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Storage news - 2002, January week 3a

. Megabyte's selection of storage news
10 years editing the storage news on hadn't aged Megabyte.
He looked just the same as when he started.
the Fastest SSDs
Rackmount SSD Arrays
Flash SSDs / RAM SSDs
2.5" SSD Guide / 3.5" SSD Guide
Squeak! - the Solid State Disks Buyers Guide
Squeak! - the Top 10 Solid State Disk Companies
article:- Despatches from the Magneto / Flash Wars
Squeak! - SSD Myths and Legends - "write endurance"
Squeak! - RAM SSDs versus Flash SSDs - which is Best?
click for more info
HOUSTON - January 17, 2002 - Compaq Computer Corporation surged past the rest of the enterprise storage industry in 2001, becoming the first company to ever ship more than 100 petabytes (PB) of disk storage in one year, according to IDC. According to research published recently by IDC, Compaq shipped 45 percent of the disk storage systems sold to the world's businesses in 2001.

"Compaq is the clear leader in the disk storage systems market, based upon IDC's recently released preliminary assessment of the 2001 disk storage systems market," said Charlotte Rancourt, storage systems research director at IDC. "This report forecasts that Compaq will have shipped nearly one million disk storage systems in 2001 or 45 percent of all disk storage system units. Further, IDC forecasts that Compaq will supply 26 percent of the total storage system capacity purchased by the world's businesses in 2001. With revenue estimated at $4.4 billion in 2001, IDC also predicts that Compaq will be the number one vendor in total disk storage systems revenue." ...Compaq profile, ...IDC profile

Editor's note:- in Compaq's results for the quarter ended December 31, 2001 - the company says that Enterprise Storage Group revenue was up 14 percent from a strong performance in the third quarter, with growth in all regions. However, that positive note has to be set against overall quarterly revenue which was 26 percent lower than the previous year.

ARMONK, N.Y. - January 17, 2002 - IBM today announced fourth-quarter 2001 results. Fourth-quarter 2001 net income was $2.3 billion, a 13 percent decrease from $2.7 billion in the year-earlier period. IBM's fourth-quarter 2001 revenues totaled $22.8 billion, down 11 percent (8 percent at constant currency) compared with the fourth quarter of 2000.

Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., IBM chairman and chief executive officer, said: "This was a solid finish to a demanding year. We achieved strong profitability and we continued to gain market share in high- priority segments of our software, storage and server businesses. For example, our new 'Regatta' UNIX servers, which didn't begin shipping until late in the quarter, are sold out. On a full-year basis, our mainframe revenues grew for the first time since 1989. Our services business also had over $15 billion in new signings, although many of these signings also came very late in the quarter, reflecting the tough business environment. We also once again demonstrated exceptional management of our cost and expense structure, and we ended the year with very powerful free cash flow.

"We had our share of challenges, too, but these were largely expected: slow PC sales and ongoing weakness in our OEM business. Our overall revenue decline came principally from these two units, and we've taken a number of actions to improve our long-term competitiveness in these areas. As we have demonstrated time after time, our diverse business portfolio allows us to overcome weakness in certain areas and still deliver strong results. ...IBM profile

Editor's comment:- as reported earlier, the PC market (unit shipments) declined by about 10% in 2001, and average selling prices also declined, so IBM's results were better than you might have expected. IBM's report goes on to say that revenues from IBM's high-end storage product line - Shark - grew during 2001. Interesting to see Gerstner say that mainframe sales grew. IBM's sales force were probably helped here by Sun's many reported problems which must have dented user migration plans. As the prospects for a 64 bit Intel server market have also slowed down with Dell's Q4 announced withdrawel, due to lack of software momentum, IBM's mainframe prospects look pretty good for 2002 as well.

See also:- my article:- How Sun Got Burned...

Reading, UK - January 17, 2002 - C2C Systems today announced the availability of the MaX Compression Suite for Microsoft Exchange. This new product can reduce storage and bandwidth consumption by up to 55% for organizations that rely on Microsoft Exchange as their primary messaging system. With MaX Compression already adopted by leading Fortune 100 companies, this new version is the first to include a compression server and a web based client compression for customers that access Microsoft Exchange through Outlook Web Access (OWA).

"C2C's new OWA functionality brings MaX Compression's benefits to a larger audience in organizations using MaX Compression. That can save money by reducing overall storage and backup demand." said Kevin McCuistion, Exchange Group Product Manager at Microsoft.

The innovative technology of this release includes two new offerings, MaX Compression for OWA 2000 and MaX Compression Server. MaX Compression for Outlook Web Access 2000 MaX Compression for OWA-2000 is an entirely new component for Microsoft's Outlook Web Access 2000. It offers client-side compression so that a user can receive the full benefit associated with e-mail compression.

"The software will automatically detect the OWA user and download an Active-X control, to include the user in the zipped network" says Dave Hunt, CEO at C2C. "Once installed all attachments will again be invisibly and automatically zipped, offering huge benefits to the user, no longer will they have to wait for large files to be uploaded across low-speed Internet circuits, as MaX Compression will reduce them to a fraction of their former size. When a zipped file is received it will be automatically unzipped without the user being aware".

Outlook Web Access in Exchange 2000 Server is a very different and much improved product from the Exchange 5.5 version. With the current migration to Exchange 2000 and the trends toward telecommuting and traveling employees, C2C expect the implementation of MaX Compression OWA-2000 to be significant by the summer of 2002. ...C2C Systems profile

Santa Clara, CA - January 17, 2002 - Auspex Systems, Inc. today announced the expansion of its NS3000 family of NAS servers with the release of a new fibre-based model called the NS3000XR ("Xtreme Reliability") that enhances the data protection capabilities of the entry-level NS3010. The XR model adds new features to provide additional fault tolerance for enterprises that use network servers for efficient storage and retrieval of any kind of mission-critical enterprise information.

The server achieves this additional protection by providing two independent data paths to every disk array through redundant RAID controllers and dual fibre-channel host bus adapters. If one path is blocked, the system automatically redirects a service request to the open path, ensuring that all data on all disks remains available to end users. The XR also offers an upgrade path for customers requiring a completely redundant high availability solution. A second XR server can be deployed at any time and connected to the first with Auspex's ServerGuardV software, scheduled for release this month. The resulting system will supply a "heartbeat" between servers and automatic failover in the event of a server failure.

The new redundancy features of the NS3000XR complement the fault tolerance capabilities built into the NS3010 network server introduced by Auspex last year, including dual redundant power for all components, support for any combination of RAID 0, 1 and 5 with hot spares, online RAID array expansion, and virtual partitioning capabilities. Optional software upgrades offer additional fault tolerance through automatic failover between network server connections, outbound network load balancing, high-speed LAN-free and parallel NDMP-based data backup, point-in-time snapshots that expedite backup and restore operations, and remote data replication that greatly reduces the time required to recover computing operations following a disaster.

With the addition of a third fibre-channel host bus adapter, the NS3000XR also has the ability to perform fibre-based LAN-free tape backup. Users can therefore enjoy one of the key advantages of SANs - eliminating the performance degradation that can occur when backups are performed over the LAN - while still reaping the data sharing benefits of the NAS architecture. The system's fibre-channel connectivity also marks an important step in converging NAS and SAN capabilities on the same device and thereby moving toward a storage virtualization architecture that will permit universal access to all enterprise data assets, no matter how they are housed. ...Auspex profile

SAN DIEGO - January 17, 2002 - Overland Data, Inc. (Nasdaq: OVRL) today reported revenues and net income for the second quarter and first half of fiscal 2002 that exceeded analyst estimates. Revenues for the second quarter of fiscal 2002 were a record $45.6 million, compared to $43.6 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2001. Net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2002 was $2.0 million compared to $1.8 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2001. Revenues for the six-month period ended December 31, 2001 were $85.6 million compared to revenues of $81.3 million during the same period of the prior fiscal year. Net income for the first half of fiscal 2002 amounted to $3.0 million compared to net income of $3.2 million for the corresponding period in fiscal 2001.

Christopher Calisi, President and CEO of Overland Data, said: "In this difficult economic environment, we are extremely pleased to report record financial results that exceed both our expectations for the quarter as well as the results we achieved during the more robust environment of the prior year. Our second-quarter results reflect the payoff of our focus on the mid-range tape automation market and widespread acceptance and demand for our Neo tape library systems, which are strategically positioned for a constrained economy. We introduced Neo in March 2001, and it has proved to be the most successful product launch in our company's history. In the space of three quarters, Neo sales have gone from zero to 43 percent of total revenues. Neo is considered by many to be the 'best-of-breed' in the mid-range tape storage segment based on its true modular field scalability and highly fault-tolerant design."

Mr. Calisi continued, "Late last fiscal year, we shed an under-performing line of business, restructured our company and reduced operating expenses. We then implemented a plan to reinvest some of those savings in a 75 percent expansion of our branded sales force designed to capitalize on the traction of the Neo series. We have made significant progress in this effort and the results are beginning to show. In the second quarter of fiscal 2002, sales of our branded products, excluding discontinued Tecmar products, grew by 22 percent compared to the prior year quarter. Sales to our OEM customers grew three percent during the comparable period. We expect both our domestic and international channel sales to continue to grow in coming quarters.

"Earnings are also being strengthened by license agreements for VR2, our proprietary data encoding technology. In December we announced an agreement with Quantum Corporation, bringing the total number of licensees to four. We are working closely with Quantum on its next generation tape drive development, and will be receiving engineering service revenues until shipping commences. The other licensees have either begun shipping VR2-enabled drives, or intend to begin shipping in the near future. Our VR2 portfolio has the potential to significantly improve our earnings in fiscal 2003 and beyond. "As we look into the third quarter of fiscal 2002, we expect that our revenues, although seasonally down from the second quarter, will grow 15-20 percent over the prior year's quarter... We believe that the mid-range segment will continue to experience greater growth than the tape automation sector as a whole. Overland Data is well positioned to play a major role in the protection of critical corporate data, assuring business continuity," Mr. Calisi concluded. ...Overland Data profile

IRVINE, Calif - January 16, 2002 - Toshiba Storage Device Division (SDD) today announced its newest family of 1.8-inch embedded hard disk drives (HDDs) available in 10GB and 20GB capacities. The new mini drives offer consumer electronics and PC manufacturers the right combination of high-capacity storage with a compact, lightweight footprint for design into a wide variety of mobile and handheld products that require reliable storage solutions. The tiny storage giants measure 54 mm wide and 78.5 mm deep, and weigh 51 and 62 grams respectively. Toshiba's new 10GB (MK1003GAL) and 20GB (MK2003GAH) HDDs are smaller than a credit card and lighter than a traditional pager. The low-profile, lightweight drives offer data transfer rates of 100MB/sec, providing high-speed performance for both consumer electronics devices and notebook PCs.

"Our latest 1.8-inch HDD technology is enabling some of today's most exciting, new small form factor mobile devices," said Amy Dalphy, manager, HDD business unit, Toshiba SDD. "Toshiba's 1.8-inch HDDs have the right mix of power consumption, shock tolerance and compact size for today's capacity-hungry 'biz-sumer' mobile computing and digital gadgets – such as music players, handheld PCs, PDAs, wearable computers and laptops."

Built on Toshiba's proven 2.5-inch HDD technology platform, the rugged design and reliability of Toshiba's new 1.8-inch HDDs meets today's increasingly diverse range of storage needs for a variety of new applications and environments. The drives can be easily designed and integrated into portable PCs, handheld mobile terminals, wearable computers, digital video cameras, automotive applications and audio/video players. In addition, Toshiba's 1.8-inch HDD technology enables the use of complex data, business graphics and audio/visual applications for the growing mobile market, and enables PDA manufacturers to provide substantial photo archiving capabilities in their products.

Offering the industry's highest areal density per platter in this form factor at 35.26 gigabits per square inch – and withstanding operational shock of up to 200g and non-operating shock of up to 1000g – the 20GB HDD will begin shipping in early February, while the 10GB will ship in early March. ...Toshiba profile

Boston, MA - January 16, 2002 - GlassHouse Technologies, Inc., a vendor-independent storage strategy and services firm focusing exclusively on enterprise storage, today released the details of its innovative model for data storage management, which is designed to account for overlapping interests within an organization's infrastructure, applications and storage groups. The technique is already transforming storage from a tactical IT project to a strategic business initiative within a variety of organizations in the financial services, manufacturing and healthcare/life sciences sectors, mapping storage solutions to business needs. GlassHouse offers a unique value proposition by providing end-to-end strategy and services in a vendor-neutral manner, which is driven by asset optimization as opposed to wholesale infrastructure upgrade.

Historically, storage has not been treated as a strategic business initiative, but was purchased as a component of other projects; e.g. CRM, ERP, etc. In recent years, the growth in demand for storage has culminated with accounting for the largest cost in today's IT budgets. Any element of IT costing 40-60 percent of budget is worthy of strategic focus. GlassHouse services raise awareness of the importance of storage infrastructure to growth, competitiveness and operational efficiency. GlassHouse is not a software or hardware reseller, but rather works with companies to identify best-of-breed products that comprise a complete storage solution and then provides the implementation support and on-going services necessary to ensure clients success.

"We have witnessed first-hand the increasing need for vendor-independent storage solutions that are not necessarily predicated upon the purchase of hardware or software," said Mark Shirman, President and CEO of GlassHouse. "In that spirit, we work with every client on both a strategic and an operational level to ensure that the resulting storage solution will meet ongoing business needs as well as fit with an organization's IT infrastructure and management capabilities." ...GlassHouse Technologies profile

Editor's comment:- because no single storage manufacturer or software company provides the best in class products across the whole storage technology spectrum, it's inevitable that buying all your solutions from a single vendor will give you a sub-optimal or over-priced solution. So users need to do extensive market research to see what's available, or work with storage consultants like GlassHouse, or storage focused VARs selling best of breed products, to get the best value for money.

Wilmington, MA - January 16, 2002 - The QBM Alliance, aimed at positioning Quad Band Memory technology as an industry standard announced today that Silicon Integrated Systems Corp. (SiS) has been added to the growing membership roster. QBM technology utilizes the current, low cost DDR memory devices and new, faster switching technology to deliver the highest memory bandwidth in the industry.

As part of the QBM Alliance Program, SiS, along with the other members in the Alliance, will receive sales and technical assistance as well as broad marketing support such as added Internet presence and traditional marketing and promotional activities from the Alliance founder Kentron Technologies. The Alliance program has been developed to include leading companies that provide critical DDR based system solutions such as memory controllers, system motherboards, routers, components and memory modules. Alliance members receive available resources from Kentron that includes QBM modules, simulation models, design guides, documentation, and engineering support for technology evaluation and product implementation. Through the QBM Alliance, members representing best-in-class complementary solutions to Kentron's QBM memory technology, can participate in the evaluation and implementation of products using QBM memory related technology and receive the most current updated technical design assistance.

"We are very pleased to announce that a leading core logic supplier, SiS, has joined the QBM Alliance," said Bob Goodman, CEO of Kentron Technologies. "We welcome SiS to the growing number of key memory industry players that are assisting in the development of solutions based upon the QBM technology." ...Kentron Technologies profile, ...QBM Alliance, ...Silicon Integrated Systems profile

CARLSBAD, Calif. ­ January 16, 2002 ­ Dot Hill Systems Corp. today announced that its SANnet® 7100 and 3300 series storage systems have been certified by an independent laboratory on a variety of United States Department of Defense (DOD) military ruggedization standards known as MIL-STD-810F. MIL-STD-810F focuses on environmental engineering issues and requires products to pass various laboratory tests to ensure that military equipment operates in worldwide environments. Many government agencies and prime defense contractors require the products they use to be "mil-spec" certified. To achieve MIL-STD-801F certification, products must undergo rigorous environmental testing by an independent laboratory. Dot Hill¹s SANnet systems passed the following environmental tests: altitude, high and low temperature, humidity, functional shock, salt fog, transportation vibration and watercraft and marine vehicles.

Dot Hill Chief Technology Officer Dana Kammersgard said, "We were confident that our SANnet products would pass these rigid military specifications since they are already NEBS (Network Equipment Building Systems) Level 3 certified for our telecommunications customers. Dot Hill has a reputation for providing highly reliable and survivable products and has a successful track record in a wide variety of military programs and government agencies. SANnet was designed to be both rugged and compact, two factors that are of particular importance for our military and telecommunications customers." ...Dot Hill profile

See also:- Military STORAGE

EL SEGUNDO, Calif - January 15, 2002 - Imperial Technology, Inc. today announced that Doug Keller, former VP of sales at Texas Memory Systems, has joined Imperial Technology as Senior Director, Vertical Markets.

"I am thrilled to be part of a market-leading company with clear vision and market focus," said Keller. "Imperial is known for delivering high value-add storage solutions that are specifically designed to solve customer performance problems. Imperial's impressive client list shows they have provided customers with proven performance, proven results."

"Doug will play a pivotal role in helping us increase our market presence into key vertical markets," said Robert David president and CEO of Imperial Technology. "He brings to Imperial a broad-based market knowledge including considerable experience in the government market space."

Mr. Keller has over 25 years of storage industry experience including direct sales, account management, and business development. Prior to serving as vice president of sales at Texas Memory Systems, Mr. Keller spent six years at Cray Research managing major accounts including NASA. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA from the University of Illinois. ...Imperial Technology profile, ...Texas Memory Systems profile

Boulder, CO – January 15, 2002 – Spectra Logic Corp. today announced its tech support and sales engineers are participating in the SNIA's Fibre Channel-SAN (FC-SAN) Certification Program. To date, nine Spectra Logic engineers have completed testing for levels one (Professional) and two (Practitioner) of the FC-SAN Certification Program and have received high marks by SNIA.

SNIA's vendor-independent program was created to aid enterprise-class customers in measuring a company's storage networking expertise. The goal is to accomplish storage networking open standard certifications that IT organizations can trust.

Deborah Littlefield, manager of Spectra Logic's professional services, is one of five Spectra Logic engineers to pass both one and two levels of the FC-SAN certification. "Becoming certified through the SNIA certification program allows individuals to prove their knowledge and proficiency in the storage networking arena. As an active member of the SNIA, we value its motivation to produce a standardized test that judges IT professional's storage networking knowledge. The certification really assures our customers that they are working with expert storage engineers for support and services," said Littlefield. ...SNIA profile, ...Spectra Logic profile

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. - January 15, 2002 - Supporting its vision of a SAN in every business, QLogic Corp. today introduced a silicon platform that promises to make Fibre Channel connections on servers and storage systems commonplace. With costs of under $50 per port, the QLogic ISP2312 is more affordable than adapter-based products, and with unparalleled interoperability and performance it satisfies the needs of an entire gamut of applications including subsystems, RAID devices, tape libraries, servers, workstations, SAN appliances, and host bus adapters (HBAs).

With two 2Gb Fibre Channel ports that support the 133MHz PCI-X interface built directly into the ISP2312's controller chip, the ISP2312 eliminates the need for a bridge in HBA and "Fibre Down" designs in system motherboards. This dual-port design gives system administrators the ability to run the Fibre Channel Virtual Interface (VI) protocol through one port while dedicating the other port for SCSI commands, or to tune both ports for maximum throughput performance. Using the same drivers and application program interface (API) as QLogic's previous generation ISP architecture, QLogic's new-generation products offer customers complete interoperability and seamless migration with all existing QLogic chip and HBA investments. The ISP2312 chip is able to deliver record-breaking throughput of up to 80,000 Input/Output Operations per second (IOPs). ...QLogic profile

Hoboken, New Jersey - January 15, 2002 - NSI® Software today announced it has joined EMC Corporation's E-Infostructure' Developers Program (EIDP), the most comprehensive API program in the storage industry, to enable customers to more easily build solutions based on NSI Software's Double-Take® replication software with EMC CLARiiON® information storage systems. This announcement highlights NSI Software's ability to offer customers an alternative solution that combines best-in-class, host-based replication and enterprise storage.

"We love this deal. It's great for NSI Software to be a part of EMC's supported partner program, and it shows that EMC is serious about being open. EMC knows that NSI's Double-Take® could be viewed as a competitive product, but put their money where their mouth is by partnering for the benefit of the customer," said Senior Analyst Steve Duplessie of Enterprise Storage Group.

In joining EMC's EIDP program, NSI Software is developing best practices to help eliminate interoperability risks for customers looking to combine Double-Take with EMC CLARiiON Enterprise Storage'. NSI can provide customers with a cost-effective data replication solution that can be deployed with standard WAN communication facilities. NSI Software is meeting milestones to document recommendations and best practices for replication and recovery for environments using Double-Take and CLARiiON Enterprise Storage.

"Customer demand for data protection is growing, and replication technology is attracting significant attention," said Linda Wright, senior director of EMC's E-Infostructure Developers Program. "Through the E-Infostructure Developers Program, NSI is working to help mutual customers reduce the risks associated with the integration and testing of complementary technologies."

NSI Software can provide mutual customers with a proven, affordable replication solution to integrate with EMC CLARiiON information storage systems. Double-Take combines continuous real-time data replication and automatic failover capabilities to provide host-based, enhanced backup and rapid disaster recovery. Double-Take provides many features for CLARiiON customers, including
  • Remote distance replication - over 60 km
  • Asynchronous, host-based replication
  • Replication over an existing TCP/IP network
  • Replication to an unlimited number of remote sites
  • Automatic application failover
"Cost and vendor interoperability have long been the reasons companies have not implemented complete data protection and high-availability solutions," said Bob Guilbert, vice president of marketing for NSI Software. "NSI Software is working to eliminate these concerns, so customers can deploy scalable, cost-effective solutions required to protect their valuable information in this volatile business environment." ...EMC profile, ...NSI Software profile
Other news on this page

The World's Business Runs on Compaq Storage

IBM Announces Fourth-Quarter 2001 Results

C2C Systems introduces new E-mail compression suite - can reduce Microsoft Exchange 2000 storage demand by 55%

Auspex Releases 'Xtreme Reliability' Model of NS3000 Network Server Series

Overland Data Reports Record Second Quarter 2002

Toshiba Introduces World's Highest Capacity 1.8-Inch Hard Disk Drives

GlassHouse Technologies Unveils New Model for Enterprise Data Storage Assessment

Silicon Integrated Systems Joins the QBM Alliance

Dot Hill's SANnet Passes MIL-STD-810F

Former Texas Memory Systems VP of Sales Joins Imperial Technology

Spectra Logic Sales and Tech Support People Get SNIA FC-SAN Certification

QLogic Introduces Platform for SAN Market Expansion

NSI Software Joins the EMC E-Infostructure Developers Program

earlier news (archive)
SAN software
SAN - software on
Spellabyte was testing the portability aspects of his new SAN fabric product.

View from the Hill

The Next Decade in Storage

ACSL, publisher of STORAGEsearch celebrates its first 10 years of computer directory publishing in December. As editor, I thought it would be interesting to speculate about what major changes the next 5 to 10 years might bring. We'll be returning to these and other subjects in much more detail in future articles.

Who will dominate the storage market?

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

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

It's clear that even at this early stage of the new storage market that users regard network storage as a commodity, and don't see why they should pay a premium price to anyone for a box of disks with some network ports. Storage will end up looking much more like the PC market, in which there are thousands of manufacturers. It will be difficult for a single storage company to capture even as much as 10% of a market which will be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. No single company will dominate the market.

The end of operating systems?

The increasing use of data network technologies like XML and storage virtualization software in new business applications software will reduce the role of the operating system in the computer market from the primary buying criterion, which it is today, down to a secondary minor role. When you can do pretty much the same things with your data whether your OS was written in Seattle or California, or as an Open Source project, the OS is going to become as irrelevant to most users as the source of their gas or electricity is today. It's only the computer appliance manufacturers who will interface at this level.

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

The end of tape backup?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overland Data
Overland Data Inc. is a global supplier of innovative data storage and storage automation solutions for computer networks.

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