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Storage news - 2006, April week 3

from the news archive of

Serial Attached SCSI - is it worth the wait?
Sanitization Methods for Cleaning Up Hard Disk Drives
Why are Most Analysts Wrong About Solid State Disks?
why's it so hard to compile a simple list of military SSD companies?
storage news magazine readers - click here to see Megabyte's storage history archive
Megabyte loved reading news stories
about the storage market
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EzRaid for SATA Disk Bays

Hollywood, FL - April 20, 2006 - Data Protection Solutions brings its DD4 mirroring technology to SATA drive users with the new EzRaid Dual Swap+ DD4.

The EzRaid Dual Swap+ is designed to hold two SATA hard drives and fits easily into any 5.25 inch double drive bay. Users need only slip their SATA drives into the EzRaid Dual Swap+ and connect them to the computer's motherboard with the provided cables. Once connected, the drives are automatically integrated with the EzRaid Dual Swap+ hardware and data begins writing to both drives simultaneously, quickly building a mirror system. A mirror system can be created by installing two new drives or by having the EzRaid Dual Swap+ copy all data from an existing drive to a second drive. In either event, the process will result in the data on both drives being identical and remaining so as additional data is saved to the drives. Once the drives are mirrored no further user intervention is required.

Each time the user saves data, the information is automatically sent to both drives. If one of the drives fails, the EzRaid Dual Swap+ will seamlessly switch all operations to the functioning drive. The EzRaid Dual Swap+ will alert the user that only one drive is operational but the computer system will remain up and running and all applications will continue to function. The user may bring down the system and replace the failed drive at a convenient or non-peak time or simply hot swap the drive while the system is running. Once the failed drive is replaced, the EzRaid Dual Swap+ will automatically copy the data from the existing drive to the new drive in background and a new mirror system will be established. No additional oversight or administration is required.

Because the DD4 technology used in the EzRaid Dual Swap+ operates independently of the hardware platform and operating system, the EzRaid Dual Swap+ is compatible with all brands of SATA drives, drive formats and partitioning schemes. Additionally, it will function under a wide variety of operating systems, including all versions of Windows, DOS, LINUX, OS/2, Unix, Solaris, NetWare and others. MSRP is $599. ...Data Protection Solutions profile, RAID controllers

StorageNewsletter Acquires Mass Storage News

Paris, France, and Erie, PA - April 20, 2006 - Privately-held Micro-Journal, the French publisher of StorageNewsletter, has definitively acquired Mass Storage News, published by RMG Enterprises in Erie, PA.

Both publications are dedicated to reporting on the worldwide professional storage community. From now on, as a result of this acquisition, Mass Storage News will be merged into StorageNewsletter. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"The storage industry is in a period of heated consolidation and this is also the case for storage publications. By acquiring Mass Storage News and merging it into StorageNewsletter, we will increase our audience and will by far lead the market of newsletters targeting storage professionals.", said Jean-Jacques Maleval, Editor of StorageNewsletter.

"We are very happy to see Mass Storage News join a publication of the caliber of StorageNewsletter, from which our readers can now benefit," commented Larry Roberts, CEO of RMG Enterprises and publisher of Mass Storage News. ...StorageNewsletter profile, Mass Storage News

Editor's note:- Last year (March 18, 2005) Mass Storage News announced it had completed the acquisition of I've said before that I think the market doesn't need so many online storage publications. A smaller number of better quality publications works better for readers.

Solid Access Challenges SSD Market with Online Pricing

Newburyport, MA - April 20, 2006 - Solid Access Technologies has decided, contrary to common practice, to publish end user pricing for its new generation of Universal Solid State Disk products on its web site.

"When we wanted to get educated about pricing in all SSD categories, we had to invest an inordinate amount of time to research and compile the information - and I think that is ridiculous" said Solid Access managing partner Tomas Havrda. "We certainly do not want to put our potential customers through the same ordeal. You want to see pricing, you should be able to access it now. That's what "Solid Access" is all about. Naturally it is easier to publish prices that are half or less then that of competitors. For example, $18,000 is our published price for a 16GB USSD 200 with a standard Fibre Channel 2Gb/s dual port. This USSD 200 with 4 FC ports can deliver up to 160,000 IOPS." ...Solid Access profile

Editor's comments:- This is a milestone in the SSD Market. Previously the volatile nature of memory pricing and fear of price led competition had meant that most SSD oems declined to publish any pricing data. The SSD pricing exclusion zone included their own websites, press releases related to product launches, and even our own SSD Buyers Guide. Making it easier for users to research prices will speed up the growth of the SSD market, which is already the fastest growing segment in the storage industry

Later:- you can see how SSD prices (including prices for rackmount arrays) varied over a 10 year period after this here. In the early phases of the modern enterprise SSD era the primary use of SSDs was as accelerators - however as use cases grew with different optimizations of latency, density and bundled features to serve different market segments (and using different memory reliability assumptions) it no longer became meangingful to compare prices of SSD arrays using raw memory capacity as a yardstick.

Maximum Throughput at NAB

Montreal, CANADA - April 19, 2006 - Maximum Throughput Inc. announced today that they will be demonstrating several industry first technologies at the imminent National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas.

In addition to demonstrating the Sledgehammer and Xstoner product lines as they are used in many facilities today, the company will be showing the following new technologies:
  • Sledgehammer Dual Stream - the industry's first-ever uncompressed dual stream HD-capable digital disk recorder (DDR). Sledgehammer's new dual stream capability allows it to supply the source footage for grading, and simultaneously act as the destination VTR, recording the final graded material to the same storage.
  • MAXcluster - the first clustered storage solution to support guaranteed real-time I/O streams even at 2K resolutions while still providing simultaneous NAS based access to all shared contents.
  • High-Speed Backup - backup via Infiniband or 10GigE connectivity - supporting sustained backup speeds of up to 500MB/sec.
...Maximum Throughput profile, Storage Events

Solid State System and UMC Collaborate on Memory

HSINCHU, Taiwan - April 19, 2006 - UMC today announced the delivery of a new SONOS memory to Solid State System Co.

This new memory adopts advanced SONOS dielectric storage technology, effectively enhancing program speed compared to conventional SONOS cells and conventional NAND type flash. UMC's experience in SONOS Thin Film development allowed its R&D team to deliver the 0.18um memory cell during its first cut, followed by completion of the pilot run for the 256Mb OTP/MTP memory product. This memory offers cost-competitive manufacturing, lower power consumption, and equivalent Program/Erase performance and reliability. SONOS (Silicon-Oxide-Nitride-Oxide-Silicon) technology has been gaining interest in recent years because of its aggressively small cell size, lower voltage operation, and simple manufacturability compared to conventional types of flash technology such as NAND. These important features allow SONOS to be used for many high-density applications for storage media. ...Solid State System profile, ...UMC profile

Scentric Promises Data Classification

Alpharetta, Georgia - April 19, 2006 - Scentric today launched its corporate identity, and website following the recent expansion of its Series A funding round to $10.4 million from HIG Ventures, Valhalla Partners, Imlay Investments and ATDC.

The company's product - Scentric Destiny (a data classification solution) has been in development for 18 months, including a 6 month beta cycle that will be completed this month. It will be commercially available starting April 24th. ...Scentric profile, Squeak! - Venture Capital Funds in Storage

Seagate Launches Fastest Hard Drive

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. - April 18, 2006 - Seagate Technology today announced its fastest hard drive.

The Cheetah 15K.5 (which spins at 15,000 RPM) is available in a choice of 3 Gb/sec Serial Attached SCSI, Ultra320 SCSI, and 4 Gb/sec Fibre Channel interfaces with capacities of 73G, 147G, and 300G. It delivers an MTBF reliability rating of 1.4 million hours at full duty cycle. Seagate is now shipping the Cheetah 15K.5 to leading OEM Customers. The Cheetah 15K.5 will be launched to the distribution channel later this quarter. ...Seagate profile

Editor's comments:- Seagate also announced today 16% revenue growth for the quarter ending March 31, 2006. Revenue in the quarter was $2.3 billion.

ProStor Names Vice President of Channel Sales

BOULDER, CO - April 18, 2006 - ProStor Systems today announced that Bill Lewis has been named to the newly created position of vice president of channel sales.

Lewis brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience working for leading high-technology firms. Before joining ProStor Systems, Lewis led the North American Sales team at Brocade as director of channel sales. Prior to Brocade, he ran the North American Distribution Sales division at SGI. He also has a successful sales track record at several early phase high-tech companies, where he was responsible for worldwide sales and distribution, including signing sales partners in Western Europe, Latin America and the Asia Pacific markets. Lewis began his sales career at IBM as team leader on the Rockwell International account. He earned a B.A. degree in Spanish and two graduate degrees, including an M.A. in Spanish and Portuguese and an MBA, all from UCLA. ...ProStor Systems profile, Storage People

BiTMICRO Adopts ARC Chips for Clone-Proof SSDs

ELSTREE, UK - April 18, 2006 - ARC International today announced that BiTMICRO Networks, Inc. has taken a license for the ARC 700 family of configurable cores.

BiTMICRO will use ARC's configurable processors to develop low cost, next-generation system-on-chip devices for their E-Disk solid state disk solutions. These new families of SoCs comprise the TALINO high-speed disk controllers with integrated common industry standard interface cores while the ISIP flash memory controllers will provide high-performance multi-vendor support for large arrays of flash devices.

"We chose ARC's configurable processors after evaluating a number of fixed architecture alternatives" said Rudy Bruce, executive vice president for marketing and sales at BiTMICRO Networks. "The configurable ARC 700 family prevailed because it gives additional product differentiation and a competitive market advantage through the creation of unique architectural features in the CPU. Furthermore, the processor modifications we make provide a level of protection against cloning by our competitors, which non-configurable cores cannot offer." ...ARC International , BiTMICRO Networks, processors used in SSD controllers and systems

See later:- Configurable & Extensible 32-bit RISC Processors for Next-Generation SSDs (ARC Design Bulletin)

Asempra's Top 10 List for Business Data Continuity

Sunnyvale, Calif. - April 18, 2006 - On the 100 year anniversary of the San Francisco Earthquake Asempra Technologies has published a "Top 10" list of recommendations to ensure IT business continuity in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

On the morning of April 18, 1906, the city of San Francisco and its residents were awaken by a massive earthquake; although the earth shook for only a minute, the city was destroyed. More than 250,000 of the city's 400,000 residents were left homeless, 700 were killed and damage estimates exceeded $350 million (in 1906 dollars).

The business landscape of the San Francisco area has changed considerably since then. Large, multinational businesses that supply the world with IT, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas; government research centers and major university research hubs are all based in Northern California. At the heart of each of these organizations are volumes of irreplaceable data that is updated each second of every day. This data must be secured, protected and brought back online instantaneously in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. Here's Asempra's "Top 10" list to help data continuity.
  1. Identify all business critical data and systems within the company.
  2. Perform a business impact analysis to revenue and cost implications of a disaster recovery plan.
  3. Define retention periods for all data.
  4. Establish data recovery service level agreements (recovery time objectives, recovery point objectives).
  5. Develop a business continuity/disaster recovery IT plan for various types of system failures (natural disasters, human error, etc.).
  6. Identify, educate and train the appropriate IT personnel on your organization's business continuity/disaster recovery plan.
  7. Backup your data on a regular basis to a secondary source.
  8. Replicate and/or store a copy of critical data at an offsite location.
  9. Test your data protection and recovery procedures on a regular basis.
  10. Review and update your business continuity plan annually.
"In 1906 mission critical data was protected in bank vaults, desk drawers and filling cabinets," said Marty Ward, vice president of product marketing, Asempra Technologies. "While the storage media were different a hundred years ago, the core issues of data recovery remain the same today. The earthquake that devastated the San Francisco Bay Area caused a major disruption in business continuity because people and businesses were unable to salvage vital business records." ...Asempra profile, Backup Software

EMC Launches New CLARiiON D2d

Hopkinton, Mass - April 17, 2006 - EMC Corp today announced enhancements to its CLARiiON Disk Library family.

The new CLARiiON DL210 system (priced from around $50,000) uses low-cost, high-performing 500GB SATA disk drives and scales from 4 to 24T. It's easy to implement into an existing environment, enabling disk-based backup and restore without requiring customers to change their current operations or backup infrastructures. It emulates leading open systems tape libraries, tape drives and tape media for simple deployment and implementation with minimal user intervention. ...EMC profile
DWPD - examples from SSD history

after AFAs - what's the next box?

high availability enterprise SSDs
Serial Attached SCSI
Serial Attached SCSI on
Megabyte found it difficult
adapting to the newer thinner
Serial SCSI connections.

SiliconSystems profile
SiliconSystems provides industrial-grade solid-state
storage solutions engineered exclusively for the high
performance, high reliability, multi-year product lifecycle
requirements of the Enterprise System OEM market.

5 Years After - 4 New Storage Interfaces - How did they Fare?

n 2001, launched 4 new directory pages dedicated to emerging storage interface technologies which had got a lot of reader attention in our news pages at that time:-
These new storage interfaces, conceived at the start of the 2001-2003 US IT market recession did not all match up to the original hopes of their proponents.

SATA has been the most successful. It has been a multi billion dollar market for several years. In 2006 over 300 million hard disk drives will have SATA interfaces. SATA has also made its appearance in solid state disks, DVD drives and tape drives.

iSCSI had an optimistic, much hyped but false start. The market in 2006 is 2 to 3 years behind the market size which was originally predicted for this. In the early days of the iSCSI market optimistic projections from IDC led vendors to expect that iSCSI would be a $1 billion market in 2004. Those early projections for 2004 iSCSI revenue were ten times too high. We may have to wait till 2007 before the iSCSI market reaches the magic billion dollar size. The main reasons for iSCSI's slow take-off were:- slowness in the standard development process, early products which didn't work properly, and then finally, waiting for Microsoft to wake up and grasp the significance of the storage market. Looking to the future, the market is now hotting up. Recent iSCSI benchmarks on 10Gbps Ethernet have quoted faster IOPs than Fibre-channel SANs. Vendors are promising that iSCSI will be faster than FC without the setup complexity.

Serial Attached SCSI - It took 4 years for SAS products and systems to start reaching end-users. Hitachi shipped the first 15K RPM SAS hard drives a year ago (May 2005) and most leading server manufacturers had launched SAS based servers by the end of 2005. But I get the impression that most users are underwhelmed by the performance promise that SAS based systems offer. The main reason is that the fastest SATA disks overlap in performance with mid range SAS drives. So the benefits from adopting SAS only appeal to a small segment of the market. Another reason for the small size of the SAS market may be that parallel SCSI had become a niche for RISC based servers running various flavors of Unix. So although users of Sun's SPARC servers, for example, have seen an upward shift in performance from the new SAS drives, the Unix part of the server market has been overtaken by Windows based servers using Intel Architecture processors. Most I.A. server makers were natural early adopters of the Intel rooted SATA interface. In contrast, most RISC servers never supported PATA, and those product lines had to wait a few more years for the software compatible Serial SCSI disks to emerge.

InfiniBand has been a graveyard for many startups which came into being to support this technology. Of the 4 interface standards which started at about the same time the InfiniBand market is today the smallest in revenue and in growth potential. The original idea behind InfiniBand was that it would offer an industry standard alternative to the many high speed proprietary busses which server manufacturers used to cluster their most powerful servers. The server recession in 2001-2003 slowed down the pace of new server developments and provided a disincentive for manufacturers to end of life their most profitable products. In the past 4 years two other factors have reduced the potential market size for InfiniBand. The availability of processor chips with multiple central processing units on the same chip has reduced the need for motherboard to motherboard memory access of the type provided by a factor of two, four or eight - for different chip implementations. Furthermore the availability of 10Gbps Ethernet, and the possibility of 20GbE provides a workable alternative in many applications which would have looked like natural slots for InfiniBand just a few years ago. Although InfiniBand has reached the stage where there are many working products - the shape of the market is a small number of end-users who consume a large number (thousands each) of InfiniBand ports. It is doubtful that this will become a high volume market unless something radically changes in the architecture of server systems. If that change happens - you'll be the first to know as it gets reported in these news pages.

Summary - The storage market has changed a lot since these new storage interfaces were hatched in 2001. The new interfaces have survived a recession and it's likely that they will all still be around in some upgraded form till the end of the decade. They were designed to meet the needs of computer networks in which the main form of online storage is hard disk based. In the next few years we'll start to see a shift away from rotating mechanical storage (hard disks, DVDs and tapes) towards faster, more reliable solid state storage. Solid state disks currently use interfaces which are hand-me-downs from the magnetic storage era. The next generation of new storage interfaces which may start life in 2011 will be completely different. Watch this space.

You can get more detailed information about all the above markets, vendors, history, applications etc by clicking on the links above.

See also:- 10 Years After - (featuring Alvin Lee on lead guitar).
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read the article by ICS - Sanitization Methods
Sanitization Methods for Cleaning Up Hard Disk Drives - article by Intelligent Computer Solutions

Removing the data on old unwanted disk drives has become a concern for all users.

In 2005 Pointsec found that they were able to read 7 out of 10 hard-drives bought over the Internet at auctions such as eBay, for less than the cost of a McDonald's meal, all of which had "supposedly" been "wiped-clean" or "re-formatted".

This article reviews the various methods available to sanitize hard disks along with the advantages and disadvantages in each the article, ...Intelligent Computer Solutions profile, disk sanitizers

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