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Posted on January 01, 2009

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HDS adds SSDs to disk arrays

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has announced plans to offer flash-based solid-state disk (SSD) drives in 73GB and 146GB capacities for its Universal Storage Platform V (USP V) array and the midrange Universal Storage Platform VM (USP VM) during the first quarter of 2009.

Hitachi’s Storage Command software management suite, which powers the USP V and VM platforms, supports so-called “tier zero” flash-based storage, and allows administrators to replicate, tier, manage and dynamically provision storage using both SSDs and traditional hard disk drives (HDDs).

In related news, HDS also announced planned support for the new flash-based drives recently announced by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. Hitachi GST is teaming up with Intel to develop SAS and Fibre Channel SSDs for servers, workstations and storage systems. The first products are expected to be available in early 2010, and will be based on Intel’s NAND flash memory and SSD technology.

International Data Corp. (IDC) predicts flash-based SSD technology will become more viable for mainstream storage as enterprise data environments become more diversified, according to Jeff Janukowicz, research manager, solid state drives and HDD components at IDC. The market research firm forecasts SSD adoption will increase more than 70% on a compound annual basis through 2012.

Symantec upgrades SRM

The latest version of Symantec’s Veritas CommandCentral storage resource management (SRM) software features integrated storage change management capabilities.

CommandCentral 5.1 now includes agent-less functionality and an addition called CommandCentral Storage Change Manager, which manages and tracks changes to the storage infrastructure to prevent application downtime.

Storage Change Manager extends the reach of CommandCentral by providing a centralized way to track and manage storage infrastructure changes, and enforce policies and best practices for connectivity, configuration, and compliance.

The goal is to give users a simple way to manage SANs, identify storage configuration drifts, and meet service level agreements (SLAs), according to Rob Soderbery, senior vice president of Symantec’s Storage and Availability Management Group.

The combined use of SRM and change management software can help users delay storage purchases by increasing utilization.

“Utilization numbers are pretty stark; many users are still stuck in the 30% to 40% range,” says Soderbery. “Deploying SRM and change management on a single platform can help companies defer storage purchases for up to one year.”

CommandCentral 5.1 is compliant with the SMI-S management standard and works with heterogeneous storage devices via vendor APIs.

The product supports Windows 2008, RedHat and SUSE Linux, and now extends its agent-less capabilities to virtualized environments by providing application to storage spindle visibility in VMware environments, with no requirement to deploy Symantec software or agents on the ESX server.

A single CommandCentral server can manage up to 2,000 hosts, 15,000 switch ports and 5PB of storage. Pricing starts at $20,000.

Caringo adds file system

Caringo has rounded out its content-addressable storage (CAS) product line with software that eliminates the capacity limitations of traditional NAS systems.

The company’s CAStor Content File Server (CFS) provides standard file system access to its CAStor platform. CFS is a $5,000 option for CAStor that serves up a flat address space that allows storage of millions to billions of files.

The POSIX-compliant file system supports CIFS, NFS, Mac, FTP and WebDAV protocols, as well as the ability to run as a native Linux file system.

The software also gives administrators the ability to apply metadata attributes to set retention periods for compliance, content distribution, and replication for disaster recovery.

CAStor CFS stores a file contiguously as a single object, which simplifies management and eliminates scaling limitations because the system only needs to manage a single address per file. The system scales by clustering additional CFS servers for performance across common namespace and storage.

In addition, CAStor CFS supports file-level read, write and execute permissions for users and groups via Active Directory and Access Control Lists.

LSI enhances SAS/SATA adapters

The 3.5 release of LSI’s MegaRAID firmware, which works with the company’s MegaRAID SAS 8700 and 8800 family of 3Gbps SAS/SATA adapters, includes a number of enhancements, including multipathing and load balancing.

The single-controller multipathing feature enables a controller to fail over to an alternate path in the event of a failure in a primary cable or port on a dual-port drive for increased reliability and fault tolerance.

The load balancing feature can increase performance by as much as 40% in the case of large-block sequential reads, according to Tom Kodet, LSI’s worldwide channel marketing manager. Load balancing distributes read/write I/Os over multiple paths. Kodet notes that load balancing can be particularly advantageous in applications such as virtual tape libraries (VTLs), video streaming, and data backup and archiving.

Other new features in the 3.5 release of MegaRAID firmware include:

  • Revertible hot spare, which allows users to automatically restore a hot spare and logical drive to their original configuration after a failed drive is replaced. The key benefit is reduced maintenance.
  • RAID-1 extensions that allow users to support larger logical volumes and to configure RAID-1 arrays with up to 32 drives per volume (as opposed to the traditional limit of two drives). Users can also extend RAID-10 configurations from the typical limit of 16 drives up to the maximum number of drives supported by the adapter. Kodet notes that large RAID-10 volumes are particularly advantageous in applications such as Microsoft Exchange.

iQstor bundles SANs

iQstor Networks has introduced a turnkey SAN configuration consisting of its iQ2850 iSCSI arrays or iQ2880 Fibre Channel arrays combined with management and security software, including storage virtualization and SAN management, as well as data protection features, such as point-in-time snapshots, local and remote replication, and volume copy services. Users can expand capacity via iQstor’s J2880 disk enclosures.

A dual-controller, 15TB (SATA) iQ2850 array with volume-based virtualization, snapshot, volume copy and remote replication software is priced at $27,950. A dual-controller, 15TB iQ2880 Fibre Channel version with the same software is priced at $28,950.

Bycast launches digital archiving platform

Long-term digital archiving has spawned a new crop of scalable, virtualized storage technologies that span multiple locations, and has led to the creation of archiving and storage services delivered via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models and so-called cloud storage platforms.

Bycast, a player in the space since 2002, has introduced the eighth generation of its StorageGRID platform with a range of enhancements, including a distributed file system gateway for added scalability, multi-tenancy capabilities, and support for virtual server deployments.

The StorageGRID 8 platform virtualizes information retention and access over heterogeneous storage devices, ranging from high-performance disk to archival media, distributed over multiple sites. Recent enhancements boost system performance and reduce data center footprint through support for virtual servers.

The new Distributed File System Gateway (DFSG) is a clustered file system front-end to complement StorageGRID’s distributed multi-tier object store. Coupling the performance and throughput of the DFSG file system with the StorageGRID distributed archive provides a scalable, unified storage system that is accessed through a standard file system interface.

The multi-tenancy features makes it possible to set up discrete security partitions to ensure that multiple customers or departments using the same storage service have their own independent, secure archives.

StorageGRID 8’s new support for VMware ESX lets space-conscious users run a number of StorageGRID components inside VMware virtual machines, and new audit and reporting capabilities improve usage tracking for more detailed per-transaction, per-byte, or per-asset chargeback models.

Robobak offers ‘thin’ option

Remote and branch office backup specialist Robobak has launched version 9 of its Data Protection Suite software with a number of upgrades, including an option capable of cutting the backup window for full remote backups of Microsoft Exchange databases by as much as 90%.

Version 9 includes a Thin Backup Option for Exchange (TBO-E) feature that cuts the time needed for full Exchange backups to minutes, while minimizing bandwidth requirements, according to company officials. The software performs “incremental forever” backups combined with data de-duplication and compression to reduce total data load and time. It also gives users the ability to perform data recovery operations through on-demand synthetic full restores.

Also new to version 9 of Robobak’s software is an “instant backup” feature that discovers changes on the host or networked machine and accelerates backups. There is also an “instant restore” feature that adds a search engine index to speed the time it takes to locate files.

In addition, Robobak added connection monitoring to the platform to allow administrators to view real-time activity on backup servers.

Avid upgrades arrays

Avid Technology has launched a new version of its Unity ISIS storage platform with more capacity and performance than its predecessor. The array has been revamped to support the storage demands of real-time high definition (HD) video collaboration.

The array scales from 16 to 384TB in increments of 16 or 32TB. Performance also scales to higher levels, with up to 400MBps per ISIS Engine, with a maximum aggregate bandwidth of 4.8GBps using 12 nodes. The array can support up to 330 real-time video editing clients.

The platform is a blade-based storage subsystem that features dual drive storage elements, integrated Ethernet switching, and redundant power and cooling components. Pricing starts at $96,000.

Reldata adds DR

Reldata has added disaster recovery functionality to its line of unified iSCSI SAN, NAS and WAN replication platforms that allows companies to replicate data from any disk array to Reldata’s 9240 appliances at remote DR sites. The functionality is based on the company’s RELsnap snapshot technology.

Pricing starts at $65,000 for a disaster recovery solution with 12TB of iSCSI-based capacity. Optional licenses are available for non-disruptive data migration, connectivity to Fibre Channel SANs, and integrated NAS support.

Paragon manages disks

Paragon Software Group’s Hard Disk Manager 2009 Suite is a set of tools to manage hard disk drives. Features in the new Server Edition include:

  • File-level and image-level backups;
  • The ability to exclude files and folders from a backup image;
  • Paragon Adaptive Restore, which allows restoration of Windows Vista on different hardware or virtual machines;
  • Dual-boot backup capsule with Linux and DOS recovery;
  • Boot corrector with BCD support.

Additional features include partitioning, data and system backup, and bare-metal restores.

Maxell analyzes tape cartridges

Maxell’s LTO Cartridge Memory (CM) Analyzer examines the quality of LTO tape cartridges by reading information stored on the LTO memory chip to determine whether the cartridge is intact or has deteriorated. The CA Analyzer tracks information such as percentage of records in error, number of cartridge loads, age of cartridge, and provides details on the last four times the cartridge was used.

The CM reader allows users to read and save the memory contents of cartridges, and provides performance records, via a Save Cartridge History feature. The analyzer can also perform statistical analysis on files.

Crossroads verifies tape media

The 3.0 version of Crossroads Systems’ ReadVerify Appliance (RVA), which provides tape management and monitoring functionality, includes an ArchiveVerify feature that validates the readability of data and guarantees data restore.

The RVA monitors and reports on the performance, utilization and health of tape libraries, drives and media, and provides information on potential backup failure conditions such as tape media errors or poorly performing drives. The 3.0 version also adds support for IBM’s TotalStorage 3494 tape library.

The optional ArchiveVerify feature reduces the risk of losing data on tape media by ensuring readability of the data. Verification processes are automatically initiated and analysis is conducted on the entire tape media cartridge, as opposed to the traditional method of manual spot audits.

The backup service is free for up to 2GB of data, and is priced at $10 per month for 2GB to 100GB and $10 per month for each additional 100GB.

Enhance intros SATA arrays

Enhance Technology recently added three disk arrays to its EnhanceRAID IP Series of SATA-based disk subsystems, which include 64-bit processors and support for Gigabit Ethernet and iSCSI. The R4 IP is a 1U, four-disk subsystem with dual GbE connections; the 2U R6 IP model has dual GbE connections and up to six SATA drives; and the EnhanceRAID R8 IP is a 2U array with up to eight drives and redundant power supplies.

SpiderOak upgrades ‘cloud’ service

Online backup services provider SpiderOak has added a number of features in the 2.0 version of its software suite, including a 4X increase in speed, faster file retrieval from large folders, and reduced memory usage during backups. Another feature of the service is data de-duplication, which the company claims can reduce backup and sync time by as much as 90%.

StoneFly adds SAS expansion

Dynamic Network Factory’s StoneFly subsidiary recently began shipping SAS expansion enclosures for the S-Class models in its Integrated Storage Concentrator line of IP SAN disk arrays, which also support SATA drives. Pricing starts at about $0.80 per GB with 450GB SAS drives. The subsystems can also be configured with 1TB SATA drives.

StoneFly also announced that the ISC IP SAN arrays now come with six Gigabit Ethernet ports or, optionally, can be configured with dual 10Gbps Ethernet connections. In addition, the company announced new pricing for the S-Class ISC systems, starting at $8,400 for SATA configurations and $10,100 for SAS configurations.

Separately, StoneFly introduced a bundled IP SAN configuration – dubbed OptiSAN-HD – as part of its OptiSAN Storage Concentrator family. The system includes 48 drives (expandable to 128 drives) for capacity ranging up to 40TB. Features include support for four 1Gbps Ethernet connections (upgradeable to dual 10Gbps Ethernet connections); 750GB or 1TB SATA drives (for up to 48TB of capacity in a 6U configuration); optional expansion up to 240 drives, or 240TB of capacity; and software functionality such as block-level provisioning, replication, mirroring, snapshots and virtualization. Pricing starts at $75,000 for a 36TB configuration.


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