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storage history - 2006, December week 1

click here to see thousands of stories from storage news history right up to the present day
I'm too old to do that chimney stunt
this year thought Megabyte hopefully
SSD news
storage history
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How will hard drives fare in an SSD world?
Calling for an End to Unrealistic SSD vs HDD IOPS Comparisons
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Why I was Wrong About SSD Growth.... It will be Very Much Faster

Editor:- December 7, 2006 - although 2006 has been a very good year for revenue growth in the SSD market - next year will be even better. SSD market adoption has progressed pretty much as I predicted last year. And those predictions about applications look just as accurate for the next couple of years too. But as we start to see SSDs appearing more widely in products - there are some factors which may accelerate the take-up beyond what might be predicted from preliminary performance predictions.

For example - in the notebook market - flash vendors have predicted that SSDs will give an application speedup of x2 to x3. Those figures are based on comparing the theoretical performance of low cost flash SSDs compared to hard disk drives, and are backed up by early measurements done by product developers.

What the figures don't tell you is that the comparisons are done for new systems with a freshly loaded squeaky clean OS and application software. Real life is more messy. If you fast forward a couple of months and end-users start doing software updates - the effect of fragmentation will slow the performance of the HDD based systems down by a factor of x2 to x7 depending on the application and the interval between defrags (which is rarely - if ever performed on most personal notebooks).

In contrast - the speed of the SSD systems stays the same as it was when the system was new - because the random access time is the same for all data - and fragmentation effects are effectively zero.

The impact is that when you compare a 3 month old Vista notebook with or without an SSD - the difference in speed could be as much as x5 or x10. This only applies to notebooks which have pure SSDs and the benefit won't apply to hybrids.

I predict that once users have eyeballed the comparisons in real-life - the flash based SSD sales will soar. Pressure from users on their corporate IT managers to throw out the old HDD based notebooks will create a tsunami of demand as strong as that which led to companies originally buying PCs back in the early 80s. Am I right? - Keep bookmarked to this site - and you'll see.


Backup, D2D and VTL Report from Peripheral Concepts

Santa Barbara, California - December 6, 2006 - A recent end-user survey conducted by Peripheral Concepts, Inc. reveals that while Disk-to-Disk installations are still predominant at SMBs managers are increasingly turning to a Virtual Tape Library solutions. 40% of those sites have implemented VTL today, and 33% will either upgrade their installation or acquire VTL for the first time in the next 12 months, bringing VTL on par with D2D. D2D will continue to prevail at sites with disk capacity over 200T and under 1T.

58% of managers wish they can get rid of tapes - up from from 51% last year.

55% estimate the timeframe for a tape-less operation to be less than 4 years.

Disk-based backup is mostly used for databases. VTL is also widely used for web applications and Microsoft Exchange. Data compression and deduplication are features considered very important in a VTL offering. The survey addressed a random population of 30,000 sites. "Backup, D2D and VTL" is the 3rd in a series of reports to be issued within the next two months.


Index Engines Strengthens Executive Team

HOLMDEL, NJ - December 6, 2006 - Index Engines today made two appointments to its executive team. Neil Colstad, formerly vice president of sales for Index Engines, will dedicate his time to OEM partners and other strategic channels, as the company's new vice president, business development. Rick Ruskin has been added to the team as vice president of sales and will assume responsibility for accelerating end-user adoption for the Index Engines product line.

Neil Colstad is a seasoned executive with over 16 years of experience in defining, building and leading sales and business development organizations. Prior to Index Engines, Colstad served as vice president of business development and North American sales for Archivas where he built and led the initial sales and system engineering team, secured the first $1M in revenue via direct sales and established a multi-year global OEM deal.

Before joining Index Engines, Ruskin spent a total of 11 years at MTI Technology. Prior to that, Rick ran the sales and field operations for Storability Software. He also spent 7 years in a range of sales management positions at System Industries, a pioneer in the IBM mainframe plug compatible storage industry.


Enterprise Strategy Group Reports on Overland's VTL

Editor:- December 6, 2006 - a new study by Enterprise Strategy Group says nice things about Overland's REO SERIES VTL disk-based backup and recovery appliance.

"While the majority of storage vendors have focused on the high-end of the D2D backup market, Overland has done an excellent job of providing specialized solutions targeting small to mid-sized customers, departments within large organizations and remote offices," said Tony Palmer, ESG lab engineer, "The REO SERIES appliances are easy to use and provide excellent performance for both backup and recovery of data. In fact, our lab testing showed that using the REO 9000 can be hundreds of times faster than recovering from tape."

Editor's comments:-
often vendor reports written by storage analysts are funded directly or indirectly by the vendor who is the subject of the report. So they rarely say anything too critical. But they can be useful with respect to the quantifiable data they contain - rather than the rose tinted opinions.


LSI Logic Launches Clusterable SAS Arrays

MILPITAS, Calif. - December 5, 2006 - LSI Logic Corp today introduced new SAS-to-SAS external RAID arrays.

Capacity of the model 1331 and 1333 systems ranges from a 2-drive configuration with 146GB of storage to a 48-drive configuration offering 14 TB of storage using 300GB SAS drives. The multi-ported model 1333 is suitable for clustered topologies. Clustering allows multiple servers to share access to data stored on a single storage system and keeps applications running on a secondary server should the primary fail.

See also:- SAS, RAID systems

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Toshiba Launches 100G 1.8" HDD

IRVINE, Calif. - December 5, 2006 - Toshiba today launched the world's highest-capacity 1.8-inch hard disk drive.

Toshiba's MK1011GAH 1.8-inch HDD is ATA-7 compatible, spins at 4,200 RPM, has 4 heads, 2 platters and transfers data upto 100MB/s. It will ship to OEMs for integration into mobile PCs next month. , Hard disk drives, Record Breaking Storage, 1.8" SSDs


HP Launches 2U Entry Level Storage Boxes

PALO ALTO, Calif. - December 4, 2006 - HP today introduced two entry level SAS compatible storage enclosures.

The HP StorageWorks MSA60 is a 2U disk drive enclosure designed to support 3.5-inch universal SAS or SATA drives for a maximum capacity of up to 3.6T with 12 SAS drives or 9T with 12 SATA drives. It supports direct attach to HP ProLiant and HP Integrity servers and the cascading of enclosures in a 1+3 configuration, which allows customers to easily increase capacity as their storage needs grow.

The HP StorageWorks MSA70 is a 2U disk drive storage enclosure supporting 2.5-inch SAS or SATA small form-factor drives for a maximum capacity of up to 3.6T with 25 SAS drives or 1.5T with 25 SATA drives. It supports direct attach to HP ProLiant and HP Integrity servers and the cascading of enclosures in a 1+1 configuration.

See also:- Rackmount Storage, decloaking trends in the enterprise rackmount flash market


Infortrend RAID Tips

Editor:- December 4, 2006 - a new article is published today on STORAGEsearch.com - written by Alex Young, Director of Technical Marketing EMEA, Infortrend - it's called:- "10 Ten Tips for a Successful RAID Implementation."

In the 20 years since I first worked on RAID I've read and published countless articles about this subject. So what can a new RAID article tell you? Plenty of practical stuff - from a modern perspective. ...read the article


Lifeboat Data Rescue ver 2

Powell River, Canada - December 4, 2006 - Tugboat Enterprises Ltd has released version 2 of Lifeboat Data Rescue.

Lifeboat, which pulls data through broken Windows systems even when no back up has been done, is now even faster and easier to set up. The new version will now boot from an external USB CD drive which is necessary for laptops without internal CD drives.

"We have listened to feedback from our customers and made our product even better than when first released," said CEO Judi Tyabji Wilson. "We are sure people will be very pleased with the new product." See also:- Data Recovery


InfiniBand Enters Top 20 Storage Searches

Editor:- December 1, 2006 - STORAGEsearch.com reports that in November readership grew 31% compared to the year before period. Pageviews in the top 10 subjects grew 36% compared to the year before period.

The top 3 subjects viewed by storage searchers were:-

(1) - Disk to disk backup,
(2) - Hard disk drives, and
(3) - Solid state disks.

InfiniBand moved up 10 places and entered the top 20 subjects viewed at #18. The #1 company profile (out of more than 1,000 listed storage companies) was Double-Take Software.

For more information on the top subjects, articles etc see Market research (archived page)
The enterprise SSD story...

why's the plot so complicated?
the golden age of enterprise SSDs

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Nibble:- the Future of High Speed Disk Drives for Servers Doesn't Lie in Numerology

Sometimes making a projection from past trends gives you the wrong answer.

Number series play their part in this deception because we can sometimes see a pattern in numbers which falsely predicts what will come next.

Here's an example:- 1, 2, 4, 6, ??

There are many ways you can continue this series. But the example I had in mind was the historic development of the horse drawn stage-coach. As people became wealthier and demanded more comfort in their road transport - a "coach and six" became a luxurious form of high speed travel which gave its name to many English pubs. As we know from our current vantage point - high speed road travel did not advance to the "coach and twelve" but instead took a detour via the internal combustion engine and the motor car.

Here's another example:- 3,000, 4,200, 5,400, 7,200, 10,000, 15,000, ??

Most of you will easily recognise that adding the addendum "RPM - Revolutions Per Minute" to this sequence charts the increase in hard disk drive rotation speeds during the past 20 years.

Where is this going?

Well you may be sorely tempted to add a number like 20,000 to the end of this sequence. That would be a not unreasonable assumption. And I might have been tempted to do the same myself but a number of signals have steered me in a different direction.

A white paper by Fujitsu Trends in Enterprise Hard Disk Drives contains this observation "Ultrahigh-speed HDDs rotating at speeds exceeding 20 000 rpm have also been researched but not commercialized due to heat generation, power consumption, noise, vibration and other problems in characteristics, and a lack of long term reliability."

Independent market research suggests that high end servers will standardise on on the 2.5 inch (and smaller) form factor - because this is easier to deploy in blade servers and high density server farms. And a recent report by IDC said that the fastest growing segment in the high end server market was servers from Sun which pack in more processors per U(nit) of rack space than competitors - and at a lower wattage per server than other vendors.

Combining these trends together suggests that what customers of big multi user servers would really like is faster disk drives - with lower power consumption. But that's just not possible with hard disk technology.

Enter the solid state disk. SSDs in the same form factor as 15K RPM hard drives are available in the same capacity and typically offer faster throughput and hundreds of times faster random IOPs - which is a better measure of how disk speed translates to server speed in most multi-user systems. (The exceptions are storage servers which have been optimised to deliver streaming video - in which the performance gap is much smaller.) The SSDs also use less power and are more reliable.

But it is a truth universally acknowledged that a 146GB 15K RPM drive from Seagate today costs an order of magnitude less than a similar form factor (but faster) SATA SSD with similar capacity from vendors listed in our Solid State Disks Buyers Guide.

That's where Microsoft's Vista and the new generation of hybrid flash-hard drives give us the vital clue about what is going to happen next.

True - this technology was originally designed for notebooks. But if the OS can recognize a solid state disk and cache frequently used files to the flash part of it - then migrating this clever OS to a server version is not a very big step. And fast SSDs are already available.

Now - whether the hard disk oems get around to designing high speed bybrid disks - or whether systems integrators find a quick and dirty solution - such as stuffing 1 SSD for every 4 HDDs in the same box first remains to be seen. The latter - SSD HDD hybrid array solution - works in a server rack environment - and makes hybrid server disks extinct before they even appear in a Powerpoint product marketing plan. Sorry guys.

But here's a warning. If you do ever see a 20K RPM hard disk appear in a press release or catalog then give it a wide berth - unless you work for a computer museum. That's not the way the market will go.

See also:- my previous article What's So Important About Storage?
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