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storage news - 2002, October 1-4

Overland reports revenue down

SAN DIEGO - October 4, 2002 - Overland Storage, Inc. (Nasdaq: OVRL) today announced that revenues for its first fiscal quarter ended Sept. 30, 2002 are expected to be approximately $34.0 million, lower than previously anticipated.

Christopher Calisi, president and CEO of Overland Storage, explained - "As we have previously discussed, our largest OEM customer is undergoing a transition that, as expected, has impacted sales. Although we are disappointed with our revenues for the quarter, we are confident about the outlook for the second half of our fiscal year. We have been told by our largest customer that their supply of a predecessor product is being exhausted faster than expected and that many of their transitional issues should be resolved by the end of calendar 2002. Internally, we have taken steps to constrain expenses in our December 2002 quarter while preserving our ability to respond to higher levels of business in 2003. Additionally, sales through our branded channel continue at record levels, and the product launch for our newest OEM customer is tracking to schedule, with a strong backlog of initial orders. We have posted the first sales in our new software business..." ...Overland Storage profile

IT spending environment continues to be brutal - says EMC's CEO

Hopkinton, Mass.- October 3, 2002 - EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC) today announced preliminary revenue and earnings per share for the third quarter of 2002, which ended September 30, 2002.

EMC expects to report total revenue of approximately $1.25 billion, and a loss of $0.02 per share for the third quarter. This expected loss in the third quarter compares with a loss of $0.01 per share in the second quarter of 2002, with both periods presented before the benefit of any special items. EMC plans to announce complete third-quarter results on the morning of Thursday, October 17, 2002.

EMC made continued progress during the third quarter in its cost reduction efforts. The balance sheet continued to strengthen, and cash and investments grew by more than $100 million during the quarter. However, as a result of the continued weak outlook in IT spending, EMC will initiate further cost structure adjustments, including a reduction of approximately 7% in the company's workforce. This will bring the total EMC workforce to about 17,000 employees. In light of these developments, it does not appear likely that EMC will achieve its previously stated goal of reaching profitability for the second half of the year.

Joe Tucci, EMC's President and CEO, said, "The IT spending environment continues to be brutal. In fact, it got even worse at the very end of the quarter. Our third quarter was on track until late September. The harsh reality of reduced budgets and the uncertainty of the economic and geopolitical climate are weighing heavily on business confidence, causing key projects and the corresponding IT spend to be delayed. We saw no significant change in the competitive environment during the quarter. We don't know when IT spending growth will resume, but we do know this for sure: EMC is a great company, we lead one of the best markets in IT, and our automated networked storage strategy is resonating with customers everywhere." ...EMC profile

Editor's comments:-
EMC is now running at revenues less than half its $9 Billion FY 2000 peak.

As I've said before on these pages EMC faces 2 problems:- the economic climate which affects all companies and the particular problems which face an inefficient encumbant when the competitors start flooding into a new market.

It's important to realise that each time EMC loses $100 million of revenue, that's about $80 million which is being redistributed to the hundreds of other storage companies which compete with EMC. It's not a total loss to the storage market. So you can't extrapolate from EMC's results to get a true picture of what's going on. Other companies which have targeted EMC either have a lower cost base or are deliberately waiving profit now to establish market share. The last time EMC anounced layoffs the company made pious comments about hoping to recruit those people back. I said it was bunkum then, and it looks like I was right. Users will not pay any more than they have to for storage products, software services or anything else. EMC still has a lot of fat to lose before it can get back into profit, but its brand still carries weight in the datacenter. So there will be some bounceback if the economy recovers before the memory of EMC's glory days fades.

Overland will demo SRM at UK Storage Expo 2002

UK - October 03, 2002 - Overland Storage, Inc. will be demonstrating its new SRM software at Storage Expo 2002, taking place at NEC, Birmingham UK on 17th & 18th October.

Overland SRM enables organisations to proactively manage their heterogeneous NAS and DAS environments. It provides the ability to analyse trends, take corrective action before issues arise, rapidly identify and resolve problems when they occur and optimise storage resources in a multi-vendor, heterogeneous environment. In addition to demonstrating its software, the company will be presenting its current Neo Series library range, the Neo 2000 and Neo 4000. ...Overland Storage profile, ...Storage Expo

HDS launches data integrity validator for Oracle

SANTA CLARA, California - October 3, 2002 - Hitachi Data Systems today announced that new data integrity technology for Oracle® database systems is available for Hitachi Freedom Storage™ Lightning 9900™ V Series systems.

Dubbed Hitachi Database (DB) Validator, the technology was developed to prevent corrupted data from reaching the networked storage disk system. Provided as an optional feature, DB Validator is implemented at the microchip and microcode level within Hitachi Freedom Storage Lightning 9900 V Series systems.

On the way from the application to the disk storage system, customer data flows through many software and hardware layers. Even with exhaustive testing - and extensive production use - obscure and "rare case" bugs can sometimes occur in these intermediate software and hardware layers. Such "rare case" bugs have in some cases caused corrupted data to be written to disk. When this happens, the application can be severely damaged leading to possibly lengthy downtime to recover and re-start the application. DB Validator detects such corrupted data as it arrives and rejects the operation. This prevents the application's Oracle database transaction from appearing to complete successfully, stopping corrupt data from ever being written to the disk in the first place. Without DB Validator, corrupt data would be discovered only when data is read back at a later date. This makes it very difficult or even impossible to reconstruct the original data. ...Hitachi Data Systems profile

1st 60GB, 5,400 RPM HDD in 9.5mm

IRVINE, Calif. - October 3, 2002 - Toshiba's Storage Device Division today announced the industry's first 60GB, 5,400 RPM drive in a 9.5mm form factor.

Toshiba's new 60GB (MK6022GAX) has an average seek time of 12mS contains an ATA-5 compliant interface to support high transfer rates of 100MB/second. It can withstand operational shock of up to 200G and non-operating shock of up to 800G. ...Toshiba profile

Network Appliance supports virtualization for Windows

Houston, TX and Sunnyvale, CA - October 2, 2002 - NuView, Inc. and Network Appliance today announced an OEM agreement that enables Network Appliance to offer VFM™ (Virtual File Manager) file virtualization solution, also known as StorageX, for customers working in Windows environments.

For businesses today, the new solution offers the latest in advanced virtualization and remote administration of a storage network by enabling businesses to more easily manage, consolidate, and administer their storage deployments, more efficiently protect their data resources, and realize greater returns on storage investments with fewer IT staff.

VFM enables aggregation and centralized management of networked file storage, making it possible to transparently add new storage systems without having to reconfigure client machines. This enables the storage administrator to add, move, change, and/or consolidate storage without affecting users and without having to reconfigure clients. In addition, VFM enables Windows customers to automatically failover to the backup data center without losing client access to data. This eliminates any need for client reconfiguration or network rerouting, which reduces lapse time to seconds. ...Network Appliance profile, ...NuView profile

Dell gets success in university storage

Austin, Texas - October 2, 2002 - Dell today announced a series of enterprise customer wins at higher education institutions in the United States underscoring a continuing trend of the need for greater storage of data and connectivity across campuses.

The recent wins include:
  • Case Western Reserve University installing a 5-terabyte Dell|EMC SAN valued at more than $1 million. The SAN will be used as a resource for the campus email system and a forthcoming streaming video project. The university also is consolidating applications from other existing SANs, including massive storage data files for research in areas like genomics, structural biology and visualization.
  • The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, which recently completed a storage-consolidation project. The project includes installation of a Dell|EMC FC4700 SAN valued at nearly $670,000, as well as Dell PowerEdge 2550 and PowerEdge 6450 servers. The storage area network, which also includes a Dell PowerVault tape backup unit, will provide faculty, staff and students with two-and-a-half terabytes of storage.
  • Houston Community College System (HCCS), the nation's second largest community college system. HCCS has installed Dell PowerEdge servers across all 19 locations and is currently using Dell servers and technology to educate and train more than 55,000 students in Houston and the surrounding areas. Dell systems are used for a variety of purposes including aiding instructors in the training and education of all City of Houston paramedics through HCCS' Emergency Medical Services Program.
"Higher education customers need more storage today than ever before," said Bill Rodrigues, vice president and general manager of Dell's education and healthcare sector. "They are turning to affordable, industry standard storage solutions to help them address this growing trend while managing their costs." ...Dell Computer profile

Dot Hill ships storage to Sun Microsystems

CARLSBAD, Calif. and SAN JOSE, Calif. – October 2, 2002 – Dot Hill Systems Corp. today announced it has begun volume shipments of a new line of storage systems to Sun Microsystems, Inc.

The shipments are a result of a three-year OEM partner agreement signed by the two companies in May 2002. Dot Hill expects its 2003 storage shipments to be in the range of $125 to $175 million with a large quantity of its net revenues derived from sales of the new products to Sun. Under the terms of the agreement, Dot Hill will develop, to Sun specifications, privately branded software and RAID storage systems for Sun.

These RAID systems and software address the critical workgroup market segment, are extremely rugged and have been certified to NEBS Level 3 and MIL-STD-810F standards to assure high availability. Downtime due to component failures is virtually eliminated as the compact, scalable storage systems have redundant hot-swappable field replaceable units. These products are targeted at small to medium application deployments and workgroup network infrastructure running with multiple operating environments.

"Businesses rely on their storage networks for continuous access to their information – whether it's email, a web site, or customer information. As an industry leader, Sun is known for its innovative approach to supplying the market with products that meet very stringent technological specifications," said Jim Lambert, Dot Hill's chief executive officer. "Sun chose Dot Hill because of our world-class technology and our core competency – which is in designing rugged, compact, and high availability storage products." ...Dot Hill profile, ...Sun Microsystems profile

M-Systems launches USB flash Drive patent suit

FREMONT, Calif - October 2, 2002 - M-Systems today announced that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in a United States federal District Court against JMTek LLC and a JMTek distributor, asserting that JMTek's "USB Drive" products unlawfully incorporate M-Systems' patented technology.

M-Systems is seeking damages and an injunction ordering JMTek and its distributor to stop producing and selling its USB Drive product line.

"This is only the first step in implementing our strategy to confront companies that are infringing our patents," said Dov Moran, President and CEO of M-Systems. "We want everyone to know that we will vigorously protect our intellectual property from companies that illegally use our technology. We pioneered the category of "key chain" data storage, and are determined to stay the leader by utilizing our superior functionality and performance, our high reliability, low cost structure - and by zealously guarding our intellectual property." ...JMTek profile, ...M-Systems profile

Sun StorEdge gets hot-swappable drives

AMELIA ISLAND, FL - October 2, 2002 - Sun Microsystems Inc. today announced the Sun StorEdge 3300 Series which aims to deliver enterprise features into the workgroup including features such as hot swapping, scalability from gigabytes to terabytes, and durability to meet full NEBS level 3 compliance specifications.

Available October 15th, 2002, the new storage arrays will bring added value to businesses with small to medium deployment requirements and help enable customers to do more with less.

"Sun has responded to its channel partners and customers who are demanding higher and higher levels of flexibility and availability from their storage systems," said Mark Canepa, executive vice-president of Sun Microsystems Storage. "With this announcement, Sun is meeting customer requirements for doing more in less space, paying for what they need when they need it, and having the availability of enterprise features at entry level prices. We did this with servers and now we're doing it with storage."

Because customer environments are often heterogeneous, the new Sun products support the Linux, NT and Windows 2000 operating systems, as well as Sun's own Solaris Operating Environment. ...Sun Microsystems profile

Editor's comments:-
"Windows" is a word you don't often see in a Sun press release... it represents a significant change of strategy from the Dot in dot com company. Rival storage OEM EMC claimed earlier this year that market research data from Gartner showed that Sun got less than 1% of its external RAID systems revenue from outside the captive Solaris market in 2001. That must qualify Sun as the only storage manufacturer which can't lose market share in the Wintel market in 2002.

SnapGear unaffected by Point-to-Point-Tunneling-Protocol attacks

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - October 2, 2002 - SnapGear Inc., a leading supplier of Internet security products, announced that their VPN Firewall appliances are free from issues recently discovered in Microsoft® Windows® PPTP software.

Phion Information Technologies has reported a security vulnerability in the PPTP (Point-to-Point-Tunneling-Protocol) service that ships with Windows 2000 and Windows XP. The problem is that a specially crafted PPTP packet can cause a buffer overflow and overwrite kernel memory. An immediate implication is that affected systems are vulnerable to DoS (Denial of Service) attacks, but it may also be possible to execute code of the attacker's choice which could lead to a complete system compromise.

Thomas Essebier, SnapGear Inc.'s VP of Software Engineering, said: "Snap Gear devices are not affected by this vulnerability. This problem does not represent a fundamental issue with the PPTP protocol, just the particular implementation in question. The code base for the Snap Gear PPTP server implementation is completely different from that used by Microsoft. We designed and developed our PPTP server based upon PoPToP, an open source solution that we were instrumental in creating. The open source advantage here is that thousands of eyes have already inspected this code for bugs and errors." ...Snap Gear

See also:- Security, rackmount SPARC systems, Data recovery services

Fujitsu is Sun's favorite supplier of hard drives

San Jose, CA - October 1, 2002 - Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. (FCPA) today announced it has received a "Meritorious Performance" award from Sun Microsystems, Inc. as a top supplier of hard disk drive products for Sun's enterprise storage solutions during fiscal year 2002.

The Sun Supplier Performance awards, which were announced this week, honor achievements in the areas of supplier cost effectiveness, quality, availability and technology.

Kevin Carroll, Sun Microsystems, Inc. Vice President for Supplier Management said: "Fujitsu Computer Products really came through for Sun and set itself above others in their category. The Supplier Awards are our way of publicly recognizing outstanding performance among the companies that contribute to Sun's strategies and to improving customer satisfaction." ...Fujitsu profile, ...Sun Microsystems profile

StorageTek's terabyte FC SAN system with snapshot software costs $90,000

LOUISVILLE, Colo. – October 1, 2002 - StorageTek today announced the immediate availability of the StorageTek D280, the latest offering in StorageTek's D-Series product family.

The D280 is a high-performance, open-system disk solution that gives customers the ability to grow storage at their own pace. All D-Series disk solutions are easily field upgradeable, allowing customers to maintain their original drive investment. Features include:-
  • Improved performance - over twice the performance of the current D178 D-series offering, delivering up to 772 Mbps throughput and up to 32TB of storage and 2GB of cache.
  • 2Gbps Fibre Connectivity
  • Easy Storage Management – with the D-series software suite, provides ability to manage both entry and Enterprise Disk Subsystem from a single management interface. Logical Unit Numbering (LUN) partitioning allows for maximum utilization of investment by providing ability to define multiple LUNs within each RAID group.
  • Snapshot Copy and Remote Volume Mirroring - SANtricity Storage Manager 8.3 provides centralized storage management and enables Snapshot Copy and Remote Volume Mirroring to provide IT administrators with a centralized management software platform to replicate critical data from one storage system to another. With Snapshot and RVM, customers gain a variety of logical, physical, local and remote replication choices to efficiently and utilize and protect valuable data.
The D280 disk subsystem is available October 7. Pricing starts at approximately $90,000 and includes SANtricity 8.3 software, the controller and 1 TB of capacity. ...StorageTek profile

McDATA's new 140-port Director

BROOMFIELD, Colo. - October 1, 2002 - McDATA Corporation today announced the worldwide availability of its Intrepid™ 6000 Series 140-port Director, the industry standard for building the world's largest, most scalable and reliable enterprise storage networks.

The Intrepid 6140 provides anywhere from 64 to 140 ports in four-port increments, in a compact, 12U package. The Intrepid 6140 is complementary to McDATA's widely deployed 64-port Intrepid 6064, providing Director-class connectivity attributes to larger SANs and mainframe FICON deployments requiring hundreds or even thousands of ports. The customer-driven, common architecture of the Intrepid 6140 is completely backwards compatible with McDATA's entire core-to-edge SAN product family. McDATA's Intrepid 6140 and 6064 Directors ensure the highest levels of availability on the market, exceeding 99.999% uptime or less than 5 minutes of downtime per year.

"Companies continue to look towards storage consolidation as a way to reduce infrastructure complexity. In order to support continued storage growth, however, these companies require solutions that offer greater scalability and availability," said John McArthur, group vice president for storage research at IDC. "McDATA remains the market share leader in director-class switches. The Intrepid 6140 extends McDATA's capabilities by allowing even greater levels of scalability and availability." ...McDATA profile

ATTO's 2Gbps FC HBAs validated by IBM

Amherst, NY - October 1, 2002 - ATTO Technology, Inc. announced today that the ATTO 2-Gigabit ExpressPCI FC 3300 Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapter has received ServerProven™ status from IBM, which validates its compatibility with IBM eServer xSeries systems.

The ExpressPCI FC 3300 is the first Fibre Channel host adapter to earn ServerProven status from IBM.

"Earning IBM ServerProven™ status is further testament that ATTO ExpressPCI Fibre Channel host adapters are an ideal choice for mission-critical Enterprise environments," states Sherri Robinson, ATTO's Markets manager. "As an IBM Business Partner, ATTO is committed to providing our mutual customers with world-class interoperable solutions." ...ATTO Technology profile

TrueSAN launches Cloudbreak software driven SAN

San Jose, CA - October 1, 2002 - TrueSAN Networks, Inc. today announced the release of intelligent storage software that enables organizations to fully exploit the financial and operational benefits of SANs.

TrueSAN's Cloudbreak™ software - the result of over two years of TrueSAN intellectual property development - gives enterprises the ability to leverage the flexibility and price/performance of modular storage systems and their existing IT personnel to dramatically reduce storage infrastructure costs, simplify storage management, and improve enterprise agility.

Cloudbreak is the first and only solution designed from the ground up to provide a complete set of storage and data management software - Storage Network Management, Volume Management, Storage Resource Management, and Data Protection - in one seamless offering. These individually licensed Cloudbreak Application Modules form one tightly integrated platform, streamlining administration, reducing IT training requirements, and lowering software costs. By operating in the SAN fabric with a patent-pending asymmetric, or out-of-the-datapath, virtualization architecture, Cloudbreak centralizes the end-to-end management of storage networks while maximizing scalability, reliability, and performance. With Cloudbreak, TrueSAN sets a new standard for ease-of-use that rivals the most popular desktop applications. Cloudbreak provides a remarkably intuitive and visually engaging user interface that even IT novices can understand and optimally utilize. The result: a product so simple that virtually no training is necessary - most users master Cloudbreak within 30 minutes. Businesses save time and money.

Cloudbreak has been specifically designed to support modular SAN environments based on technology from LSI Logic Storage Systems (and products from their OEM partners including IBM, StorageTek, Dell, SGI, Fujitsu Siemens, MTI, Xyratex, and Eurologic). Cloudbreak also supports the Sun T3-based storage systems. Cloudbreak integrates closely with Brocade SilkWorm™ and QLogic SANbox™ switches in addition to supporting Emulex LightPulse™ and QLogic SANblade™ host bus adapters. A comprehensive listing of Cloudbreak supported platforms is available on TrueSAN's web site at TrueSAN offers its Cloudbreak software through a network of SAN solution providers and OEM partners, which will be announced in the coming months. ...TrueSAN Networks profile

Editor's comments:-
the storage market has been slowed down by the lack of a coherent framework of software products which work across a wide range of technologies and manufacturers' products. Will Cloudbreak solve that problem? It's a start, but there's still a long way to go. In order to be really useful TrueSAN will have to persuade hundreds of storage manufacturers to subscribe to their software model, not just the handful who support it now. Industry wide support is what makes a successful operating system. The product will also need a lot more features as discussed in my leader article this week.

LSI's new storage box peaks at 148,000 IOPS

MILPITAS, Calif. - October 1, 2002 - LSI Logic Storage Systems, Inc today announced general availability of the 5884, its newest 2Gbps Fibre Channel storage controller that provides cost effective modular storage systems with industry-leading performance for both bandwidth-intensive and transaction-based applications.

The 5884 storage controller is the 5th generation Fibre Channel architecture from the company which introduced the industry's first Fibre Channel controller in 1995. Fully configured, 5884-based systems can deliver 772 MB/s, or more than 96% of the theoretical maximum bandwidth. Organizations using 5884-based storage systems for transaction-based applications, such as OLTP, databases and Microsoft Exchange, will realize greater cost savings and return on investment because they can complete more transactions in less time as a result of the 5884 controller's industry leading I/O per second (IOPS) performance. The new performance levels are enabled by integrating LSI Logic's patented multipathing architecture into a single custom ASIC, faster cache memory, and specialized I/O control processor. The 5884 achieves 148,000 IOPS from cache and 53,200 IOPS from disk in a typical dual controller system.

"LSI Logic Storage Systems set the performance standard in the initial round of SPC-1 benchmark testing conducted earlier this year," said Randy Kerns, partner, Evaluator Group. "Now they have raised the bar again with the release of the 5884 controller. We expect storage systems based on this controller to be among the fastest the industry has ever seen." ...LSI Logic Storage Systems profile

Eurologic signs oem customer for its RAID

BOXBOROUGH, MA - October 1, 2002 – Eurologic Systems today announced it has signed an agreement with SKYDATA Corporation, under which, Eurologic will supply SKYDATA with a leading edge 2Gb RAID solution to be branded as SKYDATA's new RAIDSTAR FC2 2Gb raid array.

SKYDATA Corporation is Canada's market leader in mass storage solutions. ...Eurologic Systems profile, ...SKYDATA

See also:- Sun VARs in Canada, RAID systems
The storage software market is still using ancient 1970s style manually tuned industrial control methods
by Zsolt Kerekes, editor

Why isn't the solid state disk accelerator market already a 5 to 10 billion dollar market?

I was asking myself this question the other day, prompted by Sun's recent disclosure at the SunNetwork Conference (in September 2002) that its next SPARC processor, due to be shipping in systems by January 2003, will once again be only a little bit faster, and not a LOT faster as most of their server customers would really like.

The fact is that if you've already got your main servers stuffed up with the fastest processors from Intel, Sun, HP, IBM or whoever, then installing a solid state disk accelerator in the right place can often speed up the entire storage network by 20 to 30 percent at a cost which may only be 10% or so of the server itself. So by any measure that seems like good value for money, even in today's cash strapped times. Of course solid state disk acceleration is happening here and there, but not yet on a wide scale, and it got me thinking about why.

Part of the problem is that it takes knowledge about where the bottlenecks are in your system and that can change with every new release of your application software. Although it's economic to buy the hardware side of the solid state disk accelerator solution, the soft side still relies heavily on human experts to make the speedup work. Without expert tuning you won't get the full benefit of the expensive hardware, and in a worst case scenario might not get any benefit at all.

That's a big risk for users to take. Users are cautious and will want to trial the new technology or have performance guarantees as part of their contracts.

Solid state disk manufacturers are keenly aware that the shape of their sales ramp is limited mainly by the number of their applications engineers until they can find ways to automate the tuning process of discovering what's in the users' network, modelling it and then optimising it. That got me thinking about how primitive the whole storage software market really is in comparion to where it would like users to think it is. Most storage software nowadays is designed around a control paradigm which resembles heavy industry in the 1970's.

In the 1970's petrochemical manufacturers used thousands of individual electronic controllers to automatically control the opening and shutting of valves which controlled the flow of liquids, gases, heat and other things flowing through the hundreds of miles of pipework in a typical plant. The electronic controllers were a great improvement on their pneumatic predecessors, because they could operate faster and were less liable to jam due to dust or drift due to leaks. But a typical plant still had to employ hundreds of instrument engineers and mechanical fitters to keep the control infrastructure humming, and dozens of "board men" whose job was solely to watch the thousands of meters and dials and alarms and keep an eye on fluctuations before things got too much out of hand.

In the hierarchy the process people and control engineers were the gods who, in their design of the plant and occasional tweaking, determined what type of control strategy would be used, and the quality and repeatability of the end product.

By the mid 1980's most of these heavy industries were on the second or third generation of digital controllers which not only simplified the collection and display of all this critical data, but also facilitated a new type of control strategy based on SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) systems. Eventually software would be trusted to keep an eye on things. And as the systems got more reliable, process designers realised that adaptive control systems could be entrusted to learn what was out there in the plant, measure how it responded and optimise the control over a the entire manufacturing process, not just for a single control loop.

Despite the hype put out by companies like EMC about the abilities of their storage management software we are still very far away from the ideal data storage factory control model. Virtualization is a part of the jigsaw which will eventually lead to an enterprise wide solution. But we're still very much at the level of individual loop control which the oil business was using way back in the 1970s. Your storage devices may be connected by networks but making sure that everything operates together seamlessly to deliver data quickly when people need it still requires a lot of manual intervention.

Until the storage management software you run in your orgazination is intelligent enough to learn by itself what kinds of applications you're running, and the characteristics of your different types of storage devices, your ability to make the best use out of new storage technologies will be limited by your own technical skills and the amount of work and effort you are prepared to put into solving your own performance and resource utilization problems. And having solved them once you may have to still solve them again whenever you buy some new software or hardware which changes the mix.

Adding a solid state disk accelerator or tape library to your system is easy now. You connect it to the network and click a mouse a few times. Telling it to find out what else is out there and optimise its operation chosen from some sensible defaults for that kind of a device should also be a one click process. Telling it to keep itself up to date automatically when new hardware or applications are added should be just as simple.

The challenge for the storage industry is to get out of the age of manually adjusting individual control loops and processes and use tools which are designed for operating a storage network like a data factory. When that happens the solid state disk accelerator market is going to be a 10 billion dollar market, and a lot of other things are going to be affected as well. The end point is to make all your computer assets work better for you, and to make sure that in the meantime you avoid buying products which won't fit in with the hands off storage management strategy.

See also:- SAN - software, Solid state disks
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