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Storage news - 2002, September week 5

. Megabyte's selection of storage news
Megabyte loved reading news
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the Fastest SSDs
How Solid is Hard Disk's Future?
the Top 10 Solid State Disk OEMs
the Solid State Disks Buyers Guide
a Short History of Disk to Disk Backup
the Fastest Growing Storage Companies
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Who's Eating Whom in the Storage Market?
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LOUISVILLE, Colo. – September 30, 2002 - StorageTek today announced limited availability of the T9940B tape drive which it claims is the fastest, highest-capacity tape drive in the data storage industry. Delivering 30 MB/second native data transfer (up to 252 GB/Hour, compressed) and 200GB (native) /cartridge capacity, the StorageTek T9940B is designed for 70% tape motion duty cycles - as close to 7x24 operation as you can get. It also offers the lowest cost per gigabyte stored at $0.47 per GB, list price. For archiving business records the T9940B features StorageTek's proprietary VolSafe™ advanced WORM technology supports today's stringent electronic data storage regulatory mandates, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's "non-erasable and non-rewritable" requirements.

"StorageTek's T9840/T9940 family of tape products has become a de facto industry standard and has propelled StorageTek into the market lead position in this sector. StorageTek continues to drive innovation with the new T9940B and extends its technology leadership and market position," said Bob Abraham, Freeman Reports president.

The T9940B tape drive will be generally available worldwide in November. The native 2Gb Fibre Channel interface drive has a U.S. list price of $39,500. ...StorageTek profile


Redmond, WA - September 30, 2002 - ADIC today announced new high-performance features in the latest version of its StorNext Management Suite (SNMS) data management software for SANs. The new features will give IT departments guaranteed service levels for selected applications, as well as expanding supported media environments to include additional high performance, enterprise-class tape technologies. The new SNMS 2.1 includes an expansion of its Quality-of-Service policies that allow end users to select specific applications for priority bandwidth allocation and to guarantee that they will always use the most direct route to data stored on Fibre Channel disk. These features ensure that critical applications are always provided the bandwidth they need for optimal performance no matter what other applications are contending for disk-based data.

"We believe that SNMS is the first data management software that provides simple policies to guarantee priority bandwidth for specific applications and their primary, disk-based data," said Paul Rutherford, ADIC Vice President of Software Technology. "It is another feature that makes SNMS a clearly differentiated choice for a broad range of systems that need to handle large data volumes in performance-sensitive, collaborative SAN environments."

The SNMS 2.1 release also increases its support for near-line storage to include 9840 and 9940 enterprise tape drives and tape libraries from StorageTek, as well the new high-capacity, high-performance Sony AIT-3 tape drives. Also included is support for Sony's AIT WORM technology, which enables high security storage of digital information on magnetic tape. ...ADIC profile


SAN JOSE, Calif. - September 30, 2002 - IBM today introduced the world's fastest desktop hard disk drive with IBM-exclusive technology called "tag 'n seek" for its childlike simplicity. Known technically as tagged command queuing, "tag 'n seek" technology enables the new IBM Deskstar 180GXP to perform nearly 25% faster than its predecessor and widen the Deskstar performance gap over competitors by up to 20%. IBM begins shipping the Deskstar 180GXP in volume today. The new 180GXP is a 7200 RPM drive and features a fourfold increase in cache size - up to 8 MB - for increased data throughput and user productivity. It has a maximum capacity of 180 GB and offers customers a broad range of options at 30, 40, 60, 80, 120 and 180 GB.

IBM's performance-enhancing technology - "tag 'n seek" - is a method of controlling commands sent from the host processor to the hard drive, enabling faster application activities for the end user. "Tag 'n seek" tags each command that arrives at the drive's buffer with an identifier, then reorders and processes the commands in the most efficient manner. This enables commands to be more quickly processed, minimizing seek time and freeing the host processor to handle other critical activities.

IBM's focus in advancing performance is based on the belief that speed is becoming the key metric for technology leadership in desktop hard drives. While areal density advancements have enabled hard drive capacities to increase 100% each year, performance improvements have lagged at just 10% a year. IBM's "tag 'n seek" technology is a key performance-enhancing technology that will help close the technology gap between capacity and performance. ...IBM profile


COSTA MESA, Calif. - September 30, 2002 - Emulex Corporation announced today the appointment of Marshall Lee to executive vice president of Engineering, reporting to the company's president and chief operating officer, Kirk Roller. In this position, Mr. Lee is responsible for all Fibre Channel and IP storage engineering operations, and will serve as the primary liaison between the engineering teams and senior-level executives at the company. Ron Quagliara, CTO of Emulex, will continue to focus on strategic technology initiatives and reports to Paul Folino, Emulex Chairman and CEO.

Prior to joining Emulex, Mr. Lee was vice president of Engineering at Quantum Corporation, a leading disk drive manufacturer. Mr. Lee held numerous senior management positions during his six years at Quantum, managing a wide range of ASIC, hardware and software development teams. Prior to joining Quantum, Mr. Lee held senior engineering management positions at IBM, Maxtor, and Western Digital. Mr. Lee has more than 25 years' experience in the technology industry and holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California. ...Emulex profile


WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. - September 30, 2002 - Nexsan Technologies today announced unprecedented performance benchmark results for the Nexsan ATAboy2 RAID storage system when using IBM's high-performance Deskstar hard drives. With the IBM Deskstar, Nexsan is able to deliver performance results approaching that of many SCSI and Fibre Channel RAID products, providing the speed and data availability required for storage-intensive applications such as graphic design, animation, special effects, video security, document imaging, database support and data backup.

Using the high-performance IBM Deskstar 120GXP, Nexsan's new ATAboy2 disk-based technology achieves more than twice the data storage density of traditional enterprise configurations at about one-third the price. Nexsan storage systems can reach 170 megabytes per second read throughput with the IBM Deskstar - a significant performance advantage for users working with data streaming applications such as audio/video recording and editing or accessing data from a remote server.

"A storage system's speed and fault tolerance are directly dependent on the quality of the hard disk drive," said Diamond Lauffin, Nexsan senior executive vice president. "Drawing upon the high performance and large capacity of IBM's Deskstar 120GXP hard drive to support our high-end RAID applications, Nexsan is able to consistently deliver record performance results to meet the needs of our clients. We expect our current volume shipment of Deskstar hard drives to more than double with the incorporation of IBM's newest 180GXP drives."

Announced separately today, IBM's new Deskstar 180GXP provides storage solutions companies like Nexsan 50% more capacity and up to a 20% improvement in hard drive performance from previous generations. Nexsan selected the IBM Deskstar over competing ATA hard disk drive suppliers for its high capacity and stable and efficient implementation of tagged command queuing - a technology that significantly enhances performance by abbreviating the amount of time queued data waits to be accessed. Nexsan found the Deskstar with tagged command queuing technology consistently performs 15% faster than competitive drives. ...Nexsan Technologies profile

Editor's comments:- this press release indicates a significant shift of emphasis by Nexsan in its positioning of the ATAboy2 RAID products, which are distributed in the US by Rave Computer. Previously Nexsan positioned the product as offering a low cost per megabyte system suitable for disk to disk backup in competition with tape libraries. For those applications the RAID performance while adequate, was not stellar compared to other RAID systems, and did not need to be. The company is now signalling that with the new generation of ATA drives it is a contender for traditional high performance RAID applications too.



IRVINE, Calif. - September 30, 2002 - Toshiba's Storage Device Division (SDD) today announced two new combination drives that deliver DVD/CD recordability to notebook and desktop computers. Based on the DVD-R/RW format, Toshiba's combination drives support the most widely compatible DVD standard, giving consumers the highest level of compatibility with legacy DVD devices. Toshiba's SD-R6012 slim combination drive - the industry's first DVD/CD recordable drive for mobile computers - allows PC manufacturers to deliver unprecedented functionality to mobile computer users, providing both DVD and CD read and write capabilities. Until now, only desktop computers have had the luxury of DVD recordability for applications such as audio/video editing and personal digital compilations. The SD-R6012 slim drive supports writing DVD-R/RW at 1X, writing CD-R/RW at 16x/10x, and reads 8X DVD and 24X CD.

"Consumers are looking to create, edit, and burn both work-related and personal digital productions - on the fly and on the go," said Maciek Brzeski, vice president of marketing at Toshiba SDD. "Our new lightweight combination drive brings DVD recording to the mobile world, providing users with a stepping stone to move from CD to DVD technology for creating and storing family photos, files, videos and other memories people don't want to lose." ...Toshiba profile


Hopkinton, Mass. and Redwood Shores, Calif. - September 30, 2002 - EMC Corporation and Oracle Corporation today announced the opening of the Oracle and EMC Joint Service Center (JSC), delivering both deeper service support and quicker problem resolution for their shared customers. Staffed by service engineers from both companies, the Oracle and EMC JSC, located in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, simulates the many diverse networked storage environments customers are using today to support their Oracle-based applications. The Oracle and EMC JSC will provide proactive and reactive support and services including advanced collaborative analysis and issue resolution for the two companies' 20,000+ mutual installations throughout the world. The JSC will focus on helping customers simplify the complex operational issues surrounding management and maintenance of enterprise applications built on the Oracle database and EMC networked storage. ...EMC profile, ...Oracle profile


SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. - September 30, 2002 - Seagate's new class of consumer-friendly hard drives are now available at Best Buy, North America's number-one consumer-electronics retailer. Seagate's retail hard drives feature a new level of consumer-friendly capabilities - they are better protected, and easier to install and maintain than any other retail hard drive. With Seagate's fast 7,200-rpm performance and capacities of 40, 60 and 80 GB, consumers also get the best combination of innovation, performance, reliability and the quietest operation of any PC hard drive. Best Buy is the first national retailer to carry the new Seagate hard drives.

"We've made our disc drives easier to install and use," said Brian Dexheimer, Seagate executive vice president of Worldwide Sales, Marketing and Customer Service. "Seagate's hard drive kit is the only one that includes individually customized installation software and a video tutorial, comprehensive diagnostic software to find and correct PC errors, a protective package that resists 1,000 Gs of shock, and a PCB cover on the drive to prevent accidental damage to sensitive components." ...Seagate profile
Other news on this page

StorageTek Unveils Fastest, Highest Capacity Tape Drive

ADIC announces SNMS 2.1

IBM's New Deskstar Hard Drive

Emulex Appoints New Executive Vice President of Engineering

Nexsans Break Performance Records with IBM Desktop Hard Drive

Toshiba Introduces First Mobile PC Drive With Both DVD and CD Recording

Oracle and EMC Open Joint Service Center

Hard Drives Now Available at Best Buy

earlier news (archive)
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Test equipment & software
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Megabyte liked to keep his systems in peak condition.
Nibble Re:

Storage Software Industry Still Using 1970s Control Theory

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 disclosure at the SunNetwork Conference in September that its next SPARC processor, due to be shipping in systems by January, 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
Beatty and Company Computing
Beatty and Company Computing Inc., based in San Diego Calif., designs and develops enterprise-class storage solutions capable of utilizing all common storage architectures including SAN and NAS.
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