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storage news - 2008, January week 4

Megabyte's selection of storage news
Megabyte loves reading storage news.
the SSD Buyers Guide
the Top 10 SSD Companies
Can you trust flash SSD specs?
RAM Cache Ratios in flash SSDs
3 Easy Ways to Enter the SSD Market
Design Tradeoffs for flash SSD Performance
the Problem with Write IOPS - in flash SSDs
SSD Myths and Legends - "write endurance"
Data Integrity Challenges in flash SSD Design
Clarifying SSD Pricing - where does all the money go?
Asempra's BCS Validated by IBM

Santa Clara, Calif - January 31, 2008 - Asempra Technologies announced its Business Continuity Server has been validated as Ready for IBM Tivoli software.

The BCS has also been certified by IBM as System Storage Proven. Asempra's BCS solution protects SQL, Exchange, and Windows File Server applications and data through a patented approach that captures and indexes all data events, creating a virtualized data store that allows instantaneous recovery to any point-in-time. Using Asempra's virtualized recovery and data protection technology Exchange and SQL can be available as fast as 30 seconds after a storage failure. ...Asempra Technologies profile

PQI's Traveling Disk

Taipei, Taiwan - January 29, 2008 - PQI today launched the Traveling Disk U173.

The key-chain form factor 8GB USB flash disk has a gliding case design which is lid-less. The blue / black or silver / white case has a sandblasted polished surface. The integrated management software includes outlook synchronization and PC-Lock security. ...PQI profile

Sun will Distribute CommVault's Data Management Suite

OCEANPORT, N.J. - January 29, 2008 - Sun Microsystems Inc. will distribute CommVault's Simpana 7.0 data management software suite on its x64 server and storage systems.

According to Art Licht, chief technologist for Storage at Sun "The partnership with CommVault furthers our commitment to providing customers with comprehensive solutions for the Microsoft enterprise, including Exchange Server 2007 and Office SharePoint Server 2007..." ...CommVaultSystems profile, ...Sun Microsystems profile

Solid Data Expands SSD Services

SANTA CLARA, CA - January 29, 2008) - Solid Data Systems, Inc. today announced the expansion of its professional services organization.

This group helps users optimize the use of SSDs in high transaction rate applications and is aligned by vertical industry expertise. Solid Data's services program offers free initial phone consultation, on-site architectural assessment and evaluation, and technical and cost analysis on proposed SSD-based architectural solutions.

"In the past SSDs were often used as quick fixes, only replacing key hot files," said Mark Hayashida, CTO of Solid Data Systems. "The mission of Solid Data Professional Services is to introduce architectures specifically designed around solid state disk storage. These architectures bring more than performance to high transaction rate environments. Once the limitation of mechanical disk drives is removed, the resulting systems are simpler, use much less power, and reduce the number of servers required. In addition, peak transaction capacity is dramatically increased, virtually eliminating server crashes due to overload. In properly architected systems the savings more than compensate for the additional cost of the SSD..." ...Solid Data Systems profile

Editor's comments:-
this is a welcome move because as new vendors enter the enterprise SSD market - there will be many examples of the technology being mis-sold for applications which get no real benefit because the SSDs have been deployed incorrectly. That's like hitching a Porsche to plow your field. It may have the horsepower - but it's not going to go any faster than the John Deere... There's no substitute for expertise when deploying this technology.

Promise Ships New SAS RAID Controllers

MILPITAS, Calif - January 28, 2008 - Promise Technology Inc. today announced immediate general availability of its SuperTrak EX and FastTrak TX host-based SAS RAID controllers.

Promise's SuperTrak EX offerings are 4- and 8-port internal, hardware-based SAS and SATA RAID controllers using Intel's 81348 IO processor. They support RAID 5 and RAID 6 and are designed for data protection needs based on entry-level and midrange server platforms running all popular Linux distributions as well as Windows. Target applications include disk-to-disk backup, video capture, post production and database applications.

Promise's FastTrak TX offerings are software-based SAS RAID cards designed for workstation applications. ...Promise Technology profile

HyperIP Acceleration Software Scales to Wire Speeds

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - January 28, 2008 - NetEx today announced a new faster version of its HyperIP software technology that deliver near-native wire speed performance of 800Mb/s on a COTS Intel appliance.

NetEx customers can purchase the HyperIP data acceleration solution on an industry standard platform at 1.5 Mb/s and then add performance as needed up to 800Mb/s all in the same appliance with no hardware upgrades required. ...NetEx profile

RAIGE Company Gets $24 million Additional Funding

Spring, Texas - January 28, 2008 - Pivot3 Inc today announced that it has received $24 million in series C venture funding led by Mesirow Financial Capital Partners IX.

"Storage costs can be up to 50% of a video surveillance installation," said Dilip Sarangan, research analyst for Frost & Sullivan. "We see this new round of funding as a testament to the significant market opportunity that Pivot3 has as a solid, innovative data storage company, with IP-based products designed to meet its customers' physical security requirements."

Bill Galloway, Pivot3 co-founder and CTO said "Our block-level virtualization RAIGE (RAID Across Gigabit Ethernet), gives customers 5x or more the performance of traditional solutions at a lower cost. RAIGE performance exceeds Fibre Channel or 10GbE performance without requiring upgrades to a new network infrastructure." ...Pivot3 profile

TMS Sets New SPC Records

Houston, Texas - January 28, 2008 - Texas Memory Systems, Inc. today announced that it has broken the world data storage performance record and price-performance record again.

The new records were achieved using standard server and storage network hardware and the TMS RamSan-400 solid state disk. Based on audited results submitted to the vendor-neutral Storage Performance Council the RamSan-400 SSD delivered a record 291,208.58 SPC-1 IOPS with a record average response time of just 0.86 milliseconds. It also set a new SPC-1 Price-Performance record by delivering that performance at just $0.67 per SPC-1 IOPS. ...Texas Memory Systems profile

a few days later IBM's storage blogger Tony Pearson, a self proclaimed SSD skeptic, published some interesting comments about the TMS news story and SPCs in general.

StorageMaster Offers Real-time Content Delivery

ATLANTA, GA - January 24, 2008 - Concurrent Computer announced today the launch of its new StorageMaster product line.

The target market includes broadcasters who need very high-speed storage and retrieval, critical data I/O capability and advanced data prioritization. The StorageMaster regional file server allows service providers to centrally house and rapidly transport specific content (faster than real-time) to remote locations, even down to the node level.

"Concurrent's on-demand platforms must store and stream thousands of hours of video content for hundreds of thousands of end-users, but, in the end, you are still dealing with digital data," explains Bob Chism, Concurrent's CTO. "We will launch StorageMaster within the cable community first; we know those customers well and have the sales infrastructure in place to specifically target them. Our plan is to next adapt the content storage product to provide versatile, scalable, high-density storage products for that portion of the IT market handling critical data, with a need for resiliency and fast storage and retrieval." ...Concurrent profile

Editor's comments:-
fast content dispersion can be viewed as the opposite process to fast disk backup. But the same technology can be applied to other applications and Concurrent plans a general version of the product line too.

WD Reports 46% Hard Drive Revenue Growth

LAKE FOREST, Calif - January 23, 2008 - Western Digital Corp. today reported that hard drive revenue grew year on year by 46% to $2.084 billion for the 2nd quarter ending Dec. 28, 2007.

In addition WD got $120 million of revenue from media and substrate sales. Overall net income was $305 million. WD shipped over 34 million hard drives in the quarter. One fast growing application segment was the PVR/DVR market which took 8.7 million 2.5" drives and 4.1 million 3.5" units.

WD's president and CEO John Coynesaid "Our operational flexibility and our technology leadership in 2.5" mobile hard drives enabled us to quickly react to a number of attractive market and product mix opportunities throughout the December quarter." ...Western Digital profile

Editor's comments:-
WD's impressive results (and Seagate's 14% growth reported last week) account for most of the hard disk revenue worldwide and suggest that my article last year How Solid is Hard Disk's Future? was correct in saying that the hard disk market revenue could sustainably grow at double digits at the same time as the solid state disk market grows at triple digits. That article includes a market model which explains why the simplistic "replacement of HDDs by SSDs" - often cited by part time storage commentators is nowhere near describing the full picture.

Brocade Unveils the Brocade DCX Backbone

SAN JOSE, Calif - January 22, 2008 - Brocade today introduced the DCX Backbone, the first in a new class of high-performance data center networking products.

It provides comprehensive and flexible deployment options, including the capability to support Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), Data Center Ethernet (DCE), Gigabit Ethernet, and iSCSI protocols. ...Brocade profile, SAN , SAN switches

Alacritech Promises 10GbE iSCSI Accelerator 1H08

SAN JOSE, Calif - January 22, 2008 - Alacritech Inc. announced today that it has successfully taped-out its 10GbE ASIC design.

Working in conjunction with Open-Silicon, a fabless ASIC company, Alacritech met its scheduled tape-out target date for this 5th generation TCP/IP Offload 10GbE ASIC. Alacritech targets the first half of 2008 to have 10GbE accelerators, incorporating the new ASIC, in the hands of the Tier 1 server OEMs. All of the industry's major OEMs have agreed to evaluate Alacritech's 10GbE technology on the merits of the company's history and leadership in TCP/IP Offload Engines (TOE). Accelerators will also be placed in the hands of strategic end-customers in early 2008. ...Alacritech profile

Nanochip Aims to Trash Flash

Fremont, Calif - January 22, 2008 - Nanochip, Inc. today announced the completion of a $14 million series C financing round.

It will allow Nanochip to complete development of its first prototypes later this year to support design verification testing and limited customer sampling in 2009 followed by full commercialization in 2010.

Nanochip is developing a new class of ultra-high-capacity non volatile storage chips. Nanochip says its first products could exceed 100GB per chip set, reaching terabytes in the future, and at a substantially lower cost compared with flash memory solutions.

"Flash has become the technology of choice for a variety of consumer and business applications where cost-effective, non-volatile solid-state storage is a must," said Keith Larson, VP and director of investor Intel Capital. "However, as flash process technology scaling begins to approach its limits, Nanochip's technology is well positioned to provide memory capacity with exponentially higher storage densities at a cost per gigabyte significantly below that of flash technology. New memory components, such as Nanochip's, will enable new, innovative electronics devices and increase the performance of existing computing and other devices." ...Nanochip profile

Editor's comments:-
I'm used to waiting years between the time I first mention a company on these pages to the time that their first product apears. Nanochip is a good example. The company was founded in 1996 and was listed here in 2001. But it doesn't expect to sample its first commercial products till 2009. That's a 13 year gestation period!

Although the company looks and talks like a chipmaker - it aims to compete head to head in the solid state disk market and I predict it will have to design make and market demonstration SSDs in order to prove its concept to the oems it hopes will one day use its technology, or license it or (more likely) acquire the company.

Memoright Says 128GB 2.5" flash SSDs Now Available

Shenzhen, China - January 22, 2008 - Memoright today announced availability of 64GB and 128GB versions of its 2.5" SATA flash SSDs.

Burst Read/Write throughput is 133MB/sec (100MB/sec sustained).

Memoright's Sales Manager, Jasmine Hong said "Maybe we are the first one who actually has 128GB TODAY. Everyone else predicts February." ...Memoright profile

Editor's comments:-
as I know from reader emails about recent announcements from other vendors - availability of new models sometimes depends on who you are. Priority tends to be given to bigger oem customers.
SSD ad - click for more info
War of the Disks - classic article on
War of the Disks: HDDs vs. Flash SSDs
Megabyte never got bored even after
30 years viewing this comedy slapstick.
How Big is Your SSD Budget for 2008?

Editor:- January 2, 2008 - Happy New Year to You all.
I've got a question for you. How big is your solid state storage budget in 2008?

I hazard to guess that most of you haven't put anything notionally marked as "SSD spending" in 2008's budget - even if you already have a good idea about what you're going to spend on traditional storage products and services.

I also predict that when the crunch comes - and you find yourself spending surprisingly large amounts of money on SSDs for the first time - these costs will be initially allocated to other cost centers - such as servers or PCs - rather than storage.

It was always thus.

In 1983 for example - over 90% of corporates didn't have a budget for buying IBM PCs. These disruptive tools intitially crept in under the IT department radar - as users found they could do useful jobs like word processing and business analysis quicker, cheaper and more conveniently than using the clunky alternatives then on offer by their IT departments. Similarly RAID systems did not appear in most 1990 corporate IT budgets - but are now everywhere.

In 2007 the SSD industry surprised many by introducing many exciting new technologies and products.

I predict that in 2008 - innovative users will surprise the SSD market by discovering for themselves a new generation of killer applications- enabled by SSDs - which would have been technically impossible - or even nuts to try and achieve using conventional hard disk based technologies. Those SSD sparks will feed back to fan the flames of the market.

Examples might include what I call - enterprise spreadsheet analysis - in which business managers are enabled to model "what if?" scenarios on duplicate sets of their entire customer database - to find gaps in their marketing or test ideas for new products.

Other applications enabled by SSD accleration might include AI enabled real-time upselling offers on ecommerce web sites. These are already feasible for innovative small to medium size companies but are not scalable with today's magnetic disk arrays. Large enterprises can't be nimble with their data because their servers would grind to a halt if you tried these types of tricks.

I'm not going to give you a long list of predicted disruptive SSD technology enabled applications - because they would be wrong - and you're going to see them coming thick and fast from real users on these pages soon enough.

2008 will be the year that users - rewrite the rules on how they mix and match new storage technologies in ways that the original manufacturers of those products - never dreamed about.
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"Bottlenecks in the pure SSD datacenter will be much more serious than in the HDD world - because responding slowly will be equivalent to transaction failure."
will SSDs end my bottlenecks? - and cure all my server problems?

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