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Storage news - 2007, November week 4

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CommVault Slashes 90% Off Backup Time

OCEANPORT, N.J. - November 29, 2007 - CommVault today announced that it has slashed the time it takes to do full backups and restores for Crutchfield Corp. from 48 hours to 5 hours compared to a previous solution from Symantec.

Selling electronics directly to consumers technology plays a major role at Crutchfield where a 14-person IT infrastructure team oversees 120 Microsoft servers running Windows 2003, SQL Server 2005, Exchange 2003 and SharePoint Portal Server 2007. The company also supports a growing storage environment comprising EMC SANs and 8 terabytes of storage that's increasing each year.

After a storage growth spurt overtaxed the company's existing backup and recovery foundation, Crutchfield decided to deploy best-of-class disk-to-disk-to-tape hardware and more robust data protection software.

The evaluation of competing software alternatives coincided with a deployment of Microsoft SharePoint, which added item-level recovery of SharePoint files to its top selection criteria. As one of the first vendors to support this level of granular backup and recovery for SharePoint, CommVault was selected over Symantec Veritas NetBackup and EMC Networker, both of which would have required Crutchfield to rebuild an entire SharePoint system offline from tape for restores. In contrast, CommVault's first SharePoint recovery took less than an hour.

Crutchfield also leverages CommVault's on-the-fly tape encryption to ensure complete compliance with Payment Card Industry regulations while its "set it and forget it" operation and system-state backup feature have virtually eliminated administrative overhead. ...CommVault Systems profile

Micron Joins the SSD Pack

Boise, Idaho - November 28, 2007 - Micron Technology, Inc., today entered the growing SSD market by announcing its RealSSD family of products.

Offered in 1.8" and 2.5" form factors, with upto 64GB capacity, Micron's USB / SATA SSDs are designed for computing, enterprise server and networking applications. Micron is now sampling these products with mass production expected by the end of 2007.

"SSDs are becoming the new storage medium, fundamentally altering the way data is stored," said Dean Klein, Micron VP of memory system development. "The storage market is ripe for innovation, and it's an opportunity Micron is embracing given our expertise in NAND. We know how to manage NAND flash to work best with controllers, allowing us to develop an optimized SSD solution for every application." ...Micron profile

Editor's comments:- that brings the number of active SSD oems up to 60, and the number of 2.5" SSD oems to 28. That may seem like a lot - but you ain't seen nothing yet. If you look at how many oems make RAID systems for example and consider that the SSD market will soon be bigger in revenue than the RAID market is today - you can see where this is going.

USB 3 Spec Anticipated 1H 2008

BEAVERTON, Ore - November 28, 2007 - The USB 3.0 Promoter Group is looking for additional contributors to its initial draft of the group's proposed specification with a goal to have it completed by the first half of 2008.

SuperSpeed USB will create a backward-compatible standard with the same ease-of-use and plug-and-play capabilities of previous USB computer connection technologies, ports and cabling. The personal USB interconnect is targeting to deliver over 10x the speed of today's connection and will be optimized for lower power and improved protocol efficiency.

...Later:- the 1st USB 3 storage devices were announced for imminent shipment in 2009 Q4.

Toshiba Samples 6th Generation Car Drive

IRVINE, Calif - November 27, 2007 - Toshiba Storage Device Division today said it is sampling its 6th generation automotive-grade hard disk line which includes a single-platter 80GB 4,200 RPM ATA-7 offering.

Toshiba has shipped more than 7 million automotive-grade HDDs since introducing the industry's first automotive-grade HDD in 2001 and has 85% market share in the automotive-class HDD segment.

"Car navigation systems built around fast, high-capacity HDDs are getting more popular in the Japanese and European markets, a trend that is soon expected to come to North America" said Toshio Magome, senior director, Techno Systems Research.

New opportunities are emerging globally for HDDs in cars as China begins to rapidly deploy navigation solutions, and the US and European markets gain momentum in integrating high-end infotainment solutions to add differentiation to top-of-the-line models.

Editor's comments:- Toshiba sampled their previous (5th) generation 40G auto drive in January 2006. Seagate was a latecomer to the auto market with its first product, the EE25 unveiled in June 2005. If you talk frankly to electronic component suppliers - they all hate dealing with the car market.

Although you might think that the car market represents a big market opportunity (in units) for flash SSD oems - car oems are notorious for the chisel and dime way they treat their suppliers. Ideally carmakers want to buy near military grade electronics for peanuts. The yawningly long design lead times in the auto market (compared to computer or telco related markets) means that leading edge storage products designed into a car are obsolete by the time the new car model rolls out of the factory. While SSD oems have better customers in other markets - the storage in your car will always be generations smaller (in capacity) than the storage in your notebook.

Despite that - other storage companies targeting the embedded auto market includes memory chipmakers - Atmel, Cypress, Freescale, Renesas Technology and STMicroelectronics. Some flash SSD oems also target high value segments in the civilian vehicle market including:- Adtron, BiTMICRO and Hagiwara Sys-Com , although SanDisk appears to have exited the auto market slots pioneered by M-Systems.

Article Speculates About Google Storage Services

Editor:- November 27, 2007 - an article today in the Wall Street Journal online speculates that Google may soon offer a fee based online storage service.

Add the word "Google" to any story and it makes it a bigger story. There was no comment either way on Google's own press pages. If Google did enter this market it's more likely to aim at consumers rather than corporate customers. I can't see Google going much beyond point and click "services". They won't offer the support needed by enterprises to reload operating systems, applications and data onto bare metal servers in the event of a disaster. Google's business models are more about leveraging data using software, than throwing bodies at a solution. ...Google profile, online backup and storage

Audavi Ships 250GB HardTape

San Jose, CA - November 26, 2007 - Audavi Corp today announced the addition of a 250GB capacity cartridge to its HardTape family of portable rugged storage devices.

The 250GB cartridge, based on 2.5-inch hard drive technology has a 50MB/s sustained data transfer rate. Rugged enough to survive a 2-foot drop onto concrete, the HardTape cartridge is an excellent alternative to tape for client data backup and disaster recovery, medical image storage, and security video recording. HardTape is significantly faster than "burning" CD/DVD disks for data back-up and archive applications. HardTape cartridges can move easily from system to system using a bay or cable connection through any of the standard interfaces (USB, FireWire, SCSI, SATA). Featuring a black anodized aluminum case for additional durability, HardTape cartridges are pocket-sized and weigh about 8 ounces. ...Audavi profile

Mtron Consumer SSD Costs 30% Less

SEOUL, South Korea - November 26, 2007- Mtron Co., Ltd announced today that they have launched a new SSD product aimed at the consumer market.

Mtron's 2.5" 32GB SATA SSD MOBI provides read speed upto 100MBps, write speed upto 80MBps and random access time of 0.1 ms. It will be priced around $650 which is 30% cheaper than current Mtron SSD products for industrial servers.

Steve Jeon, CEO of Mtron, said, "Most of SSD demand was in industrial market for high-end servers and storage. However with the price of flash memory dropping about 40% every year, there will be a new demand in consumer SSD market as early as next year. Therefore Mtron has launched Mtron SSD MOBI in order to establish Mtron as the worldwide leader in the new consumer SSD market." ...Mtron profile

Editor's comments:-
last week Tom's Hardware published a review of Mtron's SSD performance compared to other (slower) flash SSDs and hard drives. When industrial oems launch consumer versions of their products they get a higher yield because the ambient temperature range is not so severe - more devices work. That leads to lower manufacturing costs. You also get a better designed product than in the converse situation - when a consumer oem dips its toes in the industrial market.

Solid Data Systems Names New CTO

SANTA CLARA, Calif - November 26, 2007 - Solid Data Systems, Inc. today announced the promotion of SSD solutions expert Mark Hayashida to the position of Chief Technology Officer.

In this role, Mr. Hayashida will head the growing Professional Services Organization, integral to the company's strategic initiative to bring greater awareness and knowledge of SSD architecture and benefits to market.

A veteran of Solid Data for 9 years, Hayashida oversees all pre-sales engineering, and is responsible for insuring effective customer architecture solutions.

"Mark is the industry's leading architect in the use of SSDs and has designed innovative architectures for leading Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, Charles Schwab and Southern Company," said Wade Tuma, CEO of Solid Data. "Mark has the expertise to quickly evaluate and optimize systems to take cost effective advantage of the benefits of SSD technology. Mark is the author of many of our technical whitepapers and brings great depth and knowledge to the team."

Hayashida's appointment follows the growing industry trend of replacing large RAID arrays with SSD arrays in core, high transaction rate applications. With the ever-increasing transaction rates in applications for ecommerce and online transaction processing such as Internet banking, online insurance, real-time billing and electronic trading, enterprises find SSDs provide cost-effective, terabyte-scale storage for fast access and data manipulation of large databases. SSD-based architectures also provide greater power efficiency for today's "green" world, due to the fact that SSD arrays themselves use substantially less power than traditional RAID arrays, as well as enabling substantial server consolidation. ...Solid Data Systems profile, Storage People Reveals Thoughts of Seagate's CEO

Editor:- November 25, 2007 - published an interview with Seagate's CEO.

It rambles around a lot of subjects including flash, backup, plant closures and green cards for PhDs.

Patent May Suit High Reliability SSD OEMs

MINNETONKA, MN - November 23, 2007 -ECC Technologies, Inc. announces that its parallel Reed-Solomon error correction designs and US Patent are immediately available for licensing.

PRS encoder and decoder designs allow parallel I/O storage devices to be designed with automatic, built-in backup (fault-tolerance). PRS applied to flash SSDs (for example) enables SSDs to be designed that can tolerate NAND Flash chip failures. PRS can also be applied to Hard Disk Arrays. Potential licensees can read about the PRS technology applied to SSDs and to HDDs on these preceding links. ...ECC Technologies profile, storage reliability

Editor's comments:-
in the early days of a fast growing technology market most vendors are too busy growing their revenue by selling products to customers. But when markets get big enough or growth rates slow down - another round kicks in - of harvesting money from those who succeeded in the market - but didn't protect themselves properly with patents.

When I was a young engineer several designs of mine did get patented. In one particular company I remember being asked to leaf through some 10 year old logbooks of my predecessors to find some prior art to help nullify a competitor's potential attack. I always preferred doing things my own way - so I grumbled at being asked to delve into these dusty old files. But I did find what my boss was looking for.
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