RAIDers of the Lost Blocks

Posted on January 01, 1998

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RAIDers of the Lost Blocks

Dave Simpson

Editor-in-Chief

Evaluating RAID used to be a ridiculous task of sifting through vendors` confusing performance claims (how relevant are I/Os per second, anyway?). But IT managers have figured out that, if you want performance--and you have deep enough pockets--there`s more than enough to go around.

What IT folks care about today is nonstop access to reliable data in order to keep their 7x24x365 shops humming. That means fault tolerance and component redundancy--all the way down to power cords in some cases--and much more. In this month`s issue, we`ve got a condensed version of the RAID Advisory Board`s guide to "extended data availability and protection," which is intended to help IT managers evaluate the resiliency of disk arrays. For mind-numbing details, go to www.raid-advisory.com.

The RAB ratings have, perhaps unintentionally, set off a press release race among vendors to see who can garner the highest ratings. So far, the winners--by virtue of attaining the highest RAB classification--are Comparex, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, and MTI Technology.

For a look at how real-life IT administrators go about evaluating and optimizing RAID for both performance and data protection, check out the first installment of our three-parter: "How to Evaluate RAID for VLDB." This month the focus is on RAID basics and the tradeoffs of various configurations.

Fear and loathing

InfoStor covered the bulk of the Comdex storage announcements in our December issue, but in case you missed the fear and loathing in Las Vegas, the rest of the important stuff is in this month`s New Products section, which begins on p. 52.

We try to forget Comdex as soon as we leave the McCarron tarmac, but one of the coolest things we saw at the show was not a product but, rather, a sneak peek at a technology that just might topple the apple cart in the midrange tape market. Overland Data`s Variable Rate Randomizer (or VR2, thankfully) can double the capacity and transfer rate of any tape drive that uses linear recording. Or so they say (they lost us in the pattern trace part of the proof-of-concept demo). Analysts are bubbling, competitors are bristling, but we`ve yet to hear from licensees. The story`s in our News and Trends section and a detailed article is due in a forthcoming issue.

Among the trillions of T-shirt logos spotted at Comdex, our favorite: "In a world without fences, who needs Gates?"


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