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storage news - 2005, April week 3

Megabyte's selection of storage news
Megabyte loves reading storage news.
... the SSD Buyers Guide
After SSDs... What Next?
flash SSD Jargon Explained
the Top 10 SSD Companies
Reaching for the petabyte SSD
Data Integrity Challenges in flash SSD Design
SSD Myths and Legends - "write endurance"
the Problem with Write IOPS - in flash SSDs
Clarifying SSD Pricing - where does all the money go?
Samsung & Microsoft Demo Hybrid Hard Drive

SEOUL, Korea - April 21, 2005 - Samsung today announced that its OneNAND Flash memory has been incorporated into the design of Microsoft's prototype Hybrid Hard Drive, the first fully functional disk drive to combine NAND-based Flash with rotating storage media.

The hybrid drive, designed to work with the next version of the Windows operating system is being exhibited for the first time at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Seattle. The hybrid hard drive will eliminate costly inefficiencies caused by the need for the hard disk drive to continue to spin whenever the computer is on. While the cost of hybrid disk drives may slightly increase with the addition of OneNAND, any increase will be mitigated by several factors, including lower maintenance costs, 95% power savings when the disk is not spinning, faster boot time and substantially increased reliability. ...Samsung profile

WD Reduces Dependence on Desktop PCs

LAKE FOREST, Calif. - April 21, 2005 - Western Digital Corp. today reported revenue of $920 million on shipments of approximately 15.3 million units, and net income of $70.8 million for its third fiscal quarter ended April 1st.

These results represented strong year-over-year performance, including 23% growth in revenue compared to the year ago period and 48% growth in net income. WD indicated that 23% of its Q3 revenue was derived from non-desktop PC sources including consumer electronics, enterprise applications, notebook PCs and retail sales. 77% of the company's Q3 revenue came from hard drives configured into desktop PCs. This compares with a mix in the year-ago quarter of 14% non-desktop PC revenue, 86% desktop PC revenue. ...Western Digital profile

Editor's comments:- this has been a good quarter for leading hard disk makers. A few days ago Seagate reported $1.97 billion revenue - an increase of 42%.

Silicon Image's Web Server Disk Full Error

SUNNYVALE, Calif. - April 21, 2005 - Silicon Image, Inc. today announced the appointment of Darrel Slack to the position of chief financial officer.

Reporting to Silicon Image President and CEO Steve Tirado, Slack will be responsible for the company's finance, accounting, investor relations and information systems/information technology and facilities activities. Speaking on his new appointment, Slack stated, "I am excited about joining Silicon Image and contributing to the implementation of its secure digital content delivery strategy. I believe this strategy positions us for future growth and profitability." ...Silicon Image profile

Editor's comments:-
when I clicked on the link above to see the detailed press release on Silicon Image's web site - I saw an interesting error message - "Server Error - There is not enough space on the disk." It's the first time I've seen a disk space error message on the web site of a storage technology company. Maybe they might have fixed it by the time you read this. Or maybe not.

Emulex Reports 4% Growth

COSTA MESA, Calif. - April 21, 2005 - Emulex Corp today announced results for its third fiscal quarter ended March 27, 2005.

Third quarter revenues, essentially all of which were comprised of Fibre Channel products, rose 12% sequentially from the second fiscal quarter and 4% from a year ago to a record $102.6 million. Emulex's InSpeed storage switching solutions continued to gain momentum in the market as the company expanded its installed base to 5 million ports, up from 4 million ports at the end of the second quarter, complementing its installed base of nearly 2 million Emulex HBAs. ...Emulex profile

AppIQ Leads SNIA-Conformance

BURLINGTON, MA - April 20, 2005 - AppIQ, Inc. today announced that its software outscored all other solutions in the first SNIA Conformance Testing Program for storage management applications.

The SNIA-CTP testing process validates how well each management solution conforms to SNIA's Storage Management Initiative Specification version 1.0.2, the industry standard that enables enterprises to deploy and manage highly interoperable, multi-vendor storage infrastructure. ...AppIQ profile, Industry trade associations

M-Systems Reports 51% Growth

KFAR-SABA, Israel - April 20, 2005 - M-Systems today announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2005.

For the first quarter of 2005, revenues were $95.9 million 51% higher than in the first quarter of 2004. M-Systems also reported a net profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2005 of $6.1 million, or $0.16 per share. Dov Moran, President and CEO of M-Systems, said: "With the different elements of our business coming together... we believe we have a solid foundation for significant growth and success. For the full year of 2005, we are reiterating our projections for revenues of at least $450 million and earnings per share at or above $1.00." ...M-Systems profile, Solid State Disks

Nexsan & Diligent Partner on Virtual Tape

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. - April 20, 2005 - Nexsan Technologies and Diligent Technologies today announced the availability of a joint enterprise-class virtual tape library which appears to backup applications as one or many actual tape libraries.

The backup application accesses drives, robotics and cartridges with Diligent's VTF Open solution as it would a physical tape library. Through its intelligent use of disk in the backup process, this solution eliminates much of the burden, complexity and difficulty of using tape for backups and restores. Because the data actually resides on Nexsan ATA-based disk, users experience dramatic improvements to the backup and recovery operation. Additionally, VTF Open provides 2:1 compression, reducing storage needs by half and significantly improving the total cost. ...Nexsan profile, ...Diligent profile, Disk to disk backup

New CEO at Silverback Systems

Campbell, Calif., - April 19, 2005 - Silverback Systems, Inc., has named Ahmet Houssein, as its new president and CEO, starting immediately.

Mr. Houssein was most recently with Adaptec as VP and general manager of their Storage Solutions Group, where he implemented the company's end-to-end, storage solutions strategy, including the industry's first, serial-attached, SCSI RAID and I/O products. Mr. Houssein's experience and achievement at the systems and chip level is expected to be instrumental in further enhancing Silverback's market position with their family of IP-based, storage network access processors, iSNAP. ...Silverback Systems profile, Storage People, Storage processors

SSDs Help Compliance with Patriot Act

Editor:- April 19, 2005 - Dynamic Solutions International has published a new case study which shows how they used a solid state disk accelerator to help a financial institution cope with the requirements of the USA Patriot Act.

Campus USA Credit Union, with 70,000 members, had a VMS mainframe which could take upto 30 minutes to answer detailed customer queries. To comply with the Patriot Act and speed up real-time customer identification they turned to a solid state disk accelerator from DSI. As a result, mundane queries that previously used to take 3 minutes to run on the old system, now take about 8 seconds, while longer queries that used to take more than 30 minutes, now can be processed in five or six minutes. the article (pdf)

EMC Reports 20% Growth

Hopkinton, Mass. - April 19, 2005 - EMC Corp today reported financial results for the first quarter of 2005.

Total consolidated revenue for EMC's first quarter was $2.24 billion, 20% higher than the $1.87 billion reported for the first quarter of 2004. Net income for the quarter was $270 million or $.11 per diluted share, 93% higher than the first quarter of 2004.

Systems revenue grew 15% in the first quarter, compared with the year-ago quarter, to $1.03 billion, driven by strong, double-digit growth from the EMC CLARiiON, Celerra NAS and Centera platforms. Strong performances across each of EMC's software businesses grew software license and maintenance revenues 26% to $832 million in the first quarter, now representing 37% of total EMC revenues. Professional services, systems maintenance and other services revenue grew 26% to $375 million during the quarter, as customers around the globe turned to EMC to help manage the growing complexity of their information infrastructures. ...EMC profile

Editor's comments:-
it looks like EMC's revenue growth has slowed down from the 35% peak it reached last year. It will take another quarter before we can reliably measure how the fastest growing storage companies are doing in 2005 and whether EMC will once again be in that elite set.

XOsoft Announces 30% Growth

Waltham, MA - April 18, 2005 - XOsoft today announced its 9th straight quarter of growth.

In the first quarter of 2005, XOsoft grew revenues by more than 30% and added nearly two hundred new customers including US Army Corp of Engineers, Mitsubishi, Bloomberg, COMSTAR Federal Credit Union, Cox Media, American Red Cross, Occidental Petroleum and North Island Credit Union among many others which now represent implementations in 21 countries. Demand for XOsoft's products remains high as businesses continue to see the value of continuous availability technology. Research firm IDC forecasts a 35% jump in backup, archiving, and replication software market revenues from $4.3 billion in 2004 to $6.58 billion in 2008. ...XOsoft profile

Arkeia Certified with MySQL Network Program

SANTA CLARA, CA. - April 18, 2005 ­ Arkeia Corp announced today the full certification of its MySQL hot backup plug-in with the MySQL Network Silver Certified Partner program.

Arkeia made the announcement at the MySQL Users Conference. Arkeia has worked closely with MySQL for more than three years, keeping pace with the continuing development of this popular open source database. The Arkeia hot backup plug-in is compatible with versions of MySQL starting from 3.21 through version 4.x. It functions with all table formats. Arkeia products are compatible with a variety of operating systems including Linux, Unix, Windows, Mac OS X, AIX, FreeBSD, HP-UX, Irix, Novell Netware and others. solutions ...Arkeia profile, Storage Events

Seagate Expands Notebook Disk Line

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. - April 18, 2005 - Seagate Technology is expanding its Momentus line of notebook hard disk drives.

Highlighting Seagate's 2.5" notebook disk line are 7,200 and 5,400 RPM models that provide high capacity - 100GB and 120GB, respectively. Seagate offers SATA as an option.

"As notebook PCs displace desktop PCs in the workplace, end users increasingly will demand desktop PC capabilities in notebooks," said John Buttress, IDC's research manager for hard drives. "Currently, the market for 7,200 RPM notebook drives is a niche market, but it is growing, and the market for 5,400 RPM drives already is growing rapidly."

Momentus features a tough design that also makes the drives ideal for CE devices, printers, copiers, non-mission critical blade servers, external storage arrays and other environments where systems are jostled or subject to high levels of vibration. Momentus drives can withstand up to 900 Gs of non-operating shock and 250 Gs of operating shock to safeguard drive data. Momentus hard drives are power efficient and are virtually inaudible thanks to fluid-dynamic bearing motors. ...Seagate profile

SmartDisk Introduces Portable DVR

Fort Myers, FL - April 18, 2005 - SmartDisk Corp today introduced FlashTrax XT, a handheld portable device for storing, playing and sharing digital images, video and music.
FlashTrax is being demonstrated in Booth SL5828 at NAB. FlashTrax XT, a palm-sized, portable multimedia player and video recorder, stores high-resolution images transferred from any flash memory card or video device and displays them on its 3.6" LCD screen, on a TV or a projector. In addition, the user can enjoy music from a personal collection, listen to the built-in FM tuner, or watch slide shows while listening to music. With transfer speeds of up to 480MBps, FlashTrax XT can also serve as an external hard drive to transfer, store and access data. news image - FlashTrax - Photo: Business Wire
"FlashTrax XT is an extension of our popular FlashTrax device and incorporates broader support of digital video," says Charles Klinker, Vice President-Marketing for SmartDisk. "The desire to record, store and play back your multimedia content wherever you go is a growing trend among consumers."

Suggested retail price for FlashTrax XT is $399.99 for the 40GB version and $499.99 for the 80GB version. It will be available in early May. ...SmartDisk profile

RAID & Tape Testing in SCSItoolbox V6.0

LITTLETON, COLORADO - April 18, 2005 - SCSI Toolbox, LLC has added test capabilities for RAID and Tape Storage Devices in SCSItoolbox Suite V6.0.

Each drive, on up to 16 host bus adapters, has its own independent test thread for the highest data throughput and least interaction with other devices under test. A simple point-and-click interface allows complex sequences of tests to be assembled in minutes, and with many pre-defined test sequences included, test lines can be up and running quickly. ...SCSI Toolbox profile, Storage Testers, Tape drives, RAID controller cards

Intransa in DVD Publishing Demo at NAB

LAS VEGAS, NV - April 18, 2005 - Intransa today announced it is partnering with Pulse Digital and Rimage and will demonstrate an IP-SAN DVD authoring solution this week at NAB on NewWave's booth #SL3960.

"Today, DVD projects are authored by multiple users at multiple sites, resulting in complex authoring workflows. Our unique automated DVD authoring solution, coupled with Intransa's IP-SAN, will greatly improve the ability of media and DVD publishing firms to simplify their production workflows, improve product quality and shorten delivery schedules for their projects," noted Mark Hirsch, CTO, Pulse Digital. ...Intransa profile, ...Rimage profile, DVD drives, Storage Events & trade shows

Exanet Announces Key Industry Partnerships

LAS VEGAS, NV - April 16, 2005 - Exanet has entered into formal relationships with Ardendo, SGL and Telestream, to enhance the award-winning storage solutions it provides to the broadcast and post production industry.

"SGL is delighted to be partnering with Exanet," said Steve Atkinson, Vice President, Sales, U.S. for SGL. "Integrated with SGL FlashNet, Exanet's network attached storage system is a key, easy-to-manage and cost-efficient solution for broadcasters worldwide who are making the transition to an all-digital workflow environment. SGL's Migration Manager can be used to seamlessly move content from the ExaStore NAS solution to tape environments and vice versa, allowing for a highly flexible mixed storage environment." ...Exanet profile, ...SGL profile

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Nibble:- Good New Ideas in Storage Marketing?
It's as rare to find good new ideas in IT marketing as it is to find gold coins when you dig in the garden.

Most IT marketers in the past few decades have rarely stepped outside the smaller! faster! cheaper! school of thinking. Something new was added to these formulaic mantras in the last decade when vendors started advertising on the internet, but that too has become simply a me-too way of sales, which some do well, and most do badly.

The key to the innovation treasure chest, it seems, has been locked securely in the research and development department. If storage marketers have ever sought to come up with new good ways of enticing customers (as opposed to stupid gimicky ideas which insult your intelligence) these worthy new ideas have rarely come to light. Maybe it's just too hard for marketers - like solving the code to the cryptex in Dan Brown's novel the Da Vinci Code.

But despite it being a rare event, some lucky people do indeed find gold coins when digging in their garden. (Although most just find worms and get backache.)

Two new good ideas in storage marketing have appeared in these storage news pages in recent months. If you missed them, here they are again.

In the Backup Software market, Arkeia announced a new pricing scheme in which users can buy their enterprise backup software and pay a price that depends on the volume of data which they back up instead of the number or type of servers.

Now, some detractors might say here, that this isn't innovative, because web backup companies have been doing this all along. But this is the first time this ASP model has been applied to a piece of enterprise backup software which you own. Arkeia's pricing model enables fast growing organisations, which maybe don't need or can't afford the overpriced enterprise bloatware from Veritas or IBM today, to standardise on a product which does offer enterprise functions at a cost of ownership which is scalable to their needs.

In the Solid State Disk market, Texas Memory Systems announced a bunch of performance guarantees.

You'll have to see their web site for the details, but these guarantees mean, in effect, that if you tell them that you're expecting a given percentage speed up for your enterprise server application, and they agree, but you don't get it, then you'll get your money back. They also guarantee to be faster than any other storage system in the market, by the way.

I don't see many server makers who guarantee that their system will give you a named application speedup. They imply it. But in the server market the risk is always down to the user. Sometimes the new servers don't deliver the expected speedup, and other factors are blamed.

The difference in the Texas Memory Systems' guarantee is that whatever your server environment, or applications, if they agree an overall speedup then you will get it or your money back. The company has decades of experience in speeding up applications for the government and has been in effect making these performance promises quietly to prospective customers for years. The reason they're going public now is that users say they are more likely to try solid state disk technology (as an alternative to more servers or CPUs) if there's a risk free way of trying it out.

These new marketing moves make it easier for users to dip their toes into the muddy waters of new technologies and new suppliers.

Enterprise systems are so complicated nowadays that it's difficult enough just keeping them running reliably. Most users don't have the spare time or resources to investigate new products and ideas which might make their systems run better or faster. And sometimes even the experts get it wrong by predicting improvements which fail to be achieved in practise. But the alternative:- the seemingly low risk, incremental upgrade route of just buying more of the same from current suppliers doesn't always fit the budget or doesn't always deliver the expected benefits either.

Some parts of the $70 billion / year storage market are getting very complicated with multiple technologies promising to be the answer to backup and archiving for example. They can't all be right, and they won't all last the full term.

Vendors who can offer attractive switching services which migrate users data to a new platform with a credible guarantee that everything can be switched back if the new system doesn't deliver the promised benefits - will help new technology fly off the shelf faster.

Technologies like iSCSI, which typically offer 5 times the performance of NAS when using the same network infrastructure, have been languishing in the small market swamp for years because vendors haven't been able to offer attractive marketing packages which tell users what the benefits really are, and take away the risk of new technology adoption.

Good New Ideas in Storage Marketing should be aimed at addressing the real anxieties and needs of users - like "what do I do if my online backup company goes bust?", or "what if I picked a server technology which looked good a few years ago (for example HP's Alpha) which has now been end-of -lifed by the original manufacturer and I don't have the budget to replace everything and start all over?"

I'll be writing more about this subject of new marketing ideas in storage later. If vendors think they have brilliant new ideas which also deserve a mention just copy me by email on the details.

See also:- MarketingViews, Record breaking storage

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