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storage history - 2002, February week 1a

Megabyte's selection of storage news
Megabyte loves reading storage news.
... storage history
SSD Data Recovery
flash SSD Jargon Explained
the Top 10 SSD Companies
SSD Myths and Legends - "write endurance"
the Problem with Write IOPS - in flash SSDs
an SSD view boom bust cycles in the memory market
SSD Reliability - Understanding Data Failure Modes in Large SSD Arrays
FalconStor Highlights iSCSI Connectivity At Server I/O 2002

Monterey, Calif. - February 5, 2002 - FalconStor Software, Inc. teamed up with Intel Corporation today to highlight iSCSI interoperability.

The two companies are showcasing this technology with live demonstrations presented in the Intel exhibit (#39) during the Server I/O Conference and Tradeshow in Monterey, California this week.

While many of today's iSCSI vendors are building iSCSI Initiator products (i.e. Host Bus Adaptors or HBAs) or iSCSI Target Storage devices, IPStor enables a standard server appliance to be the bridge between iSCSI, Fibre Channel, and SCSI protocols while providing network storage services including active-active failover, mirroring, replication, snapshot, fast backup and restore enablers, and a key-based authentication feature to ensure an unparalleled level of business continuity, off-site disaster recovery capability, and storage access security.

"Intel is dedicated to providing open-standard iSCSI solutions," said Blaine Kohl, marketing director of High-End Server Connections for Intel's LAN Access Division. "Intel's PRO/1000 T IP Storage Adapter working in conjunction with IPStor, provides customers the ability to implement a virtualized, scalable and cost-effective network storage."

"We are pleased to work with Intel in showing iSCSI compatibility among our products—this shows iSCSI now, as a compatible, industry standard product that's come to market," said Wayne Lam, FalconStor vice president. "FalconStor is committed to fully support iSCSI. Our ability to demonstrate today an iSCSI compliant solution with a full suite of enterprise storage services is evident of our efforts." ...FalconStor Software profile, ...Intel profile

NSI Software Marks 10th Anniversary

Hoboken, N.J. - February 05, 2002 - Despite turbulent market conditions and reduced IT spending, NSI® Software has announced multiple noteworthy milestones and achievements that exemplify its strength and leadership.

The company boasts continued revenue growth, opened a New Jersey training facility, is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and received the Dell Software and Peripherals' (S&P) 2001 "Fastest Growing Partner Award."

Demonstrating its excellent financial health, NSI® Software wrapped up 2001 with its best quarter ever, which represented 54% growth from Q3 to Q4 2001. Landing deals with five strategic partners, 15 resellers and more than 800 customers in 2001 fueled the growth and drove NSI Software to open its Hoboken, New Jersey training facility. The new training facility gives customers and partners the know-how required to ensure disaster recovery, high-availability and enhanced back-up with NSI Software's Double-Take® replication product.

"Today's market is a tough one, but NSI Software is well positioned to continue the successful execution of our business plan. Our management team has proven time-and-again their ability to adapt rapidly to market changes and our award-winning products continue to deliver real business value to companies focused on protecting revenue and customer relationships," said Don Beeler, co-founder, president and CEO of NSI Software.

With more than 20,000 licenses of its products worldwide and deployments in more than 100 Fortune 500 companies, NSI Software's replication products are in demand. At the 2002 Dell Software and Peripherals Partner Forum in Austin, TX, Dell S&P awarded NSI Software the "Fastest Growing Partner Award" for having achieved 300% growth in 2001. The award honors companies whose philosophies, products and distribution models complement Dell's. ...NSI Software profile

Editor's comment:- we'll be updating our annual "fastest growing profitable storage companies" list in April. As before, I'll be datamining our news archive and linked web sites to research this feature, so if your company is listed on STORAGEsearch, you can just sit back and relax and wait to see if you get a mention.

"Affordable SAN Initiative"

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. - Feb. 5, 2002 - Supporting its vision of a SAN in every business, QLogic Corp. along with 35 key SAN storage and software developers, today announced the Affordable SAN Initiative.

Members of the initiative intend to dispel the notion that SANs are unaffordable for small and medium businesses by redefining and promoting SAN solutions for these customers with end-user pricing of $50,000 or less, a significant reduction in the typical $250,000 entry point to enterprise-class SANs.

Affordable SAN Initiative members presently include: Acer, ADIC, ATTO, BakBone Software, BMC Software, Broadband Storage, Chaparral Network Storage, Ciprico, Computer Associates, Crossroads Systems, DataCore Software, Dot Hill, Eurologic Systems, Exabyte Corporation, FalconStor, Legato Systems, Inc., LSI Logic Storage Systems, MTI, Nexsan Technologies, Nishan Systems, nStor, Overland Data, Prisa Networks, Procom Technology, Qualstar, Quantum Corporation, Raidtec Corporation, SAN Valley Systems, Seagate Technology, Spectra Logic, StorageTek, Sun Microsystems, VERITAS Software, Vicom and Zzyzx Peripherals.

A typical SAN solution today includes the installation of one terabyte of disk storage and a tape library shared by eight servers across a redundant fabric. The cost is approximately $250,000, completely out of reach to the vast majority of small and medium businesses. The Affordable SAN Initiative breaks down this cost barrier with SAN configurations targeted at two-four node server workgroups supporting applications such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server.

In the coming months, members of the Affordable SAN Initiative will announce products that provide SAN disk storage, tape storage, information protection and availability, and storage management solutions -- all for under $50,000 MSRP.

"To date, the perception of high costs, and the fear of vendor lock-in have kept many IT departments from deploying a SAN," said Eric Sheppard, senior research analyst at IDC. "The Affordable SAN Initiative addresses both of these perceptions by helping to minimize the capital costs associated with SAN deployment while ensuring IT departments have a significant choice of products from familiar suppliers." ...QLogic profile

Editor's comments:-
competition is a great thing, and during the IT budget slowdown last year many users in medium sized enterprises, which mostly haven't yet wired up for fibre-channel, started thinking that maybe they could avoid this cost altogether and go straight to iSCSI. This marketing initiative from QLogic shows that SAN makers are willing and able to drop the entry level price for this venerable technology.

Paychex Implements Precise-WQuinn's StorageCentral

Westwood, MA. - February 5, 2002 - Precise Software Solutions has announced that Paychex, Inc. (a leading national provider of payroll, human resource, and benefits outsourcing solutions) has implemented StorageCentral SRM software to proactively control its data storage in real time, and to maintain high availability of 3.5 terabytes of mission-critical data residing on more than 100 Windows servers throughout its 100 U.S. Paychex office locations.

"Since we put StorageCentral SRM in place, we've brought the number of disruptions down to zero. Moreover, user awareness about disk hygiene has also increased. Users now understand their responsibility in staying within their space allocations, and willingly groom obsolete data to stay within that space," said Mike Austin, Systems Manager at Paychex. "Before we implemented StorageCentral SRM, our users were unaware of how much disk space they were using, and would use as much space as they could. A couple of times a month, we found ourselves in situations where users experienced trouble accessing their data. It was extremely disruptive for the users, and particularly for the systems administrators to be in this reactive, recovery mode."

Paychex uses a combination of both Windows NT and Windows 2000 Terminal Servers that not only store all of users' files, but also provide Microsoft Office applications to users from the server. This makes high availability even more critical because when a terminal server goes down, users are left with completely blank computer monitors, rendering productivity nearly impossible. Austin said he needed StorageCentral SRM to manage his resources so users couldn't jeopardize their own as well as other users' productivity by abusing disk utilization and causing a server to crash.

"Real time is absolutely important to us," Austin added. "Having a mechanism to stop a user from exceeding an allocation in real time makes the difference between being proactive and being reactive." Paychex uses StorageCentral SRM to help them manage their budget for disk space, and it sticks to that budget! "Top management was not convinced that all these people needed more and more disk space. Now they're given what they need to get their job done, based on usage patterns and our experience. If they need additional disk space, they need to supply justification, just like any other capital expense." ...Precise Software Solutions profile

LiveVault Secures $8 Million Funding

MARLBOROUGH, MASS. - February 4, 2002 - LiveVault Corporation, a leading provider of fully managed online backup and recovery services, today announced that it has secured $8 million in equity financing.

The funding was led by Matrix Partners and Atlas Venture. Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM), the leader in offsite data storage and protection and a LiveVault partner, continued its strong support of the company by participating in the financing, as did Adams Street Partners. Building on customer enthusiasm for the LiveVault Online Backup and Recovery Service, the financing will be used to both continue the enhancement of the service and accelerate its sale through LiveVault partners such as Iron Mountain and Compaq.

LiveVault also announced that Robert A. Cramer has joined the Company as president and CEO. Cramer has extensive executive management experience in fast-growth environments. Most recently, he was president and CEO of FirstSense Software, Inc. a category-leading application performance management vendor that merged with Concord Communications. Cramer has been a LiveVault board member since April 2000.

"LiveVault is ideally positioned," said Tim Barrows, general partner at Matrix Partners. "Business continuity and data protection are on every company's radar screen. LiveVault has proven to have the right solution to address this exciting market, blue-chip distribution partners and a team that knows how to execute." ...LiveVault profile

OTG Software and Network Storage Solutions

Rockville, MD - February 4, 2002 - OTG Software today announced a strategic partnership with Network Storage Solutions (NSS), a leading provider of high-performance NAS systems.

Through this partnership, NSS will offer OTG's storage management software, DiskXtender®, with its Thunderbolt line of storage solutions. DiskXtender software provides the capability to automatically and intelligently consolidate data from Windows NT/2000 or Unix network servers to NAS devices. Consolidating data helps free up network servers for application use and reduce manual management overhead. Yet, users and applications retain immediate and transparent access to the data, without requiring application modifications or administrator intervention.

"Our NAS devices represent far more powerful performance capabilities and radically lower price points per megabyte than direct-attached storage,'' said Brad Clemmons, President and CEO for NSS. ""DiskXtender software virtualizes the storage on network-enabled application servers by extending their storage transparently to NSS' Thunderbolt NAS systems, dramatically reducing storage management costs while ensuring data availability and online access" ...Network Storage Solutions profile, ...OTG Software profile

Overland - Best Hardware in Linux Environments

SAN DIEGO – February 4, 2002 – Overland Data, Inc. today announced its Neo series™ LXN2000™ tape library is the recipient of this year's Arkeia Power Award™ for departmental excellence in a Linux environment.

The award was bestowed at LinuxWorld Expo, held last week in New York City. The Arkeia Power Award, created and distributed by Knox Software Corp.®, uses objective, formula-based benchmarking analysis to determine the best price-to-performance storage hardware library in a Linux-powered storage network. With a score of 8.64, Overland turned in the highest category score of all participants.

"We are very pleased to be this year's recipient of the Arkeia Power Award," said Dave Morton, director of product management, Overland Data. "Our expandable Neo tape library provides a powerful yet easy-to-use storage solution for a wide range of mission critical data backup and restoration requirements."

The Awards were created to provide an independent, real-world objective analysis of the performance and cost comparison of the various hardware manufacturers in the storage library marketplace.

"Utilizing our own certification lab we can measure the performance of various manufacturer hardware and benchmark that performance against competing manufacturers," noted Knox Software's Jay Jason Bartlett, director of strategic relations.

"We continually receive requests from our customers asking us which library hardware we recommend. With the Arkeia Power Award we are able to objectively showcase real-world conditions that our customers would understand and allow for an informed buying decision," stated Knox Software CEO Philippe Roussel.

The Arkeia PowerAwards are delivered twice a year at the LinuxWorld Expos. Overland's award was presented at the LinuxWorld Expo in New York City on January 30th, last week. ...Knox-Software profile, ...Overland Data profile

BakBone Offers Online Backup for Oracle9i

POOLE, UK-February 4, 2002 - BakBone Software announced today the availability of its NetVault Oracle Online Application Plugin Module (APM) for Oracle9i databases.

The APM provides fast online backup for Oracle 8, 8i and now 9i databases running on UNIX, Linux, Windows NT and Windows 2000 platforms. The new module delivers a high performance backup and recovery solution that requires minimal user configuration. In addition, the Oracle Online APM software provides quick time to data by allowing databases to remain online while individual tablespaces are recovered. As always, NetVault APMs feature an easy-to-use point and click GUI.

"Oracle is the clear leader in the RDBMS market. The release of NetVault Oracle9i APM is part of our overall product strategy and underscores our commitment to providing Oracle users with the widest breadth of application and platform support available," said Sean Jackson, EMEA Marketing Manager, BakBone Software. "We are continually updating our features and performance standards as the RDBMS market grows and evolves to ensure data-specific online backup and recovery for our customers who require a 24x7 solution. As a member of the Oracle Partner Network, BakBone Software is dedicated to providing the latest in 'hot' Oracle database protection for both the legacy and newcomers to the Oracle user community."

Key Oracle9i APM Features:
  • Hot backup: User databases remain online and fully accessible during backup operations, assuring zero downtime for users.
  • Supports multiple databases servers: Displays all available databases and allows backup or restore operations to be applied to any or all-available Oracle servers.
  • Selectable database backup operations: An easy to use, point and click user interface provides precise tuning of the backup and restore sets down to the individual tablespaces, control file, multiple archive log directories, and initialisation file (including the spfile).
  • Raw tablespace support: Enables backup of raw tablespaces without any user intervention.
The Oracle9i APM is available now. Pricing is $995 on Linux and Windows NT/2000 platforms and $4,995 for UNIX. ...BakBone Software profile

Retrospect Backup Now Supports DVD+RW

ORINDA, CA - February 4, 2002 - Dantz Development Corporation today announced that Retrospect Backup software now supports PC DVD+RW drives from Ricoh and Sony.

DVD+RW is a rewritable DVD format that stores 4.7 gigabytes of computer data or more than two hours of high-quality video per rewritable disc. Owners of Ricoh and Sony DVD+RW drives may now use their devices for reliable backups with Dantz's Retrospect Backup software for Microsoft Windows.

"DVD+RW is an obvious technology for us to support with Retrospect," stated Tony Barbagallo, Dantz's vice president of marketing. "Versatility is the name of the game in consumer storage, and we expect these drives will become quite popular, thanks to their seven times CD storage capacity, video compatibility with consumer DVD players, and low media cost. Now they make excellent backup devices, too." Owners of Retrospect Backup for Windows may add DVD+RW support to their Retrospect product by downloading the latest free Retrospect Driver Update from the Dantz website. Support for DVD+RW drives is also planned for Dantz's next Macintosh release. ...Dantz Development profile, ...Ricoh profile, ...Sony profile

Incite Multimedia Corp Selects Silicon Storage Appliance

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND and LOS ANGELES – February 4, 2002 – Incite Multimedia Corporation has announced that DataDirect Networks' Silicon Storage Appliance has been chosen as their primary storage networking solution for broadcast, post and digital media installations that require access, collaboration and scalability.

Now, Incite customers will be able to easily create highly scalable, simple-to-deploy and easy-to-manage storage networks using DataDirect Silicon Storage Appliance technology to accelerate application performance, simplify information management, and lower operating costs.

The Silicon Storage Appliance serves at the core of the storage network, bringing unbeatable and guaranteed bandwidth to the production environment. With each appliance's ability to supply over 6000 hours of 50Mbit/sec MPEG2@ML content to 90 concurrent streams, the Silicon Storage Appliance brings industry leading performance and scalability benefits to broadcasting and digital production environments. DataDirect's "format independence" guarantees scaling of capacity and streams from highly-compressed all the way to HD and beyond. DataDirect Networks' Silicon Storage Appliance technology allows creative professionals to accelerate their applications, providing data at least three times faster than existing SAN solutions and ten times faster than NAS technology. The acceleration of data to applications and users - simply and easily - allows DataDirect Networks' customers to consolidate their storage; the Silicon Storage Appliance technology allows management of up to 100 Terabytes by a single system administrator, providing 10x lower TCO. ...DataDirect Networks profile, ...Incite Multimedia profile

SCSI ORGs will work on SAS

Monterey, CA. - Feb. 4, 2002 - The SCSI Trade Association (STA) and the Serial Attached SCSI Working Group today announced that STA will define the marketing requirements for the Serial Attached SCSI specification and will promote the technology to the industry.

The STA Board of Directors voted unanimously in December to bring Serial Attached SCSI into the organization and to fully support the development and promotion of the technology. Marketing and business development teams from the two groups met in Houston at the STA annual meeting on January 16 to finalize the details. The Serial Attached SCSI Working Group plans to transfer the Serial Attached SCSI specification development project to the INCITS T10 committee in May 2002, with approval to follow within 12 months. (INCITS develops ANSI standards.)

Harry Mason, President of the STA Board of Directors stated, "STA is delighted that the Serial Attached SCSI Working Group selected our organization to promote this initiative. A natural extension of STA's charter is to define a compelling roadmap for direct-attach storage interfaces. The International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) T10 committee will assume responsibility for advancing the Serial Attached SCSI specification in concert with advances in Parallel SCSI." ...STA profile

Vitesse Expands Distribution Channels in Asia-Pacific

Camarillo, CA - February 4, 2002 - Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation is pleased to announce the addition of Memec Japan K.K., part of Memec Components Group, as the newest member of its International distribution team.

Memec, a Tokyo based component distributor, joined Vitesse in January, 2002 as the newest member of a growing distribution network. Vitesse announced a similar agreement for North America in September 2001 with Nu Horizons Electronics Corporation. The agreement with Memec will simplify the customers' access to technical support, design services, and applications support through local FAEs. The addition of Memec will also shorten lead times for Japanese customers by providing a local inventory of Vitesse products.

"The combination of Memec's Sales and FAE expertise, and knowledge of the Japan customer base, makes Memec an excellent match for Vitesse", said Richard Riker, Vitesse vice president of marketing and sales. "We are very pleased to add Memec to our distribution team, and believe our customers will be equally pleased with the expanded support and attention that Memec will be able to provide as a local distributor of Vitesse products", he added. For more information on Memec Japan K.K., phone +81-3-5978-8201 ...Vitesse Semiconductor profile, Storage Resellers in Japan

London, UK / Gurnee, IL USA - February 1, 2002 - VisionTek today announced that it is expanding its operations to Europe with new offices in the United Kingdom and Germany. Leveraging the success of its top-selling Xtasy™ video cards, VisionTek is establishing new European sales and marketing headquarters in London and an operations base in Aachen, Germany. Both offices will be opened in early February 2002.

"We are delighted to bring VisionTek's best-selling graphics cards to customers throughout the European community, said John Gunn, president of VisionTek's Consumer Products Division. "Europe is truly becoming a unified market, one that presents fertile ground for growth in the consumer PC market. On the heels of reaching the No. 1 spot in U.S. retail market share, we are prepared for an aggressive push into the European market with a strong brand, exceptional products based on NVIDIA® graphics technology, and a talented regional team." ...VisionTek profile

Ideal to Distribute CA's Brightstor in UK

February 1, 2002 - Computer Associates (CA) has signed a deal with UK based Ideal Enterprise Solutions to distribute CA's entire BrightStor portfolio of enterprise storage solutions.

The new agreement means Ideal will now exclusively offer the UK reseller channel access to the full range of CA volume and enterprise products. The agreement also marks a significant change in CA's channel strategy as it has previously dealt directly with the reseller channel for its BrightStor 'Enterprise Storage Resource Management' and 'Storage Infrastructure' solutions. The partnership with Ideal Enterprise Solutions will enable CA to grow its channel to market in the enterprise storage arena, by harnessing the specialist support it offers. ...Computer Associates profile, ...Ideal profile
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Differentiating Storage Appliances with Software and Services

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor

How many different ways can you sell a box with disk drives and a bunch of interfaces?

The future of most storage manufacturers depends on answering this question.

As the storage market gets bigger and standardisation sets in, many of the industry's pioneers risk being displaced by new entrants using consumer marketing techniques to commoditise products which were once seen as being specialised solutions. As we've seen in other markets, commoditization increases the size of the market by lowering prices for end users and making solutions affordable to more people (CDs being just one example), but along the way strong competition and learning curve pricing tactics mean that few vendors will make any profit.

One doomsday scenario for the storage market is that it will segment into about a dozen companies.

In this vision there will be one major company which dominates each major segment:- portable systems, desktop, and rackmount systems. Within each segment the market leader will have a dominant market share, and their competitors will have to fight it out for small niches such as higher performance, ruggedisation, or style factors like color...

Another view is that it will be like the PC market, with thousands of small manufacturers and a handful of big ones, and almost no one making any money.

You might ask the question:- How can you differentiate a storage appliance and make your product unique? (while being compatible with every relevant standard) and at the same time persuade a customer that it's worth spending more money on your box rather than Brand X which is 10% cheaper this week?

The answer to that lies in software and customer service.

Let's fast forward to 2004.

I want to buy a home entertainment system which will replace my current household mish-mash collection of Dell PC (through which I currently watch satellite TV, videos and DVD, and which has better speakers than my so called "hi-fi"). The new system also has to replace or work with various generations of Sony gadgets and MP3 players...

I'm busy and don't have much time, so I go to the web site of the Rodent Consumer Storage Box Company which lets me select whatever movies and music I want factory preloaded onto the box when I get it.

Click - maybe individual selections from the current top 100 DVDs and CDs - or maybe just an entire group like Arnold Schwarzenneger movies since Conan The Barbarian, or just a set of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. I'm running out of space to store individual CDs and books and DVDs in my house, and one day I'd like to reclaim my garage, so if I can buy a preloaded collection at a web discounted price of 50% then I probably won't bother looking for my favourite CD in my car, or my wife's car, or the office. I'll just click to get another copy on the new system. After a few clicks on the shopping trolley, I realise that the price of the 1 terabyte home entertainment storage box is just a small part of my total order. But then I think of all the money I saved by waiting another year before buying my plasma TV monitor, and hey, the recession ended last year... so what the heck!

Now you may think this is a little far fetched. And if you're the kind of person who buys PCs today without the operating system pre-installed, then this may not be for you. But think about the advantages for the rest of us...

  • the box company gains because their adverage selling price is 2 to 3 times higher than just the hardware on its own
  • the software companies gain because selling factory installed software reduces their losses from piracy, and has very little incremental cost
  • the customer gains, because they get most of what they really need in one go, and don't need to waste any time shopping around or installing software.

The same goes for NAS, SAN and other storage systems. In fact, if your company's backup is via iSCSI - you should probably be able to buy your new storage systems with your company data and applications already preloaded...The company which lets you do that first - will have all your attention.

A future in which diverse storage companies thrive while saving their customers money is indeed possible. The lowest cost hardware box may not be the winner in this particular race, if the marketing department can get their act together in time. This may even be a a good time to talk up that dotcom experience in your resumé. And as for the terabyte storage box in the home? Well maybe 2004 is a little too early, but it's coming..

...Later:- - this article predicted the market for preloaded digital entertainment media players - which didn't actually start to emerge till about 8 years later.

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