will make it "better". If you see the light and change your mind about the Linux thing after placing your order, then not to worry. You can boot Solaris x86 instead. Somehow, I'm not sure that users will find it comforting.

Sun's Linux may be "better", but it's not Linux. Remember the fuss that Sun kicked up in the courts a few years back? When Microsoft tried to make Java better, by adding Windows and Visual basic extensions? I think Linux users will be distrustful of Sun's improvements which are designed to make applications less portable, unless you want to port over to Solaris. They've already been there with AIX and HP-UX. No thanks.

From the outside world, Sun's x86 Linux strategy today looks very similar to IBM's OS/2 strategy in the mid 1990's. Sun would have done better launching these products a few years ago when its marketing power carried more weight in the wider computer community. I suspect that most users would feel more comfortable buying a no-name brand PC installed with Red Hat Linux than a Sun LX50. A Linux box from Dell will cost less and scale upwards from day one. Or maybe I'm wrong and should stick to talking about hardware...

Readers who want to contribute their views to an expanded version of this article can email me upto August 30.

SPARC Product Directory

TMC-The Mate Company
TMC-The Mate Company, with headquarters in Glendale, California, manufactures an extensive range of cables, adapters, converters and terminators for fibre-channel and SCSI. TMC's customers include end-users and OEMs.
COSTA MESA, Calif. - August 12, 2002 – CMS Peripherals today announced the new ABSplus previewed at Macworld Expo in New York is available immediately, starting at $299, from all major distributors, Apple resellers, corporate resellers and directly from CMS. The new, easy-to-use ABSplus is the first ever backup solution and restoration/recovery system for Mac OS X with complete system bootability.

"Even if you don't know a gigabyte from a horse bite, the CMS ABSplus is so easy to set up and use, even your grandmother could do it," explained Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus. "And once it's up and running, she doesn't have to do a thing -- the intelligent hardware and software do the work for her."

"The ability to boot into Mac OS X from an ABSplus backup opens up a wealth of possibilities, including recovering from any kind of disaster instantly," said Ken Burke, president of CMS Peripherals. "Since files are archived in native file format you can access your entire system immediately. The new svelte design compliments the ease of use for which ABSplus is known, and the shock mounting can withstand even the most rugged travel conditions."

The new ABSplus provides a native file format backup allowing the user to boot straight into an exact copy of their system on Mac OS X by simply plugging their ABSplus unit into the FireWire port, holding down the option key and starting the machine. ...CMS Peripherals profile

Hopkinton, Mass.- August 12, 2002 - EMC Corporation today announced major new performance and business continuity software solutions for the EMC CLARiiON line of storage systems. As businesses and governments intensify their focus on uninterrupted information access, the new IP connectivity for EMC MirrorView software and addition of EMC PowerPath software support for CLARiiON bring advanced features of extended-distance and lower-cost remote replication, and intelligent path management to CLARiiON users.

David Donatelli, EMC's Executive Vice President of Storage Platform Operations, said, "Every customer—without exception—is demanding near-instant recovery after an outage, zero data loss and rapid resumption of operations. Solutions like MirrorView over IP apply EMC's depth of knowledge in IP-based storage replication to enable the secure, automatic, wide-area mirroring of critical information between any combination of CLARiiON CX600 and CLARiiON FC4700 storage systems." ...EMC profile

Mountain View, CA - August 12, 2002 - The SNIA today announced the launch of the SNIA Storage Management Initiative (SMI), an organization-wide program to develop, standardize, and drive the adoption of open storage management interfaces. This initiative, based on the Bluefin draft specification recently submitted to the SNIA, will ultimately solve one of the storage industry's most challenging issues: management interoperability. The initiative will strive to meet today's customer needs for more easily managed multi-vendor storage networks and the ability to maximize valuable IT budgets. The SMI's goal is to generate management standards and to create an open storage management interface built upon the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF)'s Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) architecture and the Common Information Model (CIM). Following the completion of a formal review of the specification, the SNIA officially adopted Bluefin and created the SMI, allowing the integration of Bluefin with the organization's previous technical work on storage management. The SNIA plans to develop and promote the use of the standard; goals for the initiative include:
  • · Restructure the SNIA organization to support technical development, education, and marketing for the standard and seek accreditation as a standards body
  • Develop a plan and schedule for advancing the Bluefin specification into a full storage management interface standard
  • Provide training for developers
  • Stage plugfests and interoperability demonstrations
  • Develop an SMI conformance test suite as part of the SNIA Interoperability Conformance Testing Program.
  • Drive the creation of OpenSource to support vendor implementation
"The SNIA recognizes customer concerns and demands for a more efficient storage networking solution and is dedicating its efforts to making a truly open, interoperable storage network a reality," said Brad Stamas, SNIA chairman. "The standards created by the Storage Management Initiative will alleviate the complexities that daunt many IT professionals and also increase the value and efficiency of vendors' hardware and software storage solutions." ...SNIA profile

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. - 12 August 2002 - IBM is the first to ship Seagate's 15K RPM Ultra320 SCSI Cheetah disc drives in a RAID solution with its eServer xSeries enterprise server line. Use of Seagate's 15K RPM Cheetahs enables IBM to reap the benefits of the highest transaction processing performance available along with field-proven reliability, which can effectively reduce an IT manager's total cost of ownership. The need for increased I/O performance along with worry-free reliability in today's enterprise servers has made Seagate's 15K RPM Cheetah disc drives the most successful and widely adopted family of 15K RPM drives ever produced. IBM's eServer xSeries enterprise servers with Seagate Ultra320 SCSI disc drives allow wider signal bandwidth and greater data integrity, as well as fulfilling the added requirement to provide more storage scalability - doubling what was available in previous generation solutions.

"IBM's xSeries customers require systems with the storage capacity, performance, and reliability that can support mission-critical and I/O-intensive environments," said Jeff Benck, Director of WW Product Marketing for xSeries Servers at IBM. "With Ultra320 SCSI technology from Seagate, we are now providing our customers with storage bandwidth and scalability never before offered." ...Seagate profile

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.-­ August 12, 2002 - DinoStor today unveiled the DinoStor TapeServer, a network backup appliance that allows a single automated tape library to be easily shared across an existing Ethernet network. Now multiple Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP)-compliant NAS servers, application servers and mail servers can share a single library, reducing the cost and complexity, while improving performance and reliability of network backup operations. DinoStor TapeServer is a simple-to-install, easy-to-manage network backup appliance that provides standards-based, vendor- and platform-independent library sharing without the management problems, performance degradation and vendor lock-in inherent in alternative proprietary library sharing designs. DinoStor TapeServer is the only library sharing solution that gives customers complete investment protection of their existing tape library and network infrastructures.

Unlike competitive sharing alternatives, DinoStor TapeServer allows customers to use their existing libraries, instead of purchasing a completely new "network enabled" library or making extensive and expensive modifications to proprietary library designs in order to implement library sharing. Instead, the DinoStor TapeServer is fully compatible with all standard SCSI tape products, such as libraries from ADIC, Compaq, HP, IBM, Overland, Qualstar, Quantum, Sony and StorageTek. It works seamlessly with the leading NDMP hardware and backup software, such as products from Computer Associates, EMC, HDS, HP, Legato, Network Appliance, Syncsort, Tivoli, or Veritas.

DinoStor TapeServers allow organizations to preserve their existing IT infrastructure by enabling library sharing over Ethernet networks (including Gigabit Ethernet), producing Fibre Channel-like speed without the expense and difficulty of deploying back-end Fibre Channel SAN. The simple plug-and-play installation process only requires the attachment of a network Ethernet connection to either the 10/100 or 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet port, and connecting a tape library to one of the two available Ultra160 SCSI ports.

DinoStor TapeServer supercharges network backup performance, allowing tape libraries to operate at the maximum potential possible with Gigabit Ethernet. A single TapeServer can stream data at 110 MB per second, unleashing the performance potential of high-performance LTO, SDLT and AIT-based libraries. For maximum throughput, three DinoStor TapeServers, taking just 5.25 inches of rack space, will back up more than one terabyte per hour. The DinoStor TapeServer has an MSRP of $9,995 and is now available through reseller and OEM channels. ...DinoStor profile

Editor - August 12, 2002 - a new article appears on STORAGEsearch.com today called "Tuning SANs with Solid State Disks" written by Craig Harries at Imperial Technology. The benefits of using solid state disks (SSDs) in a SAN environment go well beyond speeding up a static part of your system. This article includes useful ideas about how to architect your SAN to get the best performance even if you're not currently using SSDs. ...Imperial Technology profile

San Francisco - August 8th, 2002 - The FCIA announced today that it successfully completed the latest in a series of open-industry 'plugfests' designed to test the interoperability of Fibre Channel products connected to form a fabric. This Plugfest, more formally called a large group test period, was held at the University of New Hampshire with twelve participating hardware and software companies. The focus of this event was to test interoperability of 1 and 2 Gigabit devices across a fabric and test remote back-up across Fibre Channel. Management applications also underwent rigorous testing. The plugfest team reported seeing few interoperability issues at the physical layer of Fibre Channel.

According to Ed von Adlung, FCIA president, "The improved interoperability that was seen at this plugfest is very exciting. We saw several switch vendors come together to build a fabric characterized by 1 and 2 Gigabit interoperability that was very solid, as well as great progress made on different storage management applications." ...FCIA profile

COSTA MESA, Calif., - August 8, 2002 - Emulex Corporation (NYSE:ELX) today announced results for its fourth fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2002. Revenues grew to $70.2 million, up 20% from the $58.4 million reported for the same quarter a year ago, and up 1% sequentially from the March 2002 quarter. For the fourth fiscal quarter, on a GAAP basis Emulex reported a net loss of $11.4 million, or $0.14 per share, compared with a net loss of $31.3 million, or $0.38 per share for the prior year's period. Amortization of deferred compensation, goodwill and other intangibles, amounted to $39.0 million, net of tax, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2002, primarily associated with the acquisition of Giganet, Inc., an early-stage company specializing in IP storage networking solutions, which was completed on March 1, 2001.

Due to a shift in Emulex's FICON-related storage and mainframe connectivity products from HBAs to chip solutions, on a sequential basis Emulex's fourth quarter Fibre Channel revenue held level, even as combined unit shipments of HBAs and ASICs grew 13% over the third quarter. Emulex continued to lead the transition to next-generation storage networking technologies, as sales of Emulex's market-leading 2 Gbps Fibre Channel HBAs grew 27% sequentially, rising to more than 60% of Fibre Channel revenue in the fourth quarter, up from 48% in the third quarter. During the fourth quarter, both IDC and Gartner Dataquest published new industry research verifying that Emulex extended its leading position in the Fibre Channel HBA market during calendar 2001.

For the year ended June 30, 2002, revenues grew 4% to a record $255 million, compared to the $245 million reported a year ago. ...Emulex profile

Editor's comments:- I must admit that I've had difficulty in the past understanding how Emulex has failed to make a profit in recent years despite periods of good revenue growth. That mystery is explained in today's annual report. One big factor was they seriously misjudged the speed of customer take-up for new 2Gbps and consequently had a large obsolete inventory of 1Gbps products. My guess is that Emulex may spend more on market research this year, and then maybe we'll see some much better bottom line results next year since there's clearly strong demand for their products.

Sunnyvale, Calif. - August 8, 2002 - Fujitsu Softek today announced the promotion of Scott Kennedy to company officer and vice president of strategic business development. He will report directly to Fujitsu Softek President and CEO Steven F.X. Murphy. In this newly created position, Kennedy is charged with implementing and coordinating Fujitsu Softek's multi-department strategic initiatives with the Fujitsu® group worldwide. Here, he will increase his efforts on the integration and market success of Fujitsu Softek's newly acquired products and continue his focus expanding the company's reach with targeted emerging technology companies in the storage industry.

"Scott is one of the key foundation builders of Fujitsu Softek and has played an instrumental role in realizing the Fujitsu Softek vision," said Murphy. "His extensive experience and passion for Softek technologies will allow us to further develop new and innovative partnerships to deliver best-of-breed storage management solutions."

Recently, Kennedy played a key role in the acquisition of Vixel's SAN Management software and DataCore's virtualization source code. These two acquisitions were key to Fujitsu Softek becoming the first company to supply a comprehensive suite of storage management software that is hardware-vendor and OS-platform independent. Kennedy joined Fujitsu Softek after 15 years at Amdahl Corporation, where he is credited with the launch of Softek TDMF™ software, the most successful vendor-independent data migration product in the industry, which proved to be a $100 million product with more than 400 customers worldwide. ...Fujitsu Software Technology profile

See also:- Acquired companies

Sunnyvale, Calif. and Munich, Germany – August 8, 2002 – Actel Corp. and Infineon Technologies AG today announced that they have entered into a cooperation to develop flash memory field-programmable gate array (FPGA) solutions for production in 0.13-micron chip processes. Building on Actel's flash-based ProASIC FPGA family and Infineon's process technology and manufacturing expertise, the development program will extend the capability of flash-based FPGA technology in both current and new ASIC alternative market segments, such as smart cards, automotive, industrial controls and mobile communications applications. ...Infineon Technologies profile

Editor - August 8, 2002 - SPARC portables have become very desirable items, as shown up in our recent Top #10 SPARC Systems Companies article. They use processor chips from Sun Microsystems and run the native Solaris operating system.

This week Sterling Heights, Michigan based Rave Computer started a promotion which gives away a free 400MHz Sun UltraSPARC-IIe laptop from Naturetech, to customers who buy a 1.5TB InfiniSAN rackmount storage system before September 30th. ...Rave Computer profile

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