Storage UPDATE—brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network
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November 25, 2002—In this issue:
- Why Buy a File Server?
2. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Independent Storage Management Alliance Ends
- Overland Storage Supports LTO Generation 2
- Happy 10th Anniversary SQL Server!
- Give Us Your Feedback and Be Entered to Win an Xbox
- What System State Information Does Win2K and Later Back Up?
- Submit Top Product Ideas
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Storage on the Go
- Monitor, Manage, and Protect Storage Resources
6. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Mark Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org)
File and print—one of the most frequently used services in the IT world—has been the reason why American businesses have purchased millions of general-purpose file servers. But managing file server storage is tedious and expensive. One alternative is Networked Attached Storage (NAS)—a server dedicated to file and print serving. In the Windows world, the file and print choice today is simple: Buy Windows 2000 Server, or buy a Windows-powered NAS (WPNAS) device.
You can purchase a WPNAS device only from a hardware partner. A WPNAS is a separate OS that you load on a Win2K Server machine and that is optimized for network storage so that all capability that isn't required for file and print serving is taken out and additional file and print serving features are added in. The remaining code is then optimized specifically for file and print services in a Windows environment and made available to storage hardware companies to embed in their products.
WPNAS devices are headless; that is, they don't contain their own management UI—you must use another display device on the network to manage them. These devices provide two management console alternatives: You can use any networked PC with a browser, or you can use Windows 2000 Server Terminal Services. Either option lets you manage WPNAS devices from anywhere on the network.
The IT trend is moving away from general-purpose servers that you must configure and moving toward servers that are preconfigured for a specific purpose (e.g., file serving, Web serving). Microsoft seeks to create more reliable, manageable, and easy to install devices by creating a version of the Windows OS that's dedicated to one application. For example, Microsoft is developing its NAS and Web servers as dedicated devices. The company's Windows-powered strategy is to create specialized OS versions for hardware partners to embed in their hardware solutions.
The Windows-powered strategy also lets Microsoft respond more quickly to growing competition in the marketplace. For example, when Linux Samba provided a simple, low-cost alternative for Windows file and print services on Windows NT Server, Microsoft needed to respond. If Microsoft had responded to the Samba challenge by changing Win2K Server, the company would have damaged its application server business, which has a different set of customer requirements than its file and print services business has. Instead, Microsoft wisely chose to spin off a separate development team to focus directly on NAS, which resulted in a separate product line for Microsoft and its partners.
WPNAS has gone from zero to 32 percent of the NAS market share in 18 months. Microsoft's presence in the NAS market has accelerated the pace of NAS product development, bringing once high-end features such as hot-swappable drives and geo-clustering to the reach of small and midsized businesses. Microsoft's WPNAS strategy also lets the company license file and print services differently from how it licenses the services in Win2K Server to stay cost-competitive with UNIX and Linux-based NAS solutions.
The WPNAS strategy has a dedicated development team to build the next-generation Web server platform, Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003, Web Edition. Win.NET Web Edition is a headless device optimized for Web serving. In time, Microsoft might apply the Windows-powered strategy to other devices, such as Storage Area Networks (SANs), caching appliances, and firewall appliances, providing IT a choice between purchasing dedicated or general-purpose servers.
The next time you need to upgrade your Windows file and print infrastructure, take a look at WPNAS. I think you'll find its reliability, features, licensing, and pricing are hard to beat, and that it's easier to manage than general-purpose file servers.
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2. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Keith Furman, email@example.com)
A storage management alliance effort that the storage industry created last month but that was independent of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has dissolved, according to industry reports. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), IBM, Sun Microsystems, and VERITAS Software formed the effort and intended it to promote and deploy SNIA's Common Information Model (CIM), Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) technology, and Storage Management Initiative (SMI) specifications (formerly known as Bluefin) for Storage Area Network (SAN)-based storage management. Members of the alliance promised to release products supporting the standard by 2003. The vendors hoped their initiative would help spark standards-based storage management deployment, but the general opinion was that the effort unnecessarily competed directly with SNIA's efforts.
Shortly after the alliance announced its formation, the SNIA launched a new industry initiative called the SMI Forum, whose mission shared similar goals with the alliance and included vendor support from some of the alliance's vendors—i.e., HDS, IBM, Sun Microsystems, and VERITAS. (You can read my previous report about this initiative at http://www.winnetmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=27262 .) The formation of the SMI Forum and the confusion that the initial vendor alliance caused led to the dissolution of the vendor alliance. "Now that SNIA is moving the \[CIM\] effort forward at a better clip, the group believes that its alliance was confusing to customers and the industry as a whole," said Steve Kenniston, a senior analyst with Enterprise Storage Group (ESG). The vendor alliance companies are expected to continue to work together with one another, the other SNIA vendors that weren't part of the initial SNIA effort, and the SNIA.
Overland Storage, formerly known as Overland Data, announced support for Hewlett-Packard's (HP's) Linear Tape-Open (LTO) Generation 2 tape drive. HP and Overland have teamed up to integrate the new drive into Overland's Neo series tape libraries. The new drive supports 400GB of compressed capacity and speeds as fast as 60Mbps compressed. The new capacity doubles the performance of the first generation of LTO products.
Backup tape products have faced increasingly heavy competition from disk-based backup products recently as the price of storage has dramatically decreased. LTO backup and disk-based products compete with Super DLTtape and VXA-2 backup tape technology. Earlier this year, Super DLTtape was upgraded to support 320GB of compressed capacity. Overland and other companies such as Advanced Digital Information Corporation (ADIC), Compaq, Dell, HP, IBM, and Quantum sell Super DLTtape products. VXA-2, which Exabyte is positioning to replace DDS backup technology, can store 160GB on one tape cartridge with an average 2:1 data-compression ratio and transfer speeds of 12Mbps.
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The information that the OS includes in the backup when you perform a backup and include the system state varies depending on the type and state of the machine you're backing up. Click here to view a table of the elements that the OS backs up:
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, email@example.com)
JMTek released USBDrive 2.0, a portable storage device that features speeds as fast as 7Mbps for read operations and 5Mbps for write operations. The drive is available in 128MB, 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB storage capacities. The USBDrive device is backward-compatible with USB 1.1 specification. Pricing depends on storage capacity. Contact JMTek at 425-251-9400 or 877-533-7835.
ATTO Technology, Computer Associates (CA), IBM, NeoScale Systems, Overland Storage, and StoreAge Networking Technologies have combined technologies to offer The Highly Secure, Self-Managing SAN. The Storage Area Network (SAN) solution can monitor and apply user-defined policies to manage and protect storage resources. You can deploy The Highly Secure, Self-Managing SAN in new or existing production SAN environments. For more information, contact one of the participating vendors at its Web site.
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