Most Valuable Products Awards

In conjunction with the Association of Storage Networking Professionals (www.asnp.org), InfoStor recently co-sponsored the Most Valuable Products awards. Members of the ASNP as well as industry analysts narrowed a field of hundreds of product submissions down to five finalists in each of six categories, and InfoStor's end-user readers and the ASNP membership (all end users) voted on the winners in each category. The awards were presented at the recent Storage World Conference (June 28 to July 1 in Long Beach, CA).

Descriptions of the winners and finalists in the six categories follow. Finalists in each category are in alphabetical order.

Backup Hardware


StorageTek: L700 tape library

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www.storagetek.com/upload/product_collateral/ current/28/464.pdf
Product description: The L700 tape library has up to 678 slots in a single-frame configuration, or 1,344 slots in a dual-frame configuration. The company has demonstrated a restore rate of 300GB in two hours. The L700 is compatible with Unix and Windows NT environments.

Features include a native Fibre Channel interface, support for mixed media (STK's high-performance 9840 or high-capacity T9940, as well as DLT, SDLT, and LTO Ultrium tape formats), up to 900 cartridge fetches per hour, and an average cartridge access time of 4.5 seconds (SDLT, LTO Ultrium, 9840, and T9940).

Optional software includes the following:

  • Horizon L-Series Library Admin, a browser-based Java application that allows users to view statistics, reboot the library, and perform other remote administration tasks;
  • Horizon Framework Library Monitor, a plug-in that works with existing network management applications; and
  • Horizon Library Manager, a Java application that enables library sharing.

The L700 library can hold up to 20 DLT or LTO drives, or up to 12 9840 or T9940 drives.


ADIC: Scalar i2000 tape library

www.adic.com/ibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?section= 10028&item=121905
Product description: Advanced Digital Information Corp.'s Scalar i2000 tape library is built on ADIC's iPlatform architecture, which eliminates external library control servers. A capacity-on-demand feature allows users to scale the system from 100 to more than 2,200 tape cartridges. Integrated functions include native partitioning of a single library into multiple logical libraries, mixed-media operation, native Fibre Channel connectivity, performance monitoring, and policy-based administrator alerts. The i2000 can hold 1 to 48 drives, and up to 1,395 (SDLT), 1,674 (LTO), or 2,232 (AIT) cartridges for as much as 670TB (assuming 2:1 compression) of capacity.

IBM: 3592 Enterprise Tape System

Product description: The IBM 3592 has a native data-transfer rate of 40MBps and 300GB of uncompressed capacity per cartridge. The 3592 can attach to 2Gbps Fibre Channel fabrics, ESCON, and 2Gbps FICON. Virtual Backhitch Technology is a non-volatile caching mode of operation that improves performance by reducing tape-drive backhitching. High Resolution Tape Directory improves file search times with a granular tape position directory. A Head Channel Calibration feature allows for automatic customization of each read/write data channel for optimum performance. Capacity Scaling logically shortens the cartridge to essentially 1/5 of its full length, yielding 60GB of uncompressed cartridge capacity to improve random access performance. Average data file access time is about 11 seconds on a 60GB cartridge, or about 39 seconds on a 300GB cartridge. Upcoming features include support for write-once, read-many (WORM) tape operations.

Overland Storage: NEO Series 8000 tape library

Product description: The NEO 8000 is the newest member of Overland Storage's NEO Series of tape libraries. Designed for large data centers, the NEO 8000 family consists of a base model that can be expanded using a software key expansion feature, eliminating cumbersome mechanical changes. The NEO 8000 supports 100 to 500 cartridges in a 19-inch rack footprint for a total capacity of up 255TB (assuming 2:1 compression) in 6.9 sq. ft. The library supports SDLT 600 and LTO-2 (Ultrium) tape drives/media. Features include a sustained data rate of more than 2.5TB per hour and remote access from any browser. The library can be configured with 2 to 12 tape drives.

Quantum: SuperDLT 600 tape drive

www.quantum.com/am/products/dlt/ sdlt600/default.htm
Product description: The Super DLT 600 tape drive with DLTSage software is Quantum's third-generation "super tape drive." The SDLT 600 has a native capacity of 300GB (600GB compressed), with native transfer rates of up to 36MBps. DLTSage management software provides predictive and preventive maintenance diagnostic tools that ensure all data backups are completed successfully and that drives and media can be properly managed by administrators to prevent outages. DLTSage also allows SDLT 600 users to monitor tape drive and media utilization to determine when and where errors are likely to occur. The SDLT 600 has a 2Gbps Fibre Channel interface.

Data-protection Software


Veritas: NetBackup

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Product description: Veritas' venerable NetBackup software works in Unix, Windows, Linux, and NetWare environments. Organizations can manage all aspects of backup and recovery using an intuitive graphical user interface, allowing consistent backup policies to be enforced across the enterprise. NetBackup provides advanced media management, including capabilities such as tape labeling, tape media pool creation, device sharing, media/device reporting, and bar-code support. The software also provides optional database- and application-aware backup and recovery for Oracle, SAP R/3, Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint Portal Server, DB2, Lotus Notes/Domino, Sybase, and Informix.

New features in NetBackup 5.1 include integration with Network Appliance's Snapshot and SnapRestore for reduced backup time; 128- and 256-bit encryption for increased security; enhanced client data protection for Exchange, SQL Server, and DB2 UDB; and Itanium support for Windows (client and server) and HP-UX, Red Hat, and SuSE Linux clients.


CommVault: Galaxy

Product description: CommVault's Galaxy backup-and-recovery software is part of the company's QiNetix data management suite. The software provides unified, scalable data protection for distributed, heterogeneous environments. Galaxy uses metadata management to deliver application-centric data protection. Policy-based backups and restores can be enforced across operating environments and applications, helping users simplify management of complex storage networks. Galaxy maps business requirements to storage policies because it stores data logically versus physically, alleviating the need to know what physical device data is stored on. This architecture speeds restore performance. From a centralized browser interface and via centralized policies, users can manage/automate data movement and storage device utilization. With disk-to-disk-to-tape options, administrators can speed backups and use media that matches data availability, performance, and cost requirements.

Computer Associates: BrightStor ARCserve

Product description: CA's BrightStor ARCserve backup software scales from single server to large enterprise environments. The company stresses ARCserve's ease of use, claiming that novice administrators can install the software and perform first backups in less than 20 minutes. BrightStor ARCserve supports a wide range of backup devices, as well as a range of applications, databases, e-mail systems, and operating systems (Windows, Linux, Unix, and Mac OS X). Release 11 of BrightStor ARCserve includes features such as multiplexing, a Premium Exchange Agent add-on, support for Microsoft Storage Server 2003 and VSS software snapshots, and integration with CA's BrightStor ARCserve Backup for Laptops & Desktops software.

IBM: Tivoli Storage Manager

Product description: IBM Tivoli Storage Manager software enables users to restore online data from an offline data copy in the case of hardware failure, disasters, or human error. Using a centralized control model with automatic scheduled data backup and archive capabilities, Tivoli Storage Manager is optimized to minimize data-transfer sizes for fast backups and restores and can be used in SAN, LAN, Internet, or dial-up connection environments to back up and archive data from 17 different operating system platforms. The software scales from laptops to mainframes. To support data retention and regulatory compliance issues, Tivoli Storage Manager for Data Retention helps companies validate the integrity of data as well as automatically enforce or change retention periods.

Legato: NetWorker

Product description: Legato's NetWorker backup-and-recovery software is compatible with Unix, Windows, Linux, OpenVMS, Mac OS X, and NetWare platforms. Features include advanced indexing and media management, cluster support, high-speed parallelism, cross-platform tape interoperability, NDMP support, backup to disk, tape cloning, archiving, serverless backup, and dynamic drive sharing. In conjunction with the DiskBackup Option (DBO), the software enables enterprises to leverage disk arrays for faster backup and recovery, and increased ROI of tape resources. DBO delivers all the features of NetWorker when backing up to disk, including automated staging and cloning with single-step recovery for lower TCO, less time to recovery, and greater operational efficiency.

Disk Subsystems


EMC: Symmetrix DMX

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www.emc.com/products/ systems/DMX_series.jsp
Product description: Symmetrix DMX is based on the Direct Matrix Architecture, which employs a matrix of dedicated point-to-point connections—in contrast to switch- and bus-based architectures. DMX delivers direct access, from the front of the storage array to the disk drives, for high I/O throughput. The disk array is designed to minimize contention, latency, and bandwidth issues, as well as potential points of failure. Each data path is dedicated (nothing is shared) so there are no competing demands to slow data flow. Symmetrix DMX is compatible with all existing Symmetrix-specific software, such as SRDF and TimeFinder.

The Symmetrix DMX-2 provides up to a 30% performance improvement over the original DMX (which was introduced last year) via 1GHz PowerPC channel and disk "directors," 32GB global memory directors (doubling the maximum cache to 256GB), support for 73GB 15,000rpm Fibre Channel disk drives, RAID 5 (as well as mirroring and parity RAID), and multi-array support for EMC's SRDF/A replication software.


Hitachi Data Systems: Freedom Storage Lightning 9980V

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www.hds.com/products_services/ storage_systems/enterprise_storage/
Product description: Freedom Storage Lightning 9980V is based on Hitachi's second-generation Hi-Star crossbar switched architecture. Features include built-in virtualization-assist features (Host Storage Domains), a range of connectivity options, and almost triple the bandwidth of its predecessor. The Lightning 9980V is available with 146GB drives, effectively doubling total raw capacity of the original 9900 V to 148TB and total usable capacity to 128TB in a RAID-5 configuration. The disk array provides up to 32 FICON channels and 64 2Gbps Fibre Channel connections. In addition, the 9980V features Virtual Storage Ports (VSPs) for SAN environments, enabling 128 different server platforms or operating systems to access the same physical Fibre Channel port. In essence, each server has access to its own "virtual private storage" with data security. This provides support for 4,096 different servers by isolating the effects of one server's storage domain from affecting other servers' storage.


Network Appliance: NearStore R200

Product description: Network Appliance's NearStore R200 nearline storage system provides fast-access storage for applications such as backup and recovery, reference data, online archival, and remote disaster recovery. The NearStore R200 is designed for workloads that require quicker random access compared to offline storage devices, yet do not require the continuous, high-volume activity provided by primary storage. The R200 enables users to achieve fast data access at a low cost—less than one cent per megabyte. NearStore allows enterprises to back up tens of terabytes of online data, with minimal impact on primary storage performance while reducing backup storage capacity and support requirements. The NearStore R200 is a disk-based, secondary storage device that complements and improves existing tape backup, archiving, and data-protection schemes in a three-tier storage architecture.

Nexsan Technologies: ATABeast

Product description: Nexsan's ATABeast is a disk-to-disk backup platform that combines capacity, availability, and scalability at a cost that makes it a potential replacement for enterprise-class tape libraries. The company claims data access rates up to 100 times faster than tape libraries. As many as 42 ATA drives can be active simultaneously for high I/O performance. Other features include a fully redundant architecture with dual RAID controllers, each configured with dual 2Gbps Fibre Channel host ports or dual Ultra160 SCSI host ports. Capacity ranges up to 13.4TB in a 4U rack. The active-active design enables automatic fail-over. ATABeast supports RAID 0, 4, and 5 and can be configured with multiple RAID sets and multiple partitions per set.

XIOtech: Magnitude 3D

Product description: The Magnitude 3D SAN array is based on clustering technology that includes "fiber-distributed storage clusters." Dimensional Storage Clusters are designed for Multiple Layers of Resilience (MLOR) across a distributed, N-way architecture. Resilience features include fail-over at the controller and cluster level, virtual server redirects across geographically distributed locations, and dynamic server and application management. Dynamic provisioning eliminates planned downtime. IT staff can non-disruptively update and adapt storage cluster configurations without specialized expertise. Storage clusters can be independently scaled based on business or application needs, and capacity and performance can be incrementally scaled without application disruption.

Network Equipment


Cisco: MDS 9509 director

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www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/ps4159/ ps4358/ps4359/index.html
Product description: The Cisco MDS 9509 Multilayer Director supports up to 224 ports in a single chassis. Features include the following:

  • High availability—Redundant hardware components, non-disruptive software upgrades, and process-specific restart capabilities;
  • Virtual SANs (VSANs)—Allows users to segment a single fabric into multiple, isolated, independent SANs for security, reliability, and scalability benefits;
  • Native multi-protocol support—The MDS 9509 supports 1Gbps/2Gbps Fibre Channel, iSCSI, FCIP, and other transport protocols natively; and
  • Security—Support for FC-SP, SSH, RADIUS, SNMPv3, role-based access control, and VSANs. Diagnostics and troubleshooting features include support for Fibre Channel PING, traceroutes, switch port analyzers (SPAN), and Call Home.


Brocade: SilkWorm 3200 switch

Product description: The SilkWorm 3200 is an 8-port Fibre Channel fabric switch for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). It is also a fit for DAS-to-SAN migration, NAS migration, NAS back-ends, and SAN bundles for departments and workgroups.

Features include the following:

  • 2Gbps Fibre Channel ports with auto-sensing to support 1Gbps environments;
  • Based on the Brocade Intelligent Fabric Services Architecture, the SilkWorm 3200 includes features such as ISL Trunking, Frame Filtering, and hardware-enforced zoning for SAN security;
  • An Extended Fabrics feature enable SANs to span up to 100km via DWDM over MANs; and
  • Supports Windows NT/2000, Linux, and Unix.

CNT: UltraNet Edge Storage Router

Product description: The UltraNet Edge Storage Router is an intelligent multi-protocol storage networking platform that interconnects and extends Fibre Channel and FICON SANs over IP, ATM, or SONET to create enterprise-wide storage networks, improving information access and streamlining storage management. It enables data replication, including disk mirroring and remote tape backup/restore for data availability and business continuity. The router also has a notification feature called State Change Management, which isolates faults from propagating through multiple fabrics within a domain, via WAN connectivity. Software allows users to view, configure, and manage their entire application across multiple SANs and domains.

McData: Intrepid 6140 Director

Product description: The Intrepid 6000 Series 140-port Director (Intrepid 6140) is complementary to McData's 64-port Intrepid 6064, providing director-class connectivity attributes to larger SANs and mainframe FICON deployments requiring hundreds or even thousands of ports. The common architecture of the Intrepid 6140 is backward-compatible with the company's entire core-to-edge product family. The Intrepid series provides 64 to 140 ports, in 4-port increments, in a 12U (21-inch) package, enabling up to 420 ports in a single FC-512 cabinet or any industry-standard 19-inch rack. The 6140 is based on a protocol-independent design with a serial crossbar architecture.

QLogic: SANblade host bus adapters

Product description: The SANblade QLA2300 Series of HBAs features

  • Support for SCSI, IP, VI and FICON protocols;
  • Single-chip architecture;
  • On-board RISC processor for low CPU utilization;
  • Broad interoperability certifications with tape, disk, and storage management software products;
  • Data-transfer rates of up to 400MBps per channel in full-duplex mode;
  • Transaction rates up to 80,000 I/Os per second; and
  • SANsurfer Tool Kit management software.

Operating system support includes Solaris, Windows NT/2000, NetWare, and Linux.

Management Software


Hewlett-Packard: .OpenView Storage Area Manager

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http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/ storage/software/sam/index.html
Product description: HP OpenView Storage Area Manager:

  • Simplifies and automates management of storage resources and infrastructure;
  • Allows users to monitor and manage storage and storage service availability, performance, usage, cost, and growth from a central management console;
  • Encompasses five applications, which are sold as a suite or individually: HP OpenView Storage Accountant, Storage Allocater, Storage Builder, Storage Node Manager, and Storage Optimizer;
  • Manages network- or direct-attached, Fibre Channel or SCSI, HP and non-HP disk and tape systems;
  • Provides centralized usage metering, automated cost calculation, and billing for storage;
  • Includes LUN access control management;
  • Provides a centralized view of available capacity, capacity used by storage devices, hosts, volumes, directories, users, or files; and
  • Provides centralized real-time performance analysis by host, infrastructure, or storage device.


AppIQ: StorageAuthority Suite

Product description: AppIQ's StorageAuthority Suite provides heterogeneous SAN management, storage resource management (SRM), provisioning, and application management. Users can visualize, monitor, report on, charge back on, and provision heterogeneous storage environments from a single, Web-based platform. The software is built on the Common Information Model (CIM) and Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) standards. Application support includes Oracle, Sybase, Microsoft Exchange, and Veritas NetBackup.

Other features include the following:

  • Native SMI-S support;
  • Knowledge of key business applications for root cause analysis of SAN-related performance problems;
  • Automators and Advisors accelerate tasks such as identifying switch and HBA firmware, upgrading firmware, and replacing HBAs;
  • Rules-based provisioning minimizes errors and speeds creation and mapping of volumes, LUNs, and zones to allocate capacity; and
  • Topology visualization and navigation.

Computer Associates: BrightStor SRM

Product description: BrightStor SRM is storage resource management software for all storage configurations, including DAS, NAS, and SAN in either open systems or mainframe environments. The software centrally monitors, analyzes, reports, trends, forecasts, schedules, and automates networked storage resources for storage capacity planning and management of storage capacity and performance events. Other features include automatic discovery and registration, global management, performance event management and scheduling, policy-based remediation of problems, storage chargeback, and automatic storage allocation. BrightStor SRM can be used with CA's full BrightStor line of products, including ARCserve data availability products, as well as CA's eTrust and Unicenter products.

CreekPath: Storage Operations Management Suite

Product description: CreekPath's Storage Operations Management suite

  • Enables IT organizations to facilitate the integration of personnel, application-level processes, and key technologies;
  • Aggregates the functions of IT storage operations into a single automated management solution based on policy, workflow, and automation; and
  • Automates management of the entire storage environment and provides customizable, standardized process automation, via the workflow, to reduce management costs.

Management features in CreekPath's software suite cover SANs, resources, performance, storage services, data/storage security, backup, and database operations management. The software is based on process automation modules, scenario automation modules, and business application modules.

IBM: TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller

Product description:.The IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) combines servers with clustered software in an integrated storage virtualization solution. The SVC combines the storage capacity from multiple disk subsystems into a single reservoir of storage that can be managed from a central point. The SVC enables users to change their physical disk infrastructure without impacting host applications and increase capacity utilization.

The SVC also enables users to implement a tiered storage environment that can consist of disk subsystems from IBM, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, and Hitachi Data Systems in a single reservoir. Administrators can assign mission-critical data to high-performance high-availability arrays, less-critical data to midrange arrays, and non-critical data to low-cost storage devices, such as Serial ATA arrays, enabling users to match the cost of storage to the value of the data. (For more information, see "IBM takes 'virtual' steps with SFS," p. 1.)

Compliance and Retention


EMC: Centera

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Product description: EMC's Centera is a content-addressed storage (CAS) solution specifically designed to meet the unique requirements of "fixed content"—unchanging digital assets retained for active reference and long-term value. Centera provides online access with assured content authenticity and petabyte-level scalability for a wide range of fixed content, including X-rays, electronic documents, e-mail archives, check images, and CAD/ CAM designs. A disk-based write-once, read-many (WORM) device, Centera facilitates compliance with regulatory requirements. It is an alternative to tape, optical, or traditional disk solutions. Centera works over an IP network and in conjunction with partner software applications to store, manage, and retrieve content. Centera has been designed to manage 300TB of content per full-time employee.

Last month, EMC added new compliance functionality to the Centera system as well as Version 2.3 of its CentraStar operating software. Other new features include Retention Classes (for simplified content management), Audited Delete (for privacy regulations), and Configurable Default Retention Period (which allows administrators to specify default retention periods).


LXI: OffStor Consolidated Vaulting Appliance

Product description: The OffStor Vaulting Appliance is a "plug-and-go" server, preloaded with LXI's Tape Tracker media management software, that consolidates backup vendors' databases into a single consolidated view of the enterprise, enabling the development of centralized off-site policy administration of backup and record retention media.

The OffStor appliance provides off-site media management for corporations to implement policies, procedures, and controls while consolidating backup platforms. Users can establish fully compliant media movement schedules tracked by container or slot. Users with multiple backup products can consolidate backup information into a single database, which allows implementation of standardized policies and simplifies administration, ensuring a compliant off-site program.

Network Appliance: SnapLock software

Product description: SnapLock provides online data archival and long-term protection capabilities through WORM functionality that ensures important data and business records exist unaltered and accessible online for long periods of time (e.g., e-mail, transaction records, medical images, digital assets, and mechanical or electrical engineering design). The data is non-erasable and non-rewritable. SnapLock is designed to overcome current archival media limitations such as slow search-and-retrieval performance and reliability issues. SnapLock enables organizations to satisfy records-retention regulations such as SEC Rule 17a-4, HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, 21CFR Part 11, and DOD 5015.2. Only physically removing disks from a NetApp system can result in record deletion or alteration prior to the specified retention date. The SnapLock on NetApp NearStore or NetApp "unified storage" systems are faster and easier to manage than traditional WORM technologies. SnapLock allows WORM data to be replicated securely and automatically between multiple NetApp NearStore and FAS systems using SnapMirror software.

Rainfinity: RainStorage with GridSwitch

Product description: RainStorage with GridSwitch acts as a layer-2 switch with file-system intelligence to perform transparent data movement, increasing the value of storage resource management (SRM) solutions. GridSwitch plugs into existing SRM consoles to expand monitoring and reporting functions for data movement. The solution supports IP-based storage networks, including NAS, Windows, and Unix file servers. RainStorage with GridSwitch includes the following command and control capabilities: Manage: GridSwitch enables third-party management tools to control RainStorage functions, automate data movement transactions, and integrate actions into management consoles to simplify data migration, consolidation, and real-time capacity management. Move: GridSwitch provides external control over granular data movement at the volume, directory, and subdirectory level. Network: GridSwitch allows third-party tools to move RainStorage in and out-of-band in response to business events and IT triggers. Monitor: RainStorage supplies status on the state of move transactions, data location, and visibility into the number, identity, and access path of users.

StorageTek: VolSafe

Product description: StorageTek's VolSafe technology is a WORM tape-based solution meeting regulatory compliance requirements, including those of the SEC. It is implemented in non-erasable, non-rewritable format. Via ASM, users can automatically migrate to VolSafe media from current tape or optical platforms. VolSafe offers scalability from 3.2TB to 28.8 petabytes. VolSafe simplifies data management, taking advantage of existing tape automation. It can be used with both standard and VolSafe tape technology. Its WORM feature allows data to be appended to a tape cartridge but does not allow data to be overwritten. With a dedicated controller for each drive, VolSafe offers 30MBps native throughput and random access in about one minute.

It works in open systems and mainframe environments and provides integration with all major backup and HSM applications.

This article was originally published on July 01, 2004