Product highlights from SNW

Posted on October 16, 2009

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By Dave Simpson

 -- A number of vendors used this week's Storage Networking World (SNW) show in Phoenix to introduce new products. Here's a quick rundown.

Hitachi Data Systems introduced a set of integrated products under the umbrella term "agile cloud solutions," as well as a new storage platform dubbed the Hitachi Content Platform, which is a "superset" of the existing Hitachi Content Archive Platform.

The cornerstone of the product set is the company's ability to virtualize heterogeneous storage platforms, and to provide features for multitenancy environments, including security and privacy features and the ability to manage storage environments from a single interface.

Cloud-related features in the Hitachi Content Platform include a multitenant architecture with logical partitioning and namespaces, object versioning, retention and disposition services, security, privacy, encryption, charge-back, search capabilities, tiered storage and support for the REST interface.

IDC estimates that total spending on IT cloud services topped $16 billion last year, with 5% of that ($810 million) going toward cloud storage. The market research firm predicts that spending on IT cloud services will surge to more than $42 billion in 2012, with the cloud storage slice growing to 13% ($5.5 billion). IDC reports that the majority of cloud-related spending is attributable to business applications (57% in 2008 and an estimated 52% in 2012).

Solid-state disk (SSD) specialist WhipTail Technologies introduced the Racerunner version of its SSD appliances, which include Exar's Hifn BitWackr data deduplication and compression cards and software. The configuration provides an inline (as opposed to post-processing) capacity optimization appliance for primary storage. The appliances are available in 1.5TB, 3TB and 6TB versions.

James Candelaria, WhipTail's CTO, claims a minimum 10:1 deduplication ratio in virtual server environments, and on average 2:1 to 4:1 optimization ratios in non-virtual server environments (although deduplication ratios vary widely depending on data types). Factoring in the overhead (about 50%) associated with compression and deduplication, Candelaria cites performance of 60,000 IOs per second (IOPS) on reads and 25,000 to 30,000 IOPS on writes, although the company has not completed its testing of the Racerunner appliances with the BitWackr cards. The deduplication/compression cards are are offered at no extra charge.

WhipTail also launched its VIPER channel partner program.

ProStor Systems added a model to its lineup of InfiniVault systems, which are based on RDX removable disk cartridges. The InfiniVault Model 5 includes five 500GB cartridges and a 1.8TB file area (for management of up to 250 million files), and up to 2.5TB of uncompressed capacity (5TB compressed). Features of the archiving appliances, which are positioned as alternatives to tape and optical devices, include data retention management (HIPPA, Sarbanes-Oxley, Federal Rules for Civil Procedure, and others), compliance, e-Discovery, and encryption. The InfiniVault Model 5 is priced at $14,995.

Crossroads launched the SPHiNX line of disk-based virtual tape appliances for IBM Power Systems (AS/400s). The appliances support i5/OS save commands and Backup Recovery and Media Services (BRMS), integration with physical tape libraries for disaster recovery, RAID, dynamic virtual tape sizes, and compression for data reduction (10:1 or greater, according to the company). Replication and encryption are available as options. The devices can be designated as alternate IPL devices in order to migrate data to a new system or restore an image of an old system.

Crossroads also provides a number of tape-related services.

Olocity used SNW as a launch pad for its StorageIM Professional Edition management software. (The company's StorageIM Community Edition is available as a free download from the company's web site.)

Based on the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) and Olocity's xIM architecture, the software can be used by vendors as a base for storage management software or by end users. Features in the open-source Professional Edition include data center performance metrics, expanded systems management capabilities, and customized training and support.

StorageIM Professional Edition can be used to manage disk arrays from 3PAR, EMC, LSI, Fujitsu, HDS, IBM, HP, Pillar and Data Direct Networks; switches from Brocade, Cisco and QLogic; HBAs from Emulex and QLogic; and tape libraries from HP, IBM and Quantum.

Sepaton and Bus-Tech announced a partnership that has resulted in a product that combines Sepaton's S2100-ES2 virtual tape library (VTL) with Bus-Tech's Mainframe Data Library (MDL) model 100V for direct-to-VTL connectivity for ESCON and FICON mainframe users. The combo allows users to back up their mainframe data to Sepaton's VTLs.

Ixia, which specializes in IP performance testing systems, announced a set of test solutions that support SANs, Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE), Data Center Ethernet (DCE), Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), and Converged Network Adapters (CNAs). The IxChariot CNA test tools were developed in conjunction with Emulex.

Also this week, the SCSI Trade Association announced the SAS Advanced Connectivity roadmap, which is essentially a preview of next-generation connectivity for the SAS interface based on the Mini-SAS High-Density (HD) connector standard. Mini-SAS HD provides active copper (up to 20 meters) and optical (up to 100 meters) cable extensions, as well as a standard management methodology for SAS cabling.

In addition to extending cable lengths, Mini-SAS HD (SFF-8643/8644) doubles the number of ports supported compared to today's SAS connectors. It also has less cross-talk and a better signal-to-noise ratio.

The ANSI T10 standards body is expected to approve the Mini-SAS HD standard as part of the SAS 2.1 specification in 2010, according to Harry Mason, STA president and director of industry marketing at LSI. Samples of Mini-SAS HD connectors are available today, with production versions expected next year.

In other SAS-related news this week, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (GST) introduced two 15,000rpm UltraStar disk drives. The Ultrastar C15K147 is a 2.5-inch, 73GB/147GB drive that supports 6Gbps SAS, and the 300GB/450GB/600GB Ultrastar 15K600 is a 3.5-inch drive that supports 6Gbps SAS or 4Gbps Fibre Channel interfaces and a 64MB buffer.

And LSI introduced three host adapters this week that support 6Gbps SAS and 3Gbps SATA: the SAS 9211-4i (four internal ports, $205), 9211-8i (eight internal ports, $285) and 9200-8e (eight external ports, $419). The company claims performance of up to 2.6GBps in sequential reads, 3GBps in sequential writes, and up to 317,000 IOPS. The SAS 9200 series adapters support up to 512 SAS or SAT devices.


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