Storage UPDATE--Utility Computing--July 26, 2004

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1. Commentary

- Storage Industry Pursues Utility Computing

2. News and Views

- Linksys Releases New Small Business Storage Product

- Broadcom Targets RAID Market

3. Resource

- Windows Server 2003 Cannot Perform Backup Jobs to Tape Devices on a Storage Area Network

4. New and Improved

- SSD Interoperable in SANs

- New LDAP Hot Backup Plug-In

- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary ====

by David Chernicoff, david@winnetmag.com

Storage Industry Pursues Utility Computing

A couple of interesting corporate acquisitions a couple of weeks ago highlight the direction the storage industry is going, despite the fact that the acquisitions were of companies that make very different kinds of products.

First was the July 13 announcement that Adaptec is buying Snap Appliance. Best known for its storage adapter products, Adaptec has been working hard to build market share outside the board-level component business--a fairly flat market that hasn't experienced the same sort of growth that the device side of the storage industry has shown. Adaptec has been pushing hard into the midrange Storage Area Network (SAN) market with the introduction of Serial ATA (SATA) storage arrays that connect through Internet SCSI (iSCSI) or Fibre Channel. The acquisition of Snap Appliance boosts Adaptec into the Network Attached Storage (NAS) market for small and midsized businesses.

Exemplifying the utility computing model, Snap Appliance devices give storage administrators a Plug and Play (PnP) solution to adding storage to their networks without adopting the additional technologies that SAN implementations require. The acquisition takes Adaptec head-to-head with well-known vendors of NAS storage, such as EMC and Network Appliance, while giving the company the advantage of Snap Appliance's name recognition in the NAS market.

Adding Adaptec's well-known technologic skills to the Snap brand should help give customers who are evaluating storage vendors a good feeling about the combined companies. Adaptec's strong relationships with OEMs should also open new avenues for Snap Appliance products as OEMs look to put their own brand on the storage technologies that their customers demand. The acquisition will also make Adaptec one of the few vendors able to offer end-to-end storage solutions, from board-level components to SAN hardware, with common software management tools across the board.

The second acquisition was the July 14 announcement that VERITAS Software has bought Invio Software, which produces IT process-automation software. Invio was already a big part of VERITAS's push into utility storage, providing the process automation engine used in VERITAS CommandCentral Service 4.0. VERITAS believes that the key to utility computing is in the software, which lets customers manage, provision, and control all their storage devices from one interface and performs much of the hard work behind the scenes.

Invio's technology gives VERITAS's software the ability to use a simple point-and-click interface to do tasks that would otherwise take hours of detailed work. A storage administrator can pick and choose among storage devices and let the Invio process automation technology that's embedded in CommandCentral Service take care of the most time-consuming parts of the deployment and provisioning process, such as configuring the storage and assigning rights and permissions.

Although very different, both acquisitions highlight the importance the industry is placing on technologies that make adding large amounts of storage as easy as possible for the IT department. Although the utility computing model has yet to grab the mindshare necessary to be truly successful, the idea of utility storage has few, if any, detractors, and the push to make utility storage a reality for corporate consumers is coming from all directions in the storage products industry.

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==== 2. News and Views ====

by Keith Furman, keith@winnetmag.com

Linksys Releases New Small Business Storage Product

Expanding its line of storage products, Linksys has launched a new Network Attached Storage (NAS) device aimed at small businesses. The EtherFast Network Attached Storage EFG250 includes a print server and a 250GB hard drive. A removable second bay lets users add drives for online storage or backups. The second bay supports up to 250GB and is easy to swap out. The device includes software that lets users back up data to the second drive either manually or on a schedule; users can then remove and store the drive. "We've expanded our network storage line to meet the needs of businesses and resellers who demand more affordable, easy to use storage,'" said Steve Troyer, director of product marketing for Linksys. "We also wanted to provide functionalities that would enable their networks to grow as their business does--the extra hard drive bay is an example of this."

The EFG250 includes a DHCP server and FTP server for Internet-attached storage. The OS includes such disk utilities as backup, self test, scan disk, and defragmentation. Linksys will also offer additional hard disk trays for the second bay to make it easier for users to swap hard drives.

http://www.linksys.com

Broadcom Targets RAID Market

Hoping to become a dominant force in the RAID market for small to midsized businesses (SMB), Broadcom has announced a new set of RAID host bus adapters (HBAs). Based on technology acquired earlier this year through its purchase of RAIDCore, the company launched the RAIDCore BC4000 series of RAID controller cards. The BC4000 series cards are designed for Serial ATA (SATA) RAID. "The BC4000 HBA series are powerful storage solutions that bring enterprise-class RAID technology to the SMB market. It is an ideal product family for value-added resellers and storage integrators looking to offer high-end storage alternatives to their customers without the premium price of other RAID approaches," said Tom Marmen, vice president and general manager of Broadcom's Storage Line of Business.

Broadcom's new BCM5770 SATA controller chip powers the BC4000 series family, which includes cards for four-channel and eight-channel support. (Broadcom is a major chip OEM, and you can expect to see its BCM5770 chip show up in products from other companies.) The controller cards feature a mean time between failures (MTBF) of 3.5 million hours, according to Broadcom. Broadcom will provide enterprise-class RAID functionality for the BC4000 through its XelCore software, which supports all popular RAID levels, controller spanning, online capacity expansion, online RAID level migration, and the ability to create storage arrays that span multiple controllers without system downtime. Broadcom's BC4000 series cards are available now. Suggested retail prices are $362 for the eight-channel card and $289 for the four-channel card.

http://www.broadcom.com

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==== 3. Resource ====

Windows Server 2003 Cannot Perform Backup Jobs to Tape Devices on a Storage Area Network

Windows Server 2003 users might have problems backing up to tape devices on a Storage Area Network (SAN) due to a conflict between Plug and Play (PnP) and some other process on the system. To learn more about this problem and workarounds to it, click the URL below.

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=842411

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==== 4. New and Improved ====

by Renee Munshi, products@winnetmag.com

SSD Interoperable in SANs

Texas Memory Systems (TMS) announced that the RamSan-320 solid state disk (SSD) has completed interoperability testing with McDATA's portfolio of storage networking products as part of the McDATA OPENready Tested program. SSD storage improves performance of demanding Storage Area Network (SAN)-based applications, such as databases, online transaction processing (OLTP) systems, and OLAP systems. Offering 250,000 I/O operations per second and internal bandwidth of 3GB that can be shared among multiple servers, RamSan-320 is interoperable in heterogeneous SAN environments and is deployed across all major platforms and OSs.

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New LDAP Hot Backup Plug-In

Arkeia announced the release of a plug-in for hot backup of Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) servers. The plug-in enables Arkeia backup-solution customers to protect server data without interrupting LDAP services. You can integrate LDAP server online backup into an Arkeia Network Backup or Arkeia Server Backup installation. You use and configure the plug-in via the Arkeia GUI. The LDAP hot backup plug-in is priced at $990.

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