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storage history - 2007, February week 4

. Megabyte's selection of storage news
Megabyte loved reading news
about the storage market
SSD jargon
the Fastest SSDs
the Top 10 SSD Companies
Is the SSD Market Recession-Proof?
Enterprise flash - the Survive and Thrive Guide
Exiting the Astrological Age of Enterprise SSD Pricing
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iSCSI HBA Support Inside the Linux Kernel ..............................
ALISO VIEJO, Calif - February 28, 2007 - QLogic Corp today announced the availability of the industry's first iSCSI HBA functionality to be accepted into the "upstream" Linux kernel.

For the first time Linux system administrators can easily deploy fully tested and supported iSCSI networks right out of the box.

QLogic worked with the Linux community to enhance the iSCSI transport (user as well as kernel mode) to incorporate iSCSI offload HBA support into the Linux kernel within the open iSCSI model.

This includes definition of how iSCSI offload HBAs appear, target discovery, creation and management of offloaded iSCSI sessions, and provisions for coherent use of open iSCSI and HBA-specific device management. These changes benefit not only QLogic customers, but other iSCSI HBA vendors and users of software initiators who can now seamlessly manage iSCSI via the new framework. ...QLogic profile

Hard Disk MTBF Specs Incredible - Say User Reports

Editor:- February 28, 2007 - an article published today in Channel Insider - "Hard Disk MTBF: Flap or Farce? - casts serious doubt on the inflated MTBF claims made by all hard disk manufacturers.

Reviewing a number of recently published reliability studies from end users - the author David Morgenstern says "...there's a gap between the reliability expectations of manufacturers and customers. The current MTBF model isn't accounting accurately for how drives are handled in the field and how they function inside systems." the article, storage reliability

Good News about SSDs Attracts Another Pilgrim

Editor:- February 27, 2007 - Texas Memory Systems has published a case study showing how European fashion jewelry company Pilgrim got a 20x speedup throughout its enterprise applications using a RamSan-400 solid state disk.

PILGRIM's configuration was a two-tiered SQL server run by Axapta. They were able to eliminate the network from the investigation after discovering their SAN had bandwidth to spare. Eventually the culprit was discovered – the storage subsystem, currently an IBM DS4300. While the system was designed to be fast, it was unable to keep up with the intense, random IO of burst periods.

Pilgrim's SysAdmin Anders Schack Petersen first considered expanding the lagging storage subsystem. Fortunately he was also closely following the development of online massive multiplayer game EVE-Online. Its developers, CCP Games, had used a RamSan SSD to eliminate performance bottleneck associated with up to 30,000 concurrent users on a SQL Server database. Petersen said "Their excitement with the RamSan led us to contact them about their experiences, which in turn led us to try a demo version..." the article, ...Texas Memory Systems profile, ...Pilgrim

Free Tool Helps You Assess Benefits of SRM

Tampa, FL - February 27, 2007 - NORTHERN today announces the release of a free storage analysis tool that gives organizations a fast and simple way of assessing capacity utilization and determining their need for Storage Resource Management.

Nearly all organizations are experiencing massive data growth, creating a need to manage that data. But not all these organizations recognize the need for a dedicated SRM tool. Northern's free storage analysis tool gives managers all they information they to begin the process of deciding whether to implement an SRM solution. Users simply point the tool to a given path and within minutes they'll receive an easy-to-read report on available space, files types stored (i.e., media files), who your top "users" are as well as "age" information on the files that are candidates for archiving/deletion/migration. ...Northern profile

Small Business Technology Magazine Honors Big Seagate

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif - February 27, 2007 - Seagate Technology today announced that its Mirra Sync and Share Personal Server was a 2006 Product of the Year Finalist for the second year in a row in Small Business Technology Magazine.

Seagate's product provides automatic, continuous backup to a central location on a small office or home network. It also includes a free online service for remotely accessing files and a 3 year data guarantee. If a user is unable to recover lost data Seagate will help restore it and spend up to $1,000 for forensic data recovery services to do so. ...Seagate profile

HP Acquires PolyServe

PALO ALTO, Calif. - February 26, 2007 - HP today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire PolyServe, Inc.

HP says the acquisition provides an entry point into the enterprise NAS market and allows the company to extend NAS technology to blades. ...HP profile, ...PolyServe profile

Marvell Promises Aggressive Innovation in SAS Chips

Santa Clara, California - February 26, 2007 - Marvell today announced its entrance into the Serial Attached SCSI controller market by offering host and RAID controller silicon and software solutions for workstations, servers, and external storage systems.

Marvell's new SAS controllers will complement the Company's strong market presence in the SATA host controller market, and will offer high performance coupled with a significant reduction in both power consumption and footprint versus other solutions. Marvell will be the only silicon provider to offer a true end-to-end solution for both SAS and SATA host controllers and hard disk drive electronics.

"Marvell's solutions will raise the bar for performance, power consumption, footprint, and cost-effectiveness in a silicon market that has been devoid of aggressive innovation," says Dr. Alan Armstrong, VP of Marketing for Marvell's Storage Business Group. "We can capitalize on this market of too few viable competitors by leveraging our strong enterprise storage expertise to offer performance and cost advantages to our customers." ...Marvell profile, storage chips, RAID controllers

Nexsan Launches Searchable Archive Appliance

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif - February 26, 2007 - Nexsan Technologies today announced its Assureon SA Searchable Archive Appliance.

It's a disk-based archiving solution with over 10T of raw storage with a base price of $65,000. Users can search for documents by date; special fields such as title, location, size and author; and keywords and/or phrases. Document-level security ensures that users will not see documents for which they do not have access permission.

Assureon SA is a second-generation CAS appliance that allows simple integration for archiving, e-discovery, email and more. Its secure storage architecture delivers a comprehensive array of intelligent features including constant monitoring of file integrity, Lifecycle Management, file authentication, missing file alerts, and support for remote replication. Data integrity and security is assured with RAID 6 protection, which prevents the risk of data loss even if two drives fail, and WORM disk functionality that provides non-erasable, non-rewritable functionality. ...Nexsan Technologies profile

Editor's note:-
when Nexsan launched its first Assureon system in August 2005 the cost was "approximately $4,500 per terabyte". Adding search seems to have increased the price by about 40%. Search seems to be a good value added feature.

SMART Launches 2.5" SATA SSDs

FREMONT, Calif - February 26, 2007 - SMART Modular Technologies Inc. has launched a new line of 2.5" solid state drives.

SMART's 20GB XceedUltra U100 has a SATA interface and achieves achieves sustained read speeds of 100MB/s and write speeds of 60MB/s. Compared to a traditional 7,200 RPM SATA hard drive, the XceedUltra U100 demonstrates a 5X speed improvement in sequential write speeds and a 2X speed improvement in sequential read speeds. A 40GB version is scheduled for release in spring 2007.

"Solid state drives are accelerating their presence across enterprise, military, medical, and industrial markets. With the lower price points for NAND flash, SSD suppliers are seeing more opportunities for the application of their products and are now targeting emerging and highly data-intensive applications traditionally reserved for hard disk drives," observed Walker Blount, SSD and Mobile HDD analyst at Web-Feet Research. ...SMART Modular Technologies profile

Editor's comments:-
the full text of this press release misleadingly suggests the XceedUltra is the fastest 2.5" SATA flash SSD. But a quick storage search reveals that Mtron's 2.5" products have a write speed which is 33% faster.

If speed is your thing then RAM based SSDs still have an edge over flash. Curtis has a 3.5" fibre-channel SSD which sustains 190MB/s and in rackmount form factor Texas Memory Systems exceeds 3,000 MB/s.

What's really interesting is that the capacity gap between HDDs and SSDs is closing in the smaller form factors like 1.8" and 2.5". And in a few years SSDs may offer more capacity in these smaller packages - making them more attractive for high density blade server applications.

Overland's New RAID Box Now Available

SAN DIEGO - February 26, 2007 - Overland Storage, Inc. today announced the ULTAMUS RAID 1200 storage array now is available.

With 4Gbps Fibre Channel host connectivity it houses up to 12 SATA II or SAS drives and up to 9T of storage capacity in each compact 2U rack-mountable enclosure. The extensible system can scale up to 60 drives and accommodates upto 45 TB of data. MSRP of $18,325 starts from $18,325. ...Overland Storage profile, RAID systems

Vista Loves WD Hard Drives (Says WD)

LAKE FOREST, Calif - February 26, 2007 - hard drives from Western Digital Corp. earned the highest score possible when tested with the Windows Experience Index utility, a new feature in Windows Vista.

The results indicate that the new Vista OS will run optimally when installed on WD Caviar SE16 7,200 RPM 500G and WD Raptor 10,000 RPM 150G SATA hard drives. The Windows Experience Index measures performance capabilities of PCs and their components and calculates a score telling users how well the OS will run using those components. WD tested the drives in its performance lab in Lake Forest, Calif. ...Western Digital profile, Hard disk drives

Will Killing RAID - "Do No Harm"

Editor:- February 23, 2007 - the death of RAID in the enterprise can be inferred from an article published in Techworld which discusses Google's distributed file system.

Google, best known for its web search engine, also makes storage appliances and this week launched a software suite called Google Apps to compete with Microsoft's Office. Google Apps also includes 10 GBs of online storage per user and costs just $50 per year. That must be enough to send shivers down the spines of many in the online storage business.

How long will it be before Google sets its sights on the storage infrastructure market?

Their company overview says "Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

That places RAID, backup, virtualization and everything else in the frame. Although it might take a few years - if successful - Google could become one of the top 20 storage companies in the world. The only self limiting factor might be that they are a pure Linux company. So until operating systems become obsolete - there might be a breathing space for heterogeneous storage vendors. the article, ...Google profile, article:- The Google File System (pdf)

Samsung Shipped 0.1 billion OneNAND Flash Chips in 2006

Seoul, Korea – February 22, 2007 - Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today announced that it produced 117 million units of its 512Mb OneNAND Flash fusion memory in 2006, a 130% increase in volume from 2005.

The popular device is the first fusion memory chip, a device that fuses a single-level-cell NAND core with SRAM and logic elements to emulate a NOR Flash interface. First targeted at the handset market, OneNAND has also been used in a wide range of products including digital still cameras, hybrid hard drives and set-top boxes for HDTV. ...Samsung profile

the Burning Issue of Data Recovery

Editor:- February 22, 2007 - if you want to see a disk drive burning - Disklabs has recently put a tv news clip on YouTube.

Disklabs recovered data from a bunch of hard drives and saved the jobs of 100 people in a UK aircraft logistics company. ...view the video clip, ...Disklabs profile, Data Recovery

New Storage Thinking Tank

Editor:- February 22, 2007 - a new (to me) storage publication is Wikibon.

It's tagline is "The Storage Thinking Tank". It includes articles, opinions and comments about a range of storage issues. It also has a bee in its logo and so I've added it to my article:- Animal Brands and Metaphors in the Storage Market. ...Wikibon, Storage publications
A New Chapter in the Hard Disk Market Story
In March 2007 - commented on the overheating market for 2.5" SATA solid state disks...

"There are now more oems now making 2.5" SSDs (22) than make hard drives."

You can see the full list in the 2.5" SSD Buyers Guide

In 2003 we published our prediction that the SSD market would become a $10 billion plus market, and released the first edition of our SSD market penetration model which described in detail where SSDs would be used and why they would be adopted very much faster than anyone expected based on simplistic price per gigabyte considerations.

Marketers and company presidents throughout the SSD industry in established companies and new start ups have commented how useful the model was in alerting them to new opportunities which had previously been experienced in a fragmented form.

As predicted in 2003, once the SSD market had moved past the $1 billion revenue milestone (in 2006), market analysts (the usual suspects and some others which had long tracked the flash market) leapt on the bandwagon and started pouring out competing predictions that place the eventual size of the SSD market anywhere from $5 billion to $10 billion in the next several years.

You can see how the SSD market moved from technical obscurity into the mainstream in our 20 year timeline article:- Charting the Rise of the Solid State Disk Market.

Is the hard disk market under threat from SSDs?

Some parts are already becoming an endangered species - as decribed in my article - Who's Eating Whom in the Storage Market?. But the threat to hard disks is not the same as that we discussed in 2001 when we started saying why disk to disk backup would eventually kill tape backup. (Tape is a market which is still surviving - but not growing - in isolated enclaves).

In contrast hard disks will survive and thrive but not in the same applications which dominate the hard disk market today.

Instead hard disks will predominantly be used as an archive media (for movies, email and other bulk content). Looking ahead 5 years to 2012 it will be rare to see a hard disk directly attached to a high performance server - except as part of a RAID system or D2d backup system connected by a storage network.

The storage hierarchy will be rewritten as:- core processor, core chip cache, motherboard cache, DRAM, SSD and then hard disk storage - with the SSD being the new factor (as predicted in 2004 - supported in the operating system).

Other storage publications mainly write about the market after things have happened. We do that here too. But from time to time I dust off the crystal ball and share its revelations with the most important segment in the storage market... that's You - the reader.

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the Top 20 Most Popular Storage Search Categories
The top 20 most popular storage categories on in January 2007 were as follows... Figures in brackets (n) indicate rank the month before.
  1. Disk to disk backup (1)
  2. Hard drives (2)
  3. Solid state disks (3)
  4. NAS (4)
  5. RAID systems (5)
  6. Removable Storage (8)
  7. Flash memory (7)
  8. Serial ATA (SATA) (9)
  9. Boxes & enclosures (14)
  10. Serial Attached SCSI (11)
  11. Backup software (10)
  12. Data Recovery - new entry to top 20
  13. iSCSI (15)
  14. Optical Libraries (16)
  15. Market research & analysts (6)
  16. SAN (13)
  17. USB storage (12)
  18. RAM - new entry to top 20
  19. Acquired, dead, renamed etc (19)
  20. RAID controllers - new entry to top 20
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