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Storage news

2007, October week 4

. Megabyte's selection of storage news
SSD history
the Fastest SSDs
How Solid is Hard Disk's Future?
the Top 10 Solid State Disk OEMs
the Fastest Growing Storage Companies
Myths and Legends - "write endurance"
missing market opportunities for enterprise flash
ONStor Revenue Grows 84%

Campbell, CA - October 31, 2007 - ONStor today announced growth of 84% in worldwide sales over the 3rd quarter of 2006.

"Our sales continue to rise, proving that we clearly understand our customers' pain points and deliver technology solutions that solve them," says ONStor CEO, Bob Miller. "In a fiercely competitive NAS storage market, it's important to always put the voice of the customer first and develop technology that meets their needs and is always evolving."

Seagate Pays for Shrinking the Kilobyte

Editor:- October 31, 2007 - an article today in the Sydney Morning Herald discusses Seagate's out of court settlement re misleading capacity claims.

Apparently Seagate shrank the size of a kilobyte in past product promotions. Its "unique" definition of 1,000 bytes being a kilobyte - instead of the world standard 1,024 means that customers have been getting 2.4% less storage capacity than they expected. The company is is said to be offering 5% refund to qualifying US customers.

Sun and NetApp's Patent Pissing War

Editor:- October 31, 2007 - i f you've been following the blogs of Dave Hitz and Jonathan Schwartz recently you'll see that Sun and Netapp have been heralding a blog war in the past week - related to storage patents.

Sun is losing market share in storage despite billions which it spent acquiring various storage companies. But it must be hoping that if it mines deep enough the lawyers may accomplish something that Sun's marketers have failed to achieve.

See also:- SSDs and Sun-Oracle... past failures / future challenges

Toshiba Retails 250G External & Notebook Hard Drives

IRVINE, Calif - October 30, 2007 - Toshiba Storage Device Division today added a 250G USB external hard drive to its lineup and introduced a new line of internal notebook HDDs.

The new 250GB 2.5" external hard drive (MSRP $189.99) includes NTI Shadow software and a special patent-pending shock mounting system for extra protection against normal wear and tear. Toshiba's 5,400 RPM notebook HDDs are compatible with every major brand of SATA enabled mobile computer and feature native command queuing for high performance and internal shock detection and ramp loading technology to help protect the drive.

See also:- consumer SSDs, hard drives in an SSD world

SiliconSystems Launches Postage Stamp Size USB SSD

Aliso Viejo, Calif - October 30, 2007 - SiliconSystems today announced its new SiliconDrive USB Blade solid-state storage product.
Lucky Goose and Attila the Hen
Editor:- October 24, 2007 - our best wishes for a change in the weather go out to those affected by the fires which have been raging in California this week.

About 8 years ago a friend from North California, Ross King - founder of King Research, came to visit me in the UK and commented that he personally wouldn't like to have trees so close to the house.

He explained that his house had been burned out a few years before.

Fire, which is such a comforter in cold damp winters, and which helped our ancestors create the first metal tools, is horrifying when it runs untamed.

But Ross was amused by my pet goose Lucky - who was trying to bite my legs while we were having this conversation in the garden. Lucky, now 10 years old, has mellowed and doesn't chase people any more.

Why did we name him Lucky?

His parents were eaten one night by foxes. All we had left were a few eggs.

We had had geese for several years. The first 2 came with the farmhouse. But we had just recently been given our first 3 chickens and decided to try mixing a few goose eggs and chicken eggs together to see what would happen. One of our 2 hens (a small brown hen called Attila the hen - because she was so bossy) was broody and so we showed her the eggs and we waited.

Weeks passed - and then one day as we opened the chicken shed door we saw the proud Attila standing by her newly hatched yellow chick blinking in the bright sunlight.

Like babies (who mostly look like Winston Churchill - (see his quote - "some chicken! some neck!") - all chicks look pretty much the same (except to their mothers) and we had trouble deciding was it a chicken or a goose? Then I saw the webbed feet. In later months as Lucky grew bigger it was amusing to see him trying to nuzzle up to his mother - who by that time was half his size,

Lucky disagreed with our species identification. He was clearly a chicken. He loved the company of chickens, guarded newly hatched chicks and broke up any fights between the cockerels. When some other friends Andrew amd Joanna (who feature in another story) gave us some more geese for him to partner with - he ignored them.

Going back to the fires.

It's a terrible thing and makes you wonder what you would take with you if you had to leave your home in a hurry and flee for your life.

That's something my parents did while being shot at in 1956 and my grandparents did something similar in 1943. They walked for days - in secret - sometimes through minefields and sometimes in the dark they walked the wrong way - back towards danger. Those stories were part of my childhood.

On a lighter note - Lucky had his first ride in a car when I moved house earlier this year to live nearer my family. He went in a big straw lined box and I nervously stopped every 20 minutes or so to check up on him when he stopped honking. But he got here OK. He enjoys his new home and like a chicken he still eats fat juicy worms - though sadly the foxes ate the last of his old chicken family a few years ago.

So my list would be (if I had a car and the roads were passable) - my wife (if she wasn't already away traveling) 2 cats (Teddy and Leo) and Lucky goose, and an offsite backup with all my applications ready to run is always in my pocket. If things got flooded - which happened in many parts of the UK in the summer - the car wouldn't be much use. The must-have list would still include - wife and cats and backup - but Lucky would be OK left in his element. He's a good swimmer - which he learned to do all by himself.

Best wishes and a speedy return to a safe normal life to all those affected.
Lucky and the Chickens - HighView Farm 1998 - by Ken Turner
The painting above is what I call Lucky and the Chickens. It was painted by a Mr. Turner. Not the boat painting Turner of early 18th century and 21st century movie fame but a friend of ours Ken Turner who lived on a barge on the Kennet and Avon canal nearby when we lived at HighView farm in Baughurst in Hampshire.

The cast of characters includes Lucky (the goose) in the foreground. To his right his adopted father Pedro.The two cats on the left are Sooty and Sweep.

I forgot to mention earlier that our 3 original chickens (Attila the Hen, Pedro and another whose name escapes me for the moment) came originally from Ken.

Before moving permanently to his houseboat Ken - who had been living in nearby Kingsclere - asked people he knew if anyone would like to offer a home to any of his chickens.

We said yes. And when he arrived with 3 of them in a sack that was the start of a new enriched chicken part of our lives which lasted many years with upto about 14 free range flying chickens 4 or 5 of whom were cocks.
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See also:- tiny SSDs, industrial SSDs

Overland Reports 21% Revenue Decline

SAN DIEGO, CA - October 30, 2007 - Overland Storage today reported results for its fiscal 2008 first quarter ended September 30, 2007.

Net revenue was $32.9 million - down 21% compared to the year ago quarter. The company reported a net loss of $4.5 million compared with a net loss of $20 million a year earlier.

Overland's President and CEO, Vern LoForti, commented "At the start of fiscal 2008, we faced 3 important near-term tasks: rebuild the confidence of our channel partners, deliver our roadmap of disk-based products to complete our tiered data protection strategy and rebuild our sales force. I am pleased to report that we have made significant progress in each of these areas."

Editor's comments:-
as you can see from our past news coverage of Overland - the company's transition from its glory days of tape to its gory days in disk backup have been marked - not by a lack of initiatives - but instead maybe some which were unrealistic.

Maxim Acquires Vitesse's Storage Products Business

SUNNYVALE, CA - October 29, 2007 - Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. today announced that it has completed the purchase of the Storage Products Business ofVitesse Semiconductor Corp for approximately $63 million in cash.

An additional amount up to $12 million in cash will be payable by Maxim upon the achievement of certain commercial milestones. Maxim's acquisition includes Vitesse's SATA products, SAS xxpander products, enclosure management products and baseboard management products. ...Maxim profile, ...Vitesse Semiconductor profile, storage chips, Acquired storage companies

NetEx Lowers Budget Barriers to Testing HyperIP

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - October 29, 2007 - NetEx today announced a new Recovery on Demand program that provides HyperIP users with a free temporary bandwidth upgrade to boost data recovery performance.

Under the new Recovery On Demand program, if a HyperIP user experiences a major failure, NetEx will provide the customer with a free software key with unlimited bandwidth for 10 days. The user can then run HyperIP-accelerated data recovery operations at up to 622 Mb/s with no additional license fees.

NetEx has also created a new 'Fire Drill' trial program, allowing new enterprises to test drive HyperIP and its unmatched disaster recovery optimization to evaluate the effectiveness of their own disaster recovery plans. The trial program enables companies to acquire and evaluate HyperIP appliances for a fraction of the purchase price.

Infortrend's New 12 bay 1U RAID

FRANKFURT, Germany, October 29, 2007 – Today at SNW Europe, Infortrend unveiled its first 2.5" hard disk based RAID subsystems.

The 1U rackmount, 12 bay models are available with either SAS-to-SAS or 4G-FC-to-SAS interfaces.

A3 Communications Named Storage PR Agency of the Year 2007

Editor:- October 29, 2007 - today named A3 Communications - Storage PR Agency of the Year 2007.
The award recognizes the outstanding quality of client-editor interface provided by A3 Communications in the past year. A3 Communications Storage PR Agency of the Year 2007
"I work with thousands of content contributors" said's Editor Zsolt Kerekes. "Effective PR Agencies are a helpful tool in getting the right content to my readers. Sometimes I'll miss the significance of a news story when I see it first time round on my screen. Follow up from intelligent agencies which understand the market can sometimes make me reevaluate my snap decisions. PRs who respond quickly to requests for follow up info - help me, their clients and readers. Many other agencies do all those things too - but this year the work of Federica Monsone founder of A3 Communications was outstanding."

In 2005 the award was given to JPR Communications. In 2006 no award was made, because although the overall quality of PRs in the industry had risen, the "best" was too close to call between several agencies.

How Secure are Seagate Jobs in Ireland?

Editor:- October 29, 2007 - a report in speculates that 900 jobs in Seagate's Derry plant in Ireland may be at risk.

Sans Digital Launches 4 Bay iSCSI Tower & Rackmount

Santa Fe Springs, CA - October 26, 2007 - Sans Digital today introduced EliteRAID ER104I and MobileRAID MR4I, revolutionary expandable 4 bay iSCSI rackmount and tower solutions.

The EliteRAID ER104I is a 1U 4 bay rackmount unit designed to allow the expansion of up to 8 hard drives with Sans Digital ES104T, MS4T, MS2T1 or other eSATA JBOD units.

Like the ER104I, the MobileRAID MR4I is an expandable iSCSI unit in a tower format that is designed with portability in mind.

Both units have hot-swappable hard drive trays and are compatible with the latest 1TB hard drives. In addition to RAID 5, Mirroring (RAID 1) and Stripping (RAID 0), the ER104I and MR4I also support RAID 6 to protect against up to 2 hard drive failures.

"The Sans Digital iSCSI products can be easily integrated with Windows, Linux, and ... Mac OS X" stated Grandy Chen, Sans Digital's Executive VP. ...Sans Digital profile

Santa may Open New Design Center for WD

LONGMONT, Colo. - October 25, 2007 - Western Digital today announced that it has selected a site and signed a multi-year lease for its planned hard drive design center in Longmont, Colo.

WD expects the design center to be operational by December 1, 2007. The 2nd largest hard drive manufacturer worldwide, WD has grown revenues about 20% per year for the past 5 years, doubling annual revenue from $2.7 billion to $5.5 billion between fiscal year 2003 and fiscal year 2007.

Editor's comments:-
Oh dear - I used the "s" word already - and it's still only October. Pretty soon the publisher will ask me to wear that hat again.

Violin will Demo InfiniBand Memory Array at SC07

Iselin, NJ - October 24, 2007 - Violin Memory. will exhibit the Violin 1010 Memory Appliance at SC07 in Reno, NV next month.

The Violin1010 will be network attached to the SCinet InfiniBand network during the show. The network technologies and partners to enable this attachment will be announced at the tradeshow.

SanDisk Seeks Fast Flash Competitor Erase

MILPITAS, CA - October 24, 2007 - SanDisk today announced the filing of 3 patent infringement actions against 25 companies that manufacture, sell and import USB flash drives and other removable flash storage products.

The actions allege that the defendants have infringed various SanDisk system-level patents, and seek damages and a permanent injunction in the federal court actions, as well as a permanent exclusion order from the ITC banning importation of the products into the United States.

Addonics Launches PCI Flash SSD RAID Adapter

SAN JOSE, CA - October 23, 2007 - Addonics Technologies today announced a PCI flash RAID adapter.

The Addonics AD4CFPRJ enables users to create a low cost large capacity SSD. It fits into any PCI slot and allows as many as 4 Compact Flash media of any capacity to be used like an ordinary hard drive. The adapter includes built-in firmware, which allows the CF cards to be configured as one large volume, 4 individual drives, or configured for redundancy with support for RAID 0 (Striped), RAID 1 (Mirrored), and RAID 10 (Mirrored Striped).

With the increased capacity and lowering costs of flash media, replacing the hard drive with CF as a boot drive is now a viable alternative because CF offers lower power consumption and no moving parts.

The adapter supports UDMA, DMA, and PIO hard drive modes. OS support includes DOS, Windows 98/ME, NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Vista, and Linux kernel 2.4+ . The Addonics Quad CF PCI adapter has a MSRP of $49.95

Editor's comments:-
The risk with this approach is that many CF cards aren't designed for intensive write operations and don't have internal wear levelling controllers. That's what differentiates a flash SSD from vanilla flash storage. If a user is tempted (by the low price) to install the Addonics adapter in a server application - with the wrong type of flash cards - the storage media may fail in under a year.

TiVo Verifies WD's My DVR Expander

LAKE FOREST, Calif - October 23, 2007 - WD today announced that its My DVR Expander drives are verified compatible with TiVo HD and Series3 digital video recorders.

The 500GB My DVR Expander external hard drive ($199.99) is capable of storing up to 300 hours of digital standard-definition or up to 60 hours of high-definition television programming. SSDs in IPTV, movie creation and tv

SEPATON Joins the Green Grid

MARLBOROUGH, MA - October 23, 2007 - SEPATON today announced that it has joined The Green Grid.

"As enterprises face the very real dilemma of rapidly growing data centers and their increasing power consumption, alternative solutions like VTL and data de-duplication will be extremely instrumental in helping curb this problem," said SEPATON's president and CEO Mike Worhach. Storage Industry Trade Associations, Green Storage

Samsung Doubles SSD Flash Density for 8th Straight Year

Seoul, Korea - October 23, 2007 -Samsung . announced today that it has developed the world's first 64 Gigabit multi level cell NAND flash memory chip - using 30nm class process technology.

This marks the 8th consecutive year that the density of NAND flash memory has doubled since the 100nm 1Gb chip was developed in 2001. Samsung anticaptes that its success in introducing higher density flash will intensify demand for flash solid state drives. According to Gartner the accumulated sales for 64Gb NAND flash and higher density devices could reach $20 billion in just 3 years (2009-2011).

SiteShelter Backs Up Web Sites

Memphis, Tenn. - October 22, 2007 - Remote Backup Systems. today introduced SiteShelter - an automated utility that backs up, mirrors, monitors, and even repairs web and FTP sites.

SiteShelter can back up web sites and FTP sites hosted on Windows, Unix and Linux servers, as well as most other popular operating systems. The software can back up an unlimited number of web sites or FTP sites concurrently. To preserve bandwidth during peak hours, SiteShelter can be programmed to launch automatically during low-traffic times. SiteShelter is currently available and costs $199.

The Greening of Hitachi's Hard Drives

SAN JOSE, Calif - October 22, 2007 - Hitachi GST today launched its most energy efficient desktop hard disk drive - the Deskstar P7K500.

Using 40% less power than earlier models Hitachi's new disks have idle power utilization of 3.6 watts on the 250GB capacity model and 4.8 watts on models with capacities of 320GB or greater. Similarly, the P7K500 has reduced its active power requirements. The new disks spin at 7,200 RPM, have SATA or PATA interfaces and are available in the following capacities:- 250, 320, 400 and 500GB.

US & Brits are Worst Backupers - says Seagate Survey

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif - October 22, 2007 - A worldwide survey of over 10,000 adult computer users sponsored by Seagate Technology finds that the US population is well behind the rest of the world when it comes to taking the proper steps to back up their digital files.

According to the results of the poll conducted this summer by Harris Interactive, a little over a third of the adults in the US do not take the risk of losing their digital content seriously.

This global poll of consumers also shows that other English-speaking markets are just as far behind the curve as the US when it comes to protecting their digital assets. While US and Great Britain consumers are the most negligent at 35% neglecting to make backup copies of digital content stored on their computer to external devices or media, Australia trails close behind with 30% of the population not backing up.

Of the 6 international markets surveyed, China leads the world in data backup with 83% doing so, followed by France at 81% and Germany rounding out the top 3 with 73% taking the proper steps to ensure they'll have access to their data even in the event of a disc failure or system interruption.

The astonishing discovery is that 31% of those surveyed are still not backing up even though half of them have experienced the loss of important data in the past.

Overland Extends VTL to 114 Terabytes

SAN DIEGO, CA - October 22, 2007 - Overland Storage. today introduced hardware compression to its high-end REO SERIES disk-based backup, recovery and virtual tape library appliances.

The new product - REO 9100c includes upto 66T of raw data capacity, which can be compressed to 114T of usable virtual tape capacity. MSRP starts at $63,343.

LSI Marks Hard Disk SoC Milestone

Bracknell, UK - October 22, 2007 - LSI today announced that its read channel technology has shipped in more than 1 billion hard disk drives.

The LSI read channel technology originated with AT&T, as part of pioneering work in communications at Bell Labs.

"This milestone represents approximately 30% of all hard disk drives shipped since the read channel technology was adopted," said Ruediger Stroh, general manager, LSI Storage Peripherals Group. storage chips

SanDisk Enters the BetaMax Zone

MILPITAS, CA - October 22, 2007 - SanDisk today announced the public BETA version of Fanfare, a Web-based service that enables consumers to download tv shows and movies to portable devices.

This coincides with the U.S. availability of the new Sansa TakeTV PC-to-TV video player (formerly "USBTV"). The combination of Fanfare with Sansa TakeTV creates an end-to-end entertainment system enabling viewers to time-shift and place-shift their favorite shows by downloading them from their PC to watch them on nearly any TV, at any time.

Editor's comments:-
at the weekend I was puzzled by why the stock market had reacted negatively to SanDisk's reported 38% revenue growth last Friday. Today's announcements that SanDisk is trying to establish a new digital tv content platform might do further damage. There are enough ways already in the market for customers to view tv on their phones or PCs. I think it's unrealistic to expect that users will buy a proprietary type of flash storage module just so they can do this.
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