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Storage news - 2006, January week 1

see also:- SSD history, storage history, popular SSD articles
Megabyte's selection of storage news
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"Even SSD's staunchest evangelists
fundamentally disagree about
many aspects of SSD's future
and the best ways to get there..."
the SSD Heresies
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Increasing Flash Solid State Disk Reliability
Solid state disks, based on flash technology, have greatly improved in performance in recent years and now compete head to head with RAM based accelerator systems. Flash also has significant advatanges in servers compared to RAM SSDs due to low power consumption.

But if you think that all solid state disks which use flash are equally reliable and enduring then think again.

That's a bit like saying that a Mercedes 300SL sports coupe is as tough as a Tiger tank because both were made in Germany and both are built out of metal. But as Oddball (Donald Sutherland) says in the movie Kelly's Heroes "I ain't messing with no Tigers."

This article by SiliconSystems, shows how their patented architecture cleverly manages the wear out mechanisms inherent in all flash media to deliver a disk lifetime that is about 4 times greater than of other enterprise flash products and upto 100 times greater than intrinsic flash memory. ...read the article, ...SiliconSystems profile, Solid state disks
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SANBlaze delivers AMC Storage Module

Maynard, MA - January 6, 2006 -SANBlaze Technology, Inc. today announced the first in a series of Advanced Mezzanine (AMC) based products.

The SB-AMC-HD is an AMC hard drive module providing storage options for AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA based platforms.

The SB-AMC-HD modules are available with either a single SATA or SAS drive, in varying sizes, allowing for design flexibility for embedded system designers. SATA based options provide for storage up to 100GB, as well as an extended duty drive option. SAS versions of the product deliver 36GB or 73GB options, providing a higher performance, more robust storage solution than SATA, when required.

By offering two drive interfaces, as well as a range of capacity options, the SANBlaze SB-AMC-HD family will be able to address most embedded system storage design requirements. Compliance to AMC.0 and AMC.3 standards, as well as integrated IPMI support, insure that the product integrates easily into ATCA and MicroTCA based designs. The SANBlaze SB-AMC-HD modules support all major operating systems. Single piece pricing begins at $695.00, and vary with hard drive capacity options. ...SANBlaze profile


New HDD Lets Users View Head Seeks

CES, Las Vegas - January 5, 2006 - Western Digital Corp. today introduced the world's only manufacturer-produced clear-top hard drive.

The unique 10,000 RPM SATA hard drives feature 150 GB capacity, 16 MB cache and Native Command Queuing for peak performance. WD is responding to widespread popularity among performance enthusiasts of the unmatched performance of the original enterprise-class WD Raptor. The company designed the WD Raptor X to perform at the highest levels like its predecessors, as well as display a radically progressive style for PC and Mac owners who modify or enhance their computing systems, thrive on high-performance gaming or otherwise demand the most extreme components available.

As one of the few components inside a PC with moving parts, all hard drives until now have been sealed with a solid metal top. WD Raptor X features a large clear lens embedded in the top through which the read and write action of the drive's head and disk assembly can be viewed while the drive delivers data, audio and video content and games to PC and Mac performance enthusiasts in just milliseconds. ...Western Digital profile, Hard disk drives

Editor's comments:- old time science fiction films used to display reel to reel tape drives whirring in the background. Those have been obsolete for a few years now. But I suspect it won't be long before some producer has the bright idea of showing a RAID array with transparent innards clicking away like a bunch of cicadas. That will be wrong too - because it's all going to be solid state. But for drama involving extra terrestrials to work you have to suspend disbelief.



Announcing ArcSoft Backup & Burn

Las Vegas - January 5, 2006 - ArcSoft announced the availability of ArcSoft Backup & Burn, a new pc application that enables consumers to quickly and easily archive files, rip and burn audio from music CDs into popular compressed formats (such as MP3), and create DVD video discs.

Backup & Burn offers more than the standard fare when it comes to file archiving. It can automatically scan for file types (such as all photos or all email or others selected by the user) and burn the results to disc. This saves time by freeing the user from having to manually locate and select the files to be archived.

Backup & Burn supports advanced functionalities, such as 64-bit compatibility and Unicode support. Unicode support allows proper processing of character sets such as Japanese and Korean. Song titles and file names will appear correctly with the proper character sets installed on the operating system. In addition, the program is set to support new Blu-ray and HD-DVD devices/media when these are available. ArcSoft Backup & Burn costs $49.99. ...ArcSoft profile, Backup Software


PNY Expands USB Flash Range

Las Vegas - January 5, 2006 - Announced today at CES 2006, PNY Technologies, Inc. has expanded its family of USB Flash Drives to suit a variety of professions, personalities and lifestyles.

The following new PNY USB drives will be available in the first half 2006:-
  • Mini Attaché 2.0 USB Drive - for the traveling executive has a proprietary swing design, which eliminates the risk of lost caps. The slim-profile, portable memory device permits multiple drives to be installed in dual-stacked USB ports found on most computers. The Mini Attaché is available in 256MB, 512MB, 1GB and 2GB (late Q1) storage capacities for an MSRP starting at $34.99.
  • Pro Attaché USB 2.0 Drive - has a durable, titanium housing. This high-end drive has a retractable USB connector that slides in and out of the titanium casing, eliminating the hassle of lost caps. The PNY Pro Attaché is available in 512MB, 1GB, 2GB and 4GB (late Q1) storage capacities for an MSRP starting at $69.99.
  • Evolution Attaché USB 2.0 Drive - includes a seven-in-one flash card reader and USB drive and is aimed at the photo enthusiast. The storage device offers 128MB or 256MB of embedded flash memory which is expandable to 2GB+ with compatible card formats. The PNY Evolution Attaché supports the most popular forms of flash media. MSRP starts at $29.99.
  • All-Terrain Attaché USB 2.0 Drive - performs in a variety of climates, weather conditions and temperatures. It is shock, dust, water and UV resistant allowing the user to carry the drive anywhere with confidence. The durable drive features a rubberized housing that comes in black or a camouflage print. The PNY All-Terrain Attaché is available in 512MB, 1GB and 2GB storage capacities for an MSRP starting at $59.99.
...PNY Technologies profile


Aleratec's 20 DVD / Hour Publisher Costs Under $3K

CES, Las Vegas - January 5, 2006 - Alera Technologies, Inc. introduced today its advanced design DVD/CD Auto Publisher One, a robotic autoloading disc duplicator with a built in inkjet label printer.

It is fully enclosed, with heavy duty metal construction protecting disc copying and printing operations. The DVD/CD Auto Publisher One has a robust 75 disc capacity that is 200% more than other enclosed desktop autoloading publishers currently available. With a 16x DVD/CD Recorder, and high speed 4800 dpi full-color photo-quality disc printer, it produces 20 typical DVDs with brilliant color labels per hour. User friendly, full featured mastering, recording and labeling software suite is included with purchase. The DVD/CD Auto Publisher One requires only one USB connection to your computer. Estimated Street Price is $2,999. ...Aleratec profile, DVD duplicators


SimpleTech Introduces 500GB iShare

CES, Las Vegas - January 5, 2006 - SimpleTech, Inc. today announced an extension to its SimpleShare NAS product line with the introduction of a 500GB version with iShare.

SimpleShare is an external storage device that connects to any network and allows multiple users to share of pictures, videos, movies, games, music and documents throughout the home or over the Internet. For additional space, storage capacity can be increased beyond 1.5T by connecting two additional USB external hard drives to the SimpleShare. About the size of a VHS tape, SimpleShare sits discreetly on a desktop and takes only minutes to install. No IT experience is required.

Digital photos and documents are now only a click away with iShare, a feature that provides remote access to data stored on a SimpleShare from anywhere via the Internet. With secure, password protected access, files can be quickly uploaded and downloaded directly to and from the SimpleShare.

Imagine being on vacation and being able to immediately upload digital pictures to a SimpleShare server for safekeeping. Unlike a camera, pictures cannot be replaced, so in the unfortunate event that the Flash card or camera is lost or stolen, irreplaceable pictures will be safely stored on the SimpleShare. Additionally, uploading pictures frees space on the Flash card allowing for more use. The SimpleShare 500GB with iShare is scheduled to begin shipping in February with a manufacturer's suggested price of $549. ...SimpleTech profile, online backup and storage


Norcent Unveils Its Line of Flash Memory Cards

Las Vegas - January 5, 2006 - Norcent will be unveiling its line of Norcent flash memory products this week at CES 2006.

The line includes CompactFlash, and SD memory cards. Users can expect approximately 100,000 erase cycles and 10,000 insertions for each style. All feature low power consumption.

High-speed Norcent CompactFlash cards are available in 512MB, to 4GB capacities. These cards are designed for D-SLR, digital still cameras, MP3 players, notebook computers, and other handheld applications. They comply with all CompactFlash specifications and are compatible with PC card ATA standards.

Norcent SD memory cards feature 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB capacities with high performance. They comply with all SD memory card specifications and include cryptographic security to protect copyrighted data and a user-selectable write-protect switch on the card casing. Pricing and Availability Norcent's flash memory products are available now at MSRPs from $35.99 to $131.99. ...Norcent profile


LaCie Launches 6 New Products

January 4, 2006 - LaCie today launched 6 new storage products which will be shown for the first time next week at Macworld Expo.
Among the products, the 4 shown on the right are from top to bottom:-
  • Little Big Disk is a 320GB portable storage device with throughput of up to 80MB/s. It includes both FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0 interfaces and costs $799. Little Big Disk also comes in a LaCie signature design by Neil Poulton, creator of the original d2 Hard Drive Series.
  • LaCie Rugged - designed to protect data against everyday bumps, bruises and hard knocks of the real world. LaCie Rugged's unique aluminum shell and rubber bumper protects it from table-height drops. 120GB model costs $359.
  • LaCie Two Big is a 115MB/s performance SATA II RAID solution with two hot-swappable drives which costs $949 for 1T.
  • LaCie Slim DVD±RW Drive is a fully portable FireWire bus-powered DVD burner with powerful Toast 7 Titanium CD/DVD burning software which costs LaCie Slim DVD±RW Design by FA Porsche $219.
...LaCie profile, Macworld, Firewire Storage, DVD, Blu-ray and Holographic drives, Storage News in Pictures
news image LaCie new storage products

Toshiba Shows Rugged Hard Drive for Auto Market

Las Vegas - January 4, 2006 - Toshiba Storage Device Division today introduced a 40GB 2.5-inch hard disk drive for use in automotive applications.

This 5th generation automotive HDD features increased storage capacity, as well as an expanded temperature specification range of -30 to +85 degrees C. It can be seen this week at CES. The 40GB 2.5-inch HDD is currently sampling to automotive and telematics customers and will ship in automotive applications in Q3 2006. These new HDDs weigh in at 96 grams and can withstand operational shock of 200g and non-operational shock of 800g, providing a rugged and dependable option for cars and SUVs as they travel through extreme temperatures and terrains across the globe. Toshiba has shipped 3 million automotive hard drives and is the leader in this market segment with 85% market share according to Techno Systems Research. ...Toshiba profile

Editor's comments:- the car is a tough environment for storage devices. The temperature extremes (particularly when parked) need almost military style operating specs, but buyers in the car companies typically want to pay ultra low prices. The potential product volumes are huge - and this is another market where hard disks and flash solid state disks will slug it out head to head.



M-Systems Ships 8GB DiskOnKey

Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas - January 4, 2006 - M-Systems today announced the availability of an 8GB DiskOnKey USB flash drive.

M-Systems will first offer the 8GB DiskOnKey through its long time partner Kingston Technology.

"We are extremely pleased to have reached this fantastic milestone of 1000X the megabyte density of the first ever DiskOnKey USB flash drive, introduced back in 2000", said Dov Moran, creator of the USB flash drive and president and CEO of M-Systems. "No doubt, the past 5 years have been nothing short of amazing, but we now believe we are at the onset of a second wave, a new paradigm shift in USB personal storage. With flash pricing and technology advancements expected to lead towards 128GB drives by 2010 - we certainly have our work cut out for us where innovation is concerned." ...M-Systems profile, Flash, USB storage


iSuppli Hosts Silicon Valley Market Briefing

El Segundo, Calif. - January 3, 2006 - iSuppli Corp. is hosting a one-day briefing in Silicon Valley, entitled: Growth Markets and Emerging Technologies at the Sainte Claire Hotel in downtown San Jose, Calif. on January 18.

iSuppli analysts will present their latest research on key topics, including:- Is there a memory technology on the horizon capable of replacing DRAM, SRAM and flash? How will new personalized premium video, music and gaming content impact the digital home? etc ...iSuppli profile, Storage Events, Market research


Kazeon Expands Executive Management Team

Mountain View, Calif. - January 3, 2006 - Kazeon today announced the appointments of Ed Bauer, as vp of sales; and Michael Marchi as vp of solution marketing.

Bauer and Marchi bring over 45 years of combined experience leading sales and marketing teams at some of the industry's leading storage technology providers, including EMC and Network Appliance. Reporting to Kazeon founder and CEO, Sudhakar Muddu, Bauer and Marchi will be responsible for developing and executing the company's sales and marketing programs to drive rapid customer adoption of the company's storage search appliance - the IS2000. ...Kazeon Systems profile, Storage People


Silicon Image Launches New Storage Processor

LAS VEGAS - January 3, 2006 - Silicon Image, Inc. today added a new processor, the SiI 4726, to its SteelVine Storage Processor portfolio.

With five high-speed (3Gbps) SATA-II ports and best-in-class performance, the SiI 4726 pushes the boundaries of affordable, reliable and scalable Direct Attached Storage solutions. The SiI 4726 enables OEMs and system integrators to offer next generation plug-and-play storage solutions with performance levels previously available only in high-cost enterprise-class implementations. The SiI 4726 can be configured for internal or external applications, and is designed to maximize uptime even in the face of multiple drive failures. It supports auto rebuild, auto fail over, hot swap and hot spare without the use of host resources.

At a speedy 100 gigabytes per hour, the SiI 4726 quickly re-establishes a mirrored drive set after a failed drive has been replaced. Capable of supporting up to 2.5T of storage, the SiI 4726 delivers over 230MB / sec of I/O throughput; supports RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 10, concatenation, and JBOD (Port Multiplier) configurations; and is capable of enabling multiple RAID partitions on single hard drives, giving the OEM the flexibility to configure the processor to meet varying combinations of capacity, performance and data protection. ...Silicon Image profile, RAID controllers


Seagate Launches New Disks at CES

Editor:- January 3, 2006 - Seagate today revealed details of two new products it will début later this week at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show.

Aimed at the notebook market, Seagate's 160GB 2.5" Portable Hard Drive is the industry's first portable hard drive built with perpendicular recording technology. Meanwhile targeting the SOHO backup market, Seagate's 500GB eSATA Pushbutton Back-up Hard Drive provides external data backup and protection at 300MB/s interface rate, which is up to 5 times faster than storage solutions using external USB 2.0, or 1394a.disk based products. ...Seagate profile


Dragon Hard Drives use Agere Chips

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - January 3, 2006 - Agere Systems today announced that its TrueStore consumer electronics chip set is being used by Cornice in its 8 and 10GB Dragon Series micro hard drives.

"As demand for new video applications continues to increase the storage requirements in portable electronics, Cornice's Dragon Series delivers the highest capacity points currently available in a 1.0-inch form factor, with thinner designs suitable for mobile phones and other portable consumer handheld products," said Camillo Martino, president and CEO of Cornice Inc. "Agere's storage portfolio and system-level understanding of small-form-factor designs have enabled Cornice to raise the bar in performance, power savings and cost-per-gigabyte."

The explosion of portable content devices is fueling demand for more gigabytes of storage than is economically feasible using flash memory. Agere is the industry leader in read channel ICs and storage systems-on-a-chip for the fixed and portable consumer electronics markets. More than 19 million 1.0-inch storage devices on the market today contain Agere electronics. ...Agere profile, ...Cornice profile


Cornice & Hitachi Cross License HDD Technology

LONGMONT, CO - January 3, 2006 - Cornice Inc. - today announced that it has signed a long-term patent cross-license agreement with Hitachi GST covering each company's respective world-wide patent portfolios.

Under the agreement, Cornice and Hitachi will cross license their hard drive patent portfolios, thereby allowing each company access to two of the industry's most innovative patent portfolios....Cornice profile, ...Hitachi profile

Editor's comments:- this technology licensing will create confidence in Cornice's oem customers that the company is not going to be shredded by lawsuits. In June 2004 Western Digital and Seagate both initiated lawsuits against Cornice related to alleged patent infringement.



New Name in SAS Storage

Editor:- January 3, 2006 - a new company Terabytes Server Storage Tech (TST) was formed recently by a spinoff of people and technology from Enlight Corp USA.

TST includes the designer of the award winning Serial Attached SCSI racks, previously marketed by Enlight, and also includes an expanded product line. ...TST profile , Serial Attached SCSI, renamed storage companies


Intel Fanfares New Brand

Editor:- January 3, 2006 - Intel Corp today announced it has changed its logo.

The company says - "The new brand identity involves changes to the widely recognized Intel Inside® logo that was created in 1991, and the original Intel "dropped-e" logo, which was created by Silicon Valley pioneers Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore 37 years ago as they were forming their new "integrated electronics" company."

Changing the logo will be a very expensive exercise and in my opinion must be the stupidest decision that the company has made since it abandoned the 64 bit x86 compatible processor market to AMD. It ranks alongside other classic airbrained marketing changes as the new Coke fiasco - two decades or so ago - and suggests that top level management in Intel either doesn't have enough to do - or prefers dealing with self created problems rather than real ones which originate from the market.

I don't think that the marketing people at Intel can read much, apart from internal presentations - otherwise someone might have pointed out that their new tag line "Intel. Leap ahead" - reminds me of Chairman Mao's "Great Leap Forward". I know that China has changed a lot for the better, but I think that creating a mental link with an old fashioned communist slogan is not the best thing for Intel's shareholders.

Intel's rebranding fiasco might well be associated in future with another well known communist slogan, this time from Lenin:- "One step forward, two steps back."

I asked the world leading naming and branding guru Naseem Javed to comment on this story. He referred me to his previously published article When the Branding Circus Comes to Town which "explains how corporations often fall victim to unnecessary and overly used branding gimmicks all in the name of re-energisation."

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