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Storage History - 2007, September week 2

. Megabyte's selection of storage news
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Storage news
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How Solid is Hard Disk's Future?
the Top 10 Solid State Disk OEMs
the Solid State Disks Buyers Guide
the Fastest Growing Storage Companies
RAM versus Flash SSDs - which is Best?
SSD Myths and Legends - "write endurance"
THOUSAND OAKS, California - September 13, 2007 - Nexsan Technologies announced today that storage and technology industry veteran Bob Woolery has joined the company in the newly created position of Senior VP of Marketing. Mr. Woolery brings to Nexsan more than 2 decades of experience as a senior executive in marketing, product management and business development working with a range of storage and software companies. Mr. Woolery most recently served as Executive VP of Market Development at Valumation Software, a subsidiary of Imperial Technology. He previously served as Vice President of Product Marketing at Data Direct Networks and VP of Product Marketing at XIOtech. ...Nexsan profile, Storage People

Editor's comments:- Nexsan was one of the pioneers of disk to disk backup.

See also:- article:- a Short History of Disk to Disk Backup

SANTA CLARA, Calif - September 12, 2007 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today said it will acquire the majority of Cluster File Systems, Inc.'s intellectual property and business assets, including the Lustre File System. Sun intends to add support for Solaris OS on Lustre and plans to continue enhancing Lustre on Linux and Solaris OS across multi vendor hardware platforms. ...Sun Microsystems profile, Acquired storage companies

Editor's comments:-
I hadn't heard of this company before. A sure sign that they were heading straight for the gone away storage companies list without any deviations on route. Here's what I picked up from their web site present and past.

The Lustre product description (pdf) says - "the Lustre architecture was first developed at Carnegie Mellon University as a research project in 1999." The company's website started in about 2001 amd they released Lustre 1.0 in 2003. By 2004 had a product ready for a bigger market.

Strangely enough Solaris support isn't listed as a strong feature in their recent roadmap. So why does Sun want this technology? - Well - even if you're not in the supercomputer business - some technologies which start there eventually trickle down to the rest of us. "Zero single points of failure" - mentioned on their home page - is a good enough reason. As I wrote in my 7 year storage market predictions (2005) storage reliability is going to become a major headache in enterprise storage in the next 5 years.

See also:- Robin Harris's blog which explains the business background to CFS - "why aren't they rich?"

MOORESTOWN, NJ - September 12, 2007 - Formation, Inc. announced today introduction of its ToughDisk 3500 SATA 320GB 3.3" rugged hard disk. ToughDisk is a rugged data storage solution used by all branches of the US military and many commercial organizations because of its ability to perform reliably in temperature, altitude, shock, vibration, humidity, and dust conditions that would destroy conventional hard disks, at a fraction of the cost of solid-state storage.

"The TD3500 SATA can be used with high-end SAS controllers as well as any of the ubiquitous embedded SATA ports" says Sam Carswell, Formation's chief technology officer. "They provide the performance of SAS enterprise-class disks without the heat and mechanical limitations of those 15K RPM disks. Using the same principle that gives dual-core processors high performance with fewer watts of power dissipation, this 3.5" SATA disk contains 4x 2.5" inch platters bonded together with RAID. The independent actuator arms and read/write heads double the media transfer rate normally available from rugged disks." ...Formation profile, Military Storage

Aliso Viejo, Calif - September 12, 2007 - SiliconSystems, Inc today announced plans to move its headquarters to a new 36,000 square foot office building in November to support the company's rapid growth. Over the next 12 months, the company expects to increase its staff by approximately 50% to meet customer and market needs. SiliconSystems' existing facility was previously expanded in 2006. ...SiliconSystems profile

Escondido, CA - September 12, 2007 - SoleraTec LLC stepped out of obscurity today with the announcement of their Phoenix Information Repository software for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and mixed platforms.

"We were spending upwards of 2 hours a day deleting audio, video, and image files as well as other inactive data to keep space available on our servers." Said Chris Huerta, IT manager for Home Town Computers, a small chain of computer stores in Southern California participating in the Phoenix beta program. Mr. Huerta added, "With Phoenix, we designed a set of policies that move those files to an inexpensive JBOD unit, and users know they have 30 days to retrieve data before it's erased automatically. We also built policies that recognize more important data and send it to long-term archives on disk or tape media, depending on its usage."

Phoenix significantly reduces the cost of managing storage because it frees primary network storage from data proliferation by ingesting inactive or reference information into a managed secondary-storage information repository tier, where data is automatically protected, preserved, and managed, while remaining discoverable throughout its lifecycle - and can then be permanently deleted when it has met its expiration period. Phoenix is scalable to meet the needs of SMBs to enterprises and is designed to be bundled by OEMs who want to add value and differentiation to their offerings. ...SoleraTec profile, Disk to disk backup

Editor's comments:- that's the 2nd Phoenix listed in my Animal Brands in the Storage Market article - which has them all - from Ant to Zebra.

London, UK - September 11, 2007 - BiTMICRO Networks today said it will ship a 416GB 2.5" flash SSD in Q1 2008. The announcement was made at Defence Systems & Equipment International in London. The forthcoming E-Disk Altima E2A133BL is designed for military, industrial and commercial users who are looking for faster and bigger storage upgrades for time-tested PATA-based systems. Throughput is 133MB/sec burst with up to 100MB/sec sustained reads and writes and up to 20,000+ Random IOPS.

"The launch of the E-Disk Altima series of cutting-edge solid state flash drives will usher in a new computing era, where solid state mass storage will combine with multi-core processors to deliver unprecedented levels of performance required by next-generation operating systems and applications," said Rudy Bruce, BiTMICRO's Exec. VP for Marketing. ...BiTMICRO Networks profile, Flash - based Solid State Disks, 2.5" SSDs

DUBLIN, Ireland - September 11, 2007 - Research and Markets announced the availability of a major new SSD market report written by Jim Handy founder of Objective Analysis called - "the Solid State Disk Market: A Rigorous Look to their offering." SSDs are poised to disrupt the hard disk drive market. Is this likely to happen? What will drive SSDs into acceptance? What will hinder their deployment? What is the impact to the NAND and the HDD markets?

This study covers the SSD market in depth, covering all players in great detail, and thoroughly evaluating end markets and market motivators. This study's rigorous approach clarifies key points and success factors to help readers understand the opportunities as well as the pitfalls that await all participants.

The 110-page study ($5,000 approx) is based upon exhaustive interviews with buyers and sellers of SSDs, as well as their suppliers and other key players in the market. This report covers all sides of the SSD equation including important market drivers and cost analysis history and projections, along with information from makers of HDDs about their plans to counter any market share loss threatened by the advent of the SSD. It looks into every aspect of the SSD market - market sizing, PC vs Industrial/Military markets, forecasts by application, company-by-company competitive analysis, Key user surveys, etc. There is no study even like it in the market today. ...Objective Analysis profile, storage market analysts

Editor's comments:-
I've read this report and think it's a solid introduction to anyone who is thinking about partnering with a solid state disk company or entering the flash SSD market.

Hayward, Calif - September 11, 2007 - Dynamic Network Factory, Inc. today introduced the SASmaster family of scalable SAS-to-SAS and SATA-to-SAS RAID arrays. DNF has also announced that it has added 1TB SATA drive support to its Enterprise F12-HA RAID subsystems and at the same time expanded its overall Enterprise RAID product line with additional SAS-to-Fibre Channel arrays.

Now available, the new SASmaster product line features 3 models including the SASmaster 12sz, the SASmaster 16sz and the SASmaster 16sz-HA (high availability). The SASmaster 12sz supports 12 hot-swappable drives, while the other 2 models support 16 hot-swappable drives each. In addition, each model supports up to 3 expansion arrays to attain capacities of up to 64TB.

"With the option to use SAS for both the host and drive interface, SASmaster demonstrates DNF's commitment to supporting customers' ongoing demands for higher capacity and greater performance," said Mo Tahmasebi, CEO of DNF. "By offering our customers more drive flexibility, we are giving them the freedom to use the types of drives that best suit their application and performance needs, along with the ability to implement storage tiering in a single array."

The SASmaster arrays are enclosed in 2U or 3U rackmount chasses and feature redundant power supplies for high availability. Each system offers battery-backed cache ranging from 256MB to 2GB. In addition, all SASmaster systems offer support for RAID levels 0,1, 5, 6, 10 and 50. The SASmaster product line ranges in price from $10,000 to $41,000 for a single system, depending upon configuration and storage capacity. ...Dynamic Network Factory profile

PHOENIX, AZ – September 10, 2007 - Adtron Corp today announced the selection of UK-based Hammer PLC as its master distributor for Europe. Hammer will provide sales coverage and logistics support for Adtron distributors, resellers and system integrators throughout the region.

"We have seen a greater demand for SSD devices over the last 6 months than we have seen over the last 3 years — clearly this market is booming," said James Ward, Hammer's Managing Director. ...Adtron profile, ...Hammer Distribution profile

Waltham, MA - September 10, 2007 - AmeriVault today announced that their growth has been acknowledged by Inc. Magazine in the first-ever Inc. 5,000 list of the fastest growing companies. The company's 96% growth over the last 3 years landed them at 3,257 out of thousands of qualifying businesses. Originally founded in 1998 and considered to be a pioneer of online backup, AmeriVault attributes their growth to staying committed to what they do best - providing reliable online backup and recovery services and solutions that best meet the needs of today's businesses.

"The Inc. 5,000 provides the most comprehensive look ever at the most important part of the economy - the entrepreneurial part," said Inc. 5,000 Project Manager Jim Melloan. "The expansion of the list has allowed us to tell the stories of larger companies, older companies, and a wealth of companies in industries like Manufacturing and Construction that are underreported in the business media." ...AmeriVault profile, online backup and storage

ALISO VIEJO, Calif - September 10, 2007 - SiliconSystems, Inc. announced that Avnet Technology Solutions has become a North American distributor for its SiliconDrives. SiliconSystems selected Avnet for its market leadership, expertise and commitment to the embedded OEM market. ...SiliconSystems profile, Storage VARs

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida - September 10, 2007 - DataCore Software, today announced support for implementing its storage virtualization and SAN management solutions as "virtual servers" – running on many different server virtualization platforms, such as those from VMware, Xensource, Microsoft and Virtual Iron. DataCore storage virtualization software works with nearly all storage hardware and can serve that storage to Windows, MacOS, Linux, UNIX, Solaris, AIX, and Netware servers, whether physical or virtual.

"The release of DataCore's SANmelody, Traveller and SANsymphony as virtual servers... underscores what has been a dominant reality for over 6 years – that storage servers are today identical to all other servers in that they exist primarily as storage applications running on ever more standard hardware" said DataCore's CTO and Chairman Ziya Aral. ...DataCore profile, Storage Software

Fremont, CA - September 10, 2007 - BiTMICRO Networks, Inc. today announced the completion of $9.3 million in Series F funding with a team of investors led by Woodside Investments LP. With this announcement, BiTMICRO's total funding now stands at $31.4 million in private funding.

"We are excited to be part of a dynamic organization that has a long and proud history in flash SSD development," said Buck Carson, general partner for Woodside Investments. "The recent entry of a number of global semiconductor and Fortune 500 companies in the SSD market suggests that it is poised to take off in the next few years." ...BiTMICRO Networks profile, the Top 10 SSSD OEMs

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif - September 10, 2007 - InMage Systems, Inc. today announced a strategic partnership with iStor Networks, Inc. iStor will bundle a lite version of InMage's DR-Scout disaster recovery and continuous data protection software solution with all shipments of its iS325 storage systems. The combined solution will debut this week at VMworld. ...InMage profile, ...iStor Networks profile, Backup Software, Storage Events

MINNEAPOLIS – September 10, 2007 – Digitiliti Inc. announced today its re-launch as a provider of on-demand backup services. The company first launched in 2003 as a software developer and hardware integrator under the name Storage Elements but has since repositioned itself to focus solely on servicing the storage needs of enterprise-level accounts. With primary off-site vaulting to a former U.S. Federal Reserve bank and redundant replication to a second secure location, customers' data is fully protected with no media or transmission loss. ...Digitiliti, online backup

San Jose, CA - September 10, 2007 - Samsung announced today that its 2.5" SATA, 64GB solid state drive is available immediately in Dell and Alienware consumer notebooks. Alienware will provide a 128GB SSD configuration, by offering dual 64GB SSD drives in a RAID 0 array, as well as a single 64GB SSD combined with a large capacity 200GB 7200RPM drive, available on its Area-51 m9750 gaming notebook. Dell is offering the SSD drive on its XPS M1330 ultra-portable notebook. ...Samsung profile
Nexsan Names New Senior VP of Marketing

Why Sun will Shine with a New Lustre

Formation Launches 320GB 3.5" SATA ToughDisk

SiliconSystems Plans for More Expansion

SoleraTec Launches Phoenix

BiTMICRO will Ship 412GB 2.5" SSDs in Q108

Objective Analysis Publishes SSD Market Report

Dynamic Network Factory Ships SASmaster RAID Systems

Adtron Signs Europrean Distributor

AmeriVault in Inc. 5,000 Fastest Growing Companies

Avnet - New US Disti for SiliconDrives

DataCore Storage Virtualization Gets Virtual

BiTMICRO Gets $9.3 million Funding

InMage and iStor Launch IP SAN Bundle at VMworld

Storage Elements Re-Launches as Digitiliti

Samsung's 64G SSDs Shipping in Notebooks

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Data Recovery from Flash SSDs?
Editor:- September 24, 2007 - if the flash SSD market reaches the levels of penetration predicted by many analysts - then in a handful of years nearly half of all new notebook PCs will use flash SSDs instead of hard disk drives.

What happens when those SSDs inevitably fail - and there's no backup?

Most consumers don't do regular backups - and most small businesses don't either.

When hard drives fail, get submerged in water or get damaged in fires - the solution of last resort - is to call a data recovery company.

These superheroes can often recover a lot of data - even if the pcbs and chips in the disk drive have been damaged. Superheroes don't come cheap. The cost for a difficult recovery can run into thousands of dollars (for a single disk) but for many satisfied customers that's a much better result than being left with no business or months of lost time rewriting reports, novels etc.

Although flash SSDs are new to the consumer market - they've been around for many years in markets which absolutely needed their levels of ruggedness (and could bear the high cost). So you may be thinking that there's a well established industry already out there ready to process your flash SSD - if you are unlucky enough to need a data recovery service today.

You would be wrong.

The reason is that the biggest traditional customers of flash SSDs have been the military or industrial users who didn't want enemies / competitors stealing their secrets.

Erstwhile flash SSD manufacturers like Adtron, BiTMICRO and STEC (who all make SSDs whose performance or capacity leave Samsung's SSDs in the dust BTW) specialise in having on-board disk sanitization of various forms to make sure that that the data is never recovered by the wrong people.

So there isn't a public track record of data recovery for flash SSDs.

The closest that the market has to offer - is experience with recovering data from simple flash memory storage (like USB keyring style devices or camera memory cards). Unlike SSDs - those devices aren't designed for intensive write applications - and there is nothing very complicated between the interface controller and the flash chips themselves. So if the controller gets zapped by static - or crunched by your car driving over it - the data is relatively easy for experts to recover from the flash chips.

That isn't the case with most flash SSDs - which use complicated controller technology to extend the reliability and speed of storage. The architecture inside a high performance SSD is more complicated than that in most RAID systems. The algorithms which map addresses to physical media locations vary from manufacturer to manufacturer - and in many cases - like the formula for making Coke or Pepsi - the details are closely guarded commercial secrets.

Data recovery (at the single SSD level) is not so much of a problem for datacenter applications - because most often the SSDs are in some kind of RAID protected array - and are also backed up (internally or externally) to other disks.

But one thing missing in the consumer notebook SSD market is a clear signal by oems - that data in their devices can be easily recovered - if there is no backup - or the backup failed. Maybe the next generation of products will address that issue.

Although flash SSDs are inherently much more reliable than hard drives - that's no consolation for the customers who will be the pioneers in SSD data recovery.
Squeak! - SSD Myths and Legends - "write endurance"
Does the fatal gene of "write endurance" built into flash solid state disks prevent their deployment in intensive server acceleration applications - such as RAID systems?
It was certainly true as little as a few years ago.

What's the risk with today's devices?

This article looks at the current generation of products and calculates how much (or how little) you should be worried.
read the article - SSD Myths and Legends
RAM based SSDs have been used alongside RAID for years - but flash SSDs are physically smaller and have bigger capacity (160G in 2.5") and are lower cost than RAM-SSDs and could actually be configured in standard RAID boxes. F-SSDs aren't as fast as RAM based products but a single flash SSD can deliver 20,000 IOPs - which when scaled up in an array - starts to look interesting. the article, storage reliability solid state disks
TapeMaster - tape duplicator
TapeMaster backup tape duplicator
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