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Storage and SSD news - 2006, June week 1

the SSD Heresies
storage news archive
How Solid is Hard Disk's Future?
Will Hard Disks Get Faster? - (20k RPM)
Sanitization Methods for Cleaning Up Hard Disk Drives
Calling for an End to Unrealistic SSD vs HDD IOPS Comparisons
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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Seagate Launches New 2.5" Notebook Drives

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. - June 7, 2006 - Seagate Technology today announced 3 new families of 2.5-inch notebook hard drives, each with upto 160GB capacity.
  • The Momentus 5400 PSD (Power-Saving Drive) drive brings together a high performance hard drive and flash memory in a single hybrid device. Seagate's 5,400 RPM drive duplicates the most commonly used hard drive data onto a 256MB non-volatile cache. (Editor - as with Samsung's hybrid drive launched last month - the new Seagate drive potentially offers faster performance, lower power and greater reliability than a pure hard disk at a lower cost than a pure solid state disk.)
  • Momentus 5400.2 FDE provides an easy, cost-effective way to prevent unauthorized access to all notebook PC data, not just selected files or partitions, in case the system or disc drive is lost, stolen, retired or resold. The 5,400-RPM drive's hardware-based full disc encryption delivers significantly stronger protection against hacking and tampering than traditional encryption approaches by securely performing all cryptographic operations and key management within the drive.
  • Momentus 7200.2 - with 7,200 RPM spin speed, 8 MB of cache and up to 160GB of capacity, Momentus 7200.2 delivers the industry's highest capacity and performance in a 2.5-inch notebook hard drive.
The entire Momentus series is built tough to withstand up to 900Gs of non-operating shock and 350Gs of operating shock to protect drive data, making them ideal for environments where systems are bounced around or subject to high levels of vibration. ...Seagate profile

MicroNet Technology Announces the Platinum RAID Pro

Torrance, CA - June 7, 2006 - MicroNet Technology today announced the immediate availability of the Platinum RAID Pro.

The Platinum RAID Pro features up to 3.75T (5x750GB) capacity with the speed and fault tolerance of a hardware RAID controller, speeds exceeding 110MB/Sec with parity protection, and a triple interface including SATA, FireWire 800, and USB 2.0. The sleek, compact enclosure (approx. 12x10x8 inches), weighs less than 21 pounds and features a carrying handle for easy transport. Portability is assured with full MacOS X and Windows 98 through 2003 compatibility. ...MicroNet Technology profile, RAID systems

IBM First Server OEM to Offer GoVault Backup Disks

SAN JOSE, Calif. - June 7, 2006 - IBM has become the first OEM distributor to ship Quantum's GoVault removable disk backup.

IBM is making the 80GB GoVault drive available as a low-cost removable storage option within its popular System x server family. With a transfer rate of 94GB per hour, the GoVault provides backup and restores along with a durable, long-term cartridge archive life. Additionally, Quantum includes password protection on the GoVault cartridges to provide data security in the event a cartridge is lost or stolen. ...Quantum profile, Disk to disk backup

Tape Encryption by NeoScale Safeguards US Identities

MILPITAS, Calif. - June 7, 2006 - Qsent has selected NeoScale CryptoStor Tape appliances to keep the information in its multi-terabyte, multibillion-record databases safe from unauthorized access and theft.

Qsent is a trusted authority in online contact authentication services. The company's databases provide accurate, up-to-date customer information, including telephone numbers and street addresses for individuals, companies and government agencies throughout the United States.

"Customers trust us to give them accurate information that enables them to make better business decisions. They also trust us to keep that information secure. We don't want to worry about our name appearing in the press because of a security breach," says Derek Olsen, Qsent's UNIX systems administrator. "To keep our databases as accurate as possible, we update them every 24 hours. We also need to ensure that our mirrored data centers in Portland and Chicago are in synch, for disaster recovery purposes. Because the databases are too large to do this efficiently in real time over the network, we have to ship tapes between the data centers. And that means making sure that the data remains secure, even when it leaves our facility."

In consultation with its technology partner, Tactix, Qsent evaluated three different products to encrypt the data stored on high-performance LTO-3 tape cartridges in its tape libraries, which are connected via Fibre Channel links to the company's storage area network. Says Olsen, "As we got into the implementation details, it became clear that for usability and support, NeoScale was really the only option."

Qsent purchased NeoScale CryptoStor Tape 700 appliances for each of its data centers. The NeoScale appliance sits in front of the tape library and compresses, encrypts, and digitally authenticates data as it goes to tape. Tightly integrated with Qsent's existing Veritas NetBackup solution, the NeoScale appliance applies the NetBackup encryption policies, so that different tapes going to different locations can be encrypted using different policies - with no human intervention.

"Tapes being shipped to another data center or to our tape-vaulting broker are automatically created using a stronger security algorithm than tapes that remain in the library," says Olsen.

Through global key management, data encrypted on one NeoScale CyptoStor appliance can automatically be decrypted using another CryptoStor appliance, which was a key advantage for Qsent. According to Olsen, "Sharing encrypted data between like devices in geographically disparate sites is important to us, because we often use the back-up infrastructure to get large sets of data from Portland to Chicago - and vice versa - to keep the mirrors in place. With NeoScale, we can do this easily and quickly, whereas some of the competitive products we evaluated did not have this feature." ...NeoScale profile, Storage Security, Tape drives

Addonics New Hard Drive Enclosure for 2.5" IDE Drives

SAN JOSE, CA - June 6 2006 - Addonics Technologies today announced a family of hard drive enclosures for 2.5-inch IDE hard drives with the debut of its Jupiter enclosure series.

Jupiter includes all the important features required in a portable hard drive: a rugged anodized aluminum housing for use in harsh environment; light weight and compact size for portability; shock mount technology to protect the drive against vibration and drop from the top of a desk. The Jupiter enclosure accepts any manufacturer's 2.5-inch IDE hard drive with drive height of 10mm or less. The Jupiter drive enclosure also comes with choice of hardware encryption, called Jupiter Cipher, which encrypts and decrypts the entire hard drives in real time.

The Jupiter drive enclosure, designed with Addonics USIB interface connector, can be used as an external hard drive via a USB, eSATA, Firewire or CardBus connection by attaching different Addonics USIB interface cables. Using the optional drive cradle that mounts easily into any standard 3.5" drive bay, the drive enclosure can also be used as an IDE removable hard drive or as a hot swappable drive cartridge via USB or SATA connection. The drive enclosure is designed to be powered either by the USB port, Firewire port or an external power adapter. ...Addonics profile, Storage Boxes

Lite-On IT Plans Blu-ray Drives this Summer

Eindhoven, The Netherlands - June 6 2006 - Lite-On IT announces production of Blu-ray Disc compatible drives this summer.

The first Lite-On branded drive incorporating Blu-ray technology will be the LH-2B1S due to be available in August 2006 in the UK market. As with other Lite-On products this drive will also be compatible with DVD+/_R(W) media and CD-R(W) media.

The Blu-ray format provides more than 5x the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and thus can hold up to 50GB of data on a double-layer BD disc or 25GB on a single layer disc. By using the new blue-violet laser users can record, rewrite and playback high definition video as well as storing exceptionally large amounts of data. Lite-On IT is capable of producing high quality, optical disc drives in considerable volume from Guangzhou Science Park plant (China) with a current production capacity of over 5 million drives per month. ...Lite-On IT profile

Continuous Data Protection for Microsoft SharePoint

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - June 6 2006 - TimeSpring Software Corp. announced the immediate availability of TimeData for Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services.

Unlike other backup systems, including the SharePoint Per-site Backup and Restore feature, TimeData continuously captures all SharePoint data as it changes in real-time to an on- or offsite repository. There are no protection gaps, no scheduling requirements, no backup related system slowdowns and no backup windows for the administrator to manage. ...TimeSpring profile, Backup Software

BlueArc Secures Another $29 million Funding

San Jose, Calif. - June 6, 2006 - BlueArc Corp today announced that it has secured $29 million in equity financing led by new investor Morgenthaler Ventures and including financial support from existing BlueArc investors and new investors Chevron Technology Ventures and Wasatch Advisors.

This funding will enable BlueArc to expand its field sales and services team throughout North America and Europe to help meet growing demand for the company's products, and to increase the company's presence and reach to deliver the world's best network storage solution to a broader customer base.

In a separate release issued today, BlueArc announced that the company has achieved the #2 position in High-End NAS, according to Gartner, for the second consecutive year. BlueArc also was listed as the fastest-growing company in the High-End NAS market for the third consecutive year. BlueArc

Editor's comments:- with approximately $150 million venture capital funding to date, BlueArc is the 7th largest beneficiary of VC Funds in Storage.

Intel Expands Commitment to NOR Flash Market

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - June 6, 2006 - Intel Corp today disclosed that it will expand its portfolio of NOR flash memory products for the embedded market.

The company outlined plans to introduce a 3-volt version of its StrataFlash Embedded Memory architecture. Intel also disclosed that it will enter the fast-growing serial flash segment with its first Serial Peripheral Interface product. Analysts estimate that the NOR embedded flash market segments (excluding handsets) will reach $2 billion to $3 billion in 2006, with SPI flash memory one of the fastest growing segments. ...Intel profile, Flash, storage chips

Editor's note:- Intel's StrataFlash stores 2 bits of data in each single transistor memory cell using multi-level reads and writes (not the traditional binary - 2 different states). Although transparent to external devices this packs in very high data density.

Infortrend Launches 2U 4Gbps SAN Storage

TAIPEI, Taiwan, - June 6, 2006 - Infortrend is unveiling new 2U models in the company's 4Gbit per second Fibre Channel to SATA-II RAID subsystem line at COMPUTEX TAIPEI this week.

Available in single controller, 8- or 12-bay systems (the EonStor A08F-G2422 and ES A12F-G2422, respectively), the new arrays combine the high performance, reliability, and scalability of FC-4G host interfaces with the low cost and high capacity benefits of 3Gbps SATA drive technology. ...Infortrend profile, SAN, RAID systems, Rackmount Storage

Appro to Distribute Terrascale's TerraGrid Suite

McLEAN, VA - June 6, 2006 - Terrascale Technologies announced today that its TerraGrid Suite of storage software and hardware appliances will be resold by Appro.

"Appro has an excellent reputation for product innovation and top-notch customer service", said Gautham Sastri, President and CEO, Terrascale Technologies. "We are pleased to join forces..." ...APPRO International profile, ...Terrascale Technologies profile, US Storage VARs, InfiniBand

Toshiba Demonstrates 200G 2.5" Hard Drive

IRVINE, Calif. - June 5, 2006 - Toshiba Storage Device Division today introduced a 200GB 2.5-inch hard disk drive based on advanced Perpendicular Magnetic Recording technology.

Toshiba's second-generation PMR disk features the world's highest areal density at 178.8 gigabits per square inch and the highest capacity in the standard 9.5mm mobile PC format. The 200GB dual-platter MK2035GSS is Toshiba's first PMR drive to incorporate tunnel magneto-resistive recording head technology. Toshiba's new 2.5-inch HDD is lightweight at 98 grams and incorporates the SATA II interface with native command queuing, enabling faster data transfer rates and improved technical performance. The company will showcase the new disk this week at Computex. ...Toshiba profile, Hard disk drives, Storage Events

Rambus Notches Up 500th Patent

LOS ALTOS, California - June 1, 2006 - Rambus Inc. today announced that it has been granted its 500th patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and foreign patent offices.

Rambus' growing patent portfolio includes fundamental inventions in the area of memory design, high-speed interfaces, package layout, and system design. One such invention recently awarded United States Patent 6,675,272 is used in Rambus' FlexPhase circuit technology. FlexPhase eliminates trace-length matching and corrects for timing mismatches in complex circuit designs, and was first demonstrated in Rambus' XDR memory architecture. ...Rambus profile, storage chips

LSI Logic Launches Low Profile RAID Controllers

MILPITAS, Calif. - June 1, 2006 - LSI Logic Corp today announced its first low-profile SAS RAID storage adapters.

The new MegaRAID SAS 8308ELP and SAS 8344ELP PCI Express adapters offer eight ports of SAS connectivity for server and workstation environments requiring the flexibility to use either 3 Gb/s SAS or SATA II drives, or a combination of both. The new adapters include MegaRAID Patrol Read, a unique feature that scans attached disk media for bad blocks and prohibits further writing of data to them, improving overall reliability and data integrity. ...LSI Logic profile, RAID controllers

M-Systems Delays Public Offering

KFAR SABA, Israel - June 1, 2006 - M-Systems Flash Disk Pioneers Ltd. announced today that it has, on its own initiative, commenced an internal review of prior stock option grants.

The company has therefore decided not to proceed at this time with the public offering announced last week. ...M-Systems profile

OfficeWare Replaces iSCSI SAN with Faster Storage

Minneapolis - June 1, 2006 - OfficeWare, a full service business equipment dealership, has selected Compellent's Storage Center SAN to reduce the time and complexity of managing storage and increase performance for critical business applications.

With its previous iSCSI-only SAN, OfficeWare was experiencing considerable delays when copying files and starting up or shutting down servers. When preparing to install a core business management application, the team realized they needed a SAN with higher performance to support OfficeWare's ongoing growth.

"To take our IT organization to the next level of service we needed a flexible, high performance storage solution that could be easily managed by a small staff," said Chris Resch, chief technology officer for OfficeWare. "With Storage Center we get performance with Fibre Channel, flexibility with iSCSI and extraordinary ease-of-use that has slashed our storage management time by 50%."

With the Compellent solution, OfficeWare has seen a three-fold increase in transfer rates, while having the flexibility to connect servers via both Fibre Channel and/or iSCSI at any time. Compellent integrates iSCSI and Fibre Channel server connectivity into a single hardware and software architecture. ...Compellent profile

Intel disclosed it would expand its portfolio of NOR MLC StrataFlash memory products for the NOR embedded market estimated by analysts to be worth $3 billion in 2006 - see news below (June 6, 2006)

Storage Drive Innovations Blossom from Proprietary Shoots
by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - June 2006

If you've been in the computer market for a long time you'll have noticed a certain "sameness" in the products and features offered by different manufacturers.

PCs and servers from different companies use pretty much the same processors as 10 years ago (Intel compatible or Unix RISC dinosaur). Only difference - the clock rates have gone up a bit, and you now get multiple processors in one chip package.

Operating systems offer a smaller range of diversity than 10 years ago. The basic choice is still between "Windows something" from Microsoft and some flavor of Unix.

PCs, servers and laptops in the same price range offer similar performance and features from different suppliers. If you didn't look at the designer label on your new box - you would rarely know, or care, who made it (or who badge engineered it).

With a few honorable exceptions in the consumer market such as Apple's iPod, where ease of use and appearance are rated highly enough to break the mould (and command a higher price) - most IT products seem to be bland and interchangeable. Standardization is behind this, and it's a good thing, because it leads to more competitive markets and lower prices (for the same narrow set of functions).

Proprietary has become a dirty word in the IT market.

The "P word" is not quite as rude as the "F word" but you rarely hear companies raving about their proprietary credentials. "Open Systems" sound so much cleaner and nicer. But let's not forget that ALL innovation starts out as someone's unique original proprietary idea or technology.

Marketing programs such as licensing and standards consortiums often convert the raw proprietary technology into a more widely adopted "standard". But if it wasn't for the lure of profit and advantage offered by new proprietary products - the industry would stifle under the weight of ever faster but obsolete technology - solving the problems deemed important by earlier generations of techies who are now reaching retirement / the upper levels of corporate management / (the same thing).

The storage market is an area where standards have always been very important. Storage manufacturers have to fit in with an ecosystem which is largely dictated by PC and server companies. Complying with standards guarantees a bigger base of compatible slots which the storage can be sold into, and hence a bigger market.

But in the past month we've been seeing some important changes to this idea. A whole bunch of manufacturers have introduced storage drives with proprietary features which offer added value benefits to the systems which use them. Here are just a few of the examples.
  • Seagate launched a hard drive with built-in encryption, and Addonics launched a low cost enclosure which will add encryption to any manufacturer's 2.5" hard drive.
  • SiliconSystems launched a solid state disk which includes security zoning (which controls access rights to different segments of the disk) in addition to a range of conventional disk sanitization options - which have been around in some form or other in the SSD industry for several years now - but haven't migrated yet to hard drives.
Other innovative drives which have come to my attention in the past year include:-
  • ProStor Systems' RDX removable disk which uses a new patent-pending error correcting format, which makes the data 1,000 times more recoverable than in a standard hard drive.
  • Plasmon's Compliant write once UDO optical media. Using a special "shred" operation, targeted data sectors can be physically destroyed. Unlike the erase pass on magnetic disks, the shred operation on phase change media leaves no residual traces of previously written data.
  • Adtron's diskpak, which has 2 RAID mirrored IDE hard drives in a standard 3.5" form factor aimed at embedded high reliability applications.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the underlying themes in the examples I've mentioned above are security and reliability. In an article last year I predicted that these would be 2 of the 3 main driving forces affecting storage during the next handful of years.

So next time someone mentions the "P word" (Proprietary) in a product pitch don't dismiss what follows until you hear what's actually being said. It could be the new solution to your new storage problems.

See later:- Decloaking hidden segments in the flash enterprise
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In many ways the enterprise SSD market resembles a jungle and the creatures within it are evolving fast.

The bugs haven't read the blurb on the bug spray - and don't realize they are supposed to stay away - or be dead.
the Survivor's Guide to enterprise SSDs

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