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storage news - January 2009, week 4

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... the SSD Bookmarks
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After SSDs... What Next?
flash SSD Jargon Explained
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Overview of the Notebook SSD Market
the Problem with Write IOPS - in flash SSDs
Data Integrity Challenges in flash SSD Design
SanDisk and Toshiba Confirm Flash Fab Assets Swap
MILPITAS, CA - January 29, 2009 - SanDisk announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement with Toshiba to restructure their flash manufacturing joint ventures operating at the 300-mm Fab 3 and Fab 4.

As part of the agreement, more than 20% of the joint ventures'capacity will be transferred to Toshiba. The restructuring will result in the transfer of equipment lease obligations from SanDisk to Toshiba and a cash payment to SanDisk for the transfer of certain equipment currently owned by the joint ventures. The total value to SanDisk is approximately 80 billion yen, or approximately $890 million based on current exchange rates. The lease transfers and cash payment are expected to be completed by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2009. ...SanDisk profile, ...Toshiba profile, merged & gone away storage companies

Editor's comments:-
this simply confirms earlier public announcements made by both companies last October.

Idealstor Releases VMware Virtual Center Backup

GAITHERSBURG, MD - January 29, 2009 - Idealstor today the release of iBac VIP for VMware Virtual Center (suggested retail price $5,495).

It offers a single license that backs up every virtual machine regardless of how many ESX hosts have been implemented.

"When we entered the VMware backup market we realized that most backup vendors were ignoring the flexibility and cost savings that were inherent to virtualization", said Nandan Arora, CTO at Idealstor. "Virtualization offers a unique set of tools that enables companies to consolidate servers but also to quickly provision new server instances as needed without having to incur the costs of implementing a physical server. Most software companies on the market today ignored this and released VMware backup solutions that are tied to the number of virtual machines, physical processors or ESX hosts running on the network.

" iBac VIP for Virtual Center was designed to turn this licensing model upside down. VIP for Virtual Center lets you backup any number of virtual machines regardless of the number of processors or ESX hosts being run. The only limitation is that the backup proxy server will need to be able to handle the load, but we feel that iBac VIP is affordable enough that if another proxy server needs to be added to handle the load, we will still be far more competitive than the existing players in the VMware backup space." ...Idealstor profile, ...Backup Software

New Speed Dating Event aims to help Lonely Storage Vendors

Editor:- January 28, 2009 - registration was opened today for the Business Development Event taking place in Boston, MA in June.

The goal is to create a forum for face to face contact for industry insiders (vendors, VARs, consultants, analysts, press) that does not require the expense of exhibiting products and catering to end-users. Registration is $495 per person prior to April 1st. Press member registration is complimentary. Storage Events

Editor's comments:-
in recessions you hear a lot of enthusiastic ideas from marketers about what they can do to develop new business against a backdrop of lower customer demand and shrunken budgets. When times are good marketers attribute revenue growth to the cleverness of what they have just done - instead of acknowledging the pull effect of a rising tide. It's only when the tide goes out they can't tell which rock they should be standing on.

Are events where people get together to discuss markets a good idea? That depends on your own particular circumstances. Personally, for me - electronic communications are far more time efficient - enabling me to be talking to readers in China or India at one part of the day, and in the US at the other. And I hate wasting time talking on the phone - as I can get much more done via email. But I'm at the extreme end of this spectrum - as my job involves optimizing editorial IOPS. Some well known and respected PR agencies and storage analysts are associated with the new BD Event so it's worth seeing their website.

Fujitsu Parks Hard Disk Heads Business

Tokyo - January 27, 2009 - Fujitsu Limited announced today that it will discontinue its hard disk drive head business (which employs 360 people) as part of a broader strategic review of the HDD operations.

The HDD head development and manufacturing operations are currently performed at the Nagano Plant. The company will reassign plant employees working in the HDD head operations to other operations within the Fujitsu Group. ...Fujitsu profile

RAID Inc Launches 1U Rackmount SSD

Methuen, MA - January 27, 2009 - RAID Inc. announced the availability of its new 1U SSD RAID.

The Razor SSD is a 12 bay 4 port fibre-channel system using COTS 2.5" SAS SSDs in a RAID protected array. The Razor comes with RAID's patent pending StorageWatch service - which proactively monitors storage conditions in real-time. ...RAID Inc profile, rackmount SSDs

StorageIO Founder Publishes Book - Green and Virtual Data Center

Stillwater, Minn.- January 27, 2009 - "The Green and Virtual Data Center" - is a new book (376 pages, MSRP $79.95) by noted author and StorageIO founder Greg Schulz.

The book sets aside the political aspects of what is or is not considered green to examine the opportunities for organizations trying to grow their business while being environmentally friendly in an economically efficient manner. Addressing multiple technology domains and disciplines, it looks at design and implementation tradeoffs using various best practices and technologies to sustain application and business growth while maximizing resources, such as power, cooling, floor space, storage, server performance, and network capacity. ...StorageIO profile

2 Terabyte Hard Drive Breaks Out of the Old RPM Groove
LAKE FOREST, Calif. - January 27, 2009 - WD today announced availability of the world's first 2TB hard drive - a 3.5" SATA model (MSRP $299).

Something else that's new in an HDD launch - WD doesn't state an RPM rotation speed or access times in its datasheet.

That's the first clue that the random IOPS performance of this hard disk could be very slow - making it unsuitable for some types of server applications. Instead the company refers to IntelliSeek - "which calculates optimum seek speeds to lower power consumption, noise, and vibration" (see WD's graphical demo to get an intuitive feel of how this works). As all diskmakers know - if you push one parameter hard - something else has to give. That's why many hard disks for rugged mobile applications like cars still only spin at 4,200 RPM (not much faster than disks 20 years ago).

The clever thing about this new drive - the WD Caviar Green - is not the technical tweakeries discussed in the press release (about reducing spindle wobble, and head wear blah, blah). In my view the clever thing is the marketing thinking behind it.

WD knows that HDDs can never compete with SSDs when it comes to performance. But, as predicted in my 2007 article How Solid is Hard Disk's Future? - there are applications where HDDs will remain competitive. That includes bulk storage low IOPS applications like disk backup, video archiving etc - and in that article I said - "HDDs will only survive in applications where the average size of disk installed is an order of magnitude above the most commonly available shipped SSD."

As the top end capacity of high volume consumer flash SSDs today is 128GB to 256GB - a 2 TB hard drive is about right. As long as the cost per terabyte of the hard drive is low enough, and as long as the random seek performance beats tape and optical storage - it doesn't really matter how slow the rotation speed is in WD's new 2TB drive. Anything that requires faster random seeks will be offloaded to another worker in the storage hive. ...Western Digital profile

NetApp Veteran is New CEO at Broadcast Media Storage Company

SUNNYVALE, Calif. - January 27, 2009 - Omneon, Inc. announced today that its board of directors has appointed Suresh Vasudevan as the company's president and CEO and as a member of the board.

Vasudevan joins Omneon having most recently served as senior vice president of product operations at Network Appliance and as a member of the company's executive team, leading all product management and engineering for the NetApp product portfolio. Vasudevan's career at NetApp spanned nearly a decade. Prior to his tenure at NetApp, Vasudevan worked at the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chicago as a senior engagement manager focusing on product marketing, operations, and marketing strategy. ...Omneon profile, Storage People, NAS

New Directory for SAS SSDs

Editor:- January 26, 2009 - today published a new article and directory on the subject of SAS SSDs.

This market has been a long time acoming - and for many years there were only 1 or 2 vendors in the market. The new article chronicles the genesis of SAS SSDs and lists known vendors - which will head into double digits this year.

SNIA Publishes Draft Document on Green Storage

London, UK - January 26, 2009 - SNIA announced today the availability for public review and comment its initial Green Storage Initiative Green Storage Power Measurement Specification.

Among others, one proposal is for an Idle Power Measurement specification reported as raw GB per Watt (GB/W). ...SNIA profile, Storage ORGs, Green Storage - Trends and Predictions

Qimonda Bust

Munich, Germany - January 23, 2009 - Qimonda AG has petitioned for the opening of insolvency proceedings due to illiquidity.

To comply with German law the company has announced the appointment of insolvency administrators. ...Qimonda profile

Editor's comments:-
Qimonda's revenue in 2008 was 1/2 the level it had been 2 years earlier, and the outcome (in today's press release) was predicted in an article I wrote in 2006 - the names change but the problems remain the same.

Objective Analysis has published an article about the lead up to Qimonda's insolvency and explores the possible fallout for Qimonda's stakeholders.

Nimbus Unveils New High End NAS

San Francisco, CA - January 22, 2009 - Nimbus Data Systems today announced the H-class DH200 4 port 10GbE iSCSI NAS.

Starting with a 2U rackmount base unit - the DH200 is expandable upto 84TB using SATA hard drives or 10TB using flash SSDs. Its proprietary HALO storage OS provides data protection and easy to use virtualization. Nimbus says its cache management (upto 24GB of cache) and support for hybrid storage dramatically increases performance at a competitive price point. ...Nimbus Data Systems profile, rackmount SSDs

Hard Times for One Time #1 Hard Disk Maker

Editor:- January 22, 2009 - Seagate said its revenue had declined 33% year on year in preliminary results for the most recent quarter published yesterday.

No one expected good news from the company which earlier this month terminated it CEO and announced a 6% reduction in its workforce. Although the credit crunch will get much of the blame for these results Seagate had been losing market share during 2008 to other hard disk makers - even when the overall HDD market was growing in revenue.

The narrowing revenue gap between Seagate, the world's #1 biggest HDD maker, and the #2 Western Digital can be judged from comparing the most recently published financial data or guidance available for both companies. That shows a mere 20% difference - instead of the 2 to 1 ratio which pertained 3 years ago.

Hard times for Seagate doesn't mean that storage is going out of fashion. Every activity which generates data also results in more storage being used somewhere. Technologies which reduce the need for raw storage - such as compression and deduplication - can play only a limited part on demand for hard disks because they incur unacceptable performance hits or are restricted by platform. Technologies change... 10 years ago it seemed like tape libraries were masters of the storage universe. We predicted and chronicled the market shift to disk backup.

Today - SSDs are replacing HDDs at the bottom end of the RPM market in notebooks and at the high end of the RPM market in servers. But the long term transition to solid state storage - which we predicted 6 years ago still has a way to run. At the end of this recession - there will still be a hard disk market - but I expect it may only be 1/2 the size (in revenue) that it was in 2008.

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