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Adaptec puts ZMCP on RAID controllers

In an effort to decrease the hassles, and environmental issues, associated with traditional RAID controllers while improving data protection, Adaptec has introduced a technology that eliminates the lithium ion battery modules found on most PCI-based RAID controllers.

Called Zero-Maintenance Cache Protection (ZMCP, pronounced "zemcap"), the technology is implemented on a Zero-Maintenance Module (ZMM) that comes attached to Adaptec's Series 5 RAID controllers, now dubbed the Series 5Z.

The Series 5Z is based on the existing Series 5 Unified Serial (SAS and SATA) RAID controllers, and essentially has the same "speeds and feeds," but the ZMCP module replaces the lithium ion battery traditionally used to protect DRAM cache memory.

"We're taking the headaches, monitoring, management and disposal issues associated with lithium ion batteries out of the equation," says Scott Cleland, Adaptec's director of marketing. He notes that lithium ion batteries typically have only a one-year warranty and need replacing every year or two, and they require an inventory of replacement stock. In addition, the batteries' charge capacity and performance degrade over time.

In contrast, according to Cleland, the 4GB NAND flash-based ZMCP (powered by super capacitors) can protect data stored in the controller cache for up to 10 years, and it eliminates the installation, monitoring, maintenance, disposal and replacement costs associated with "non-green" battery-based units. In addition, ZMCP protects cached data in about one minute by transferring data from DRAM to flash memory.

The Series 5Z RAID controllers are available in three models:

—5405Z (four internal ports, $785)
—5805Z (eight internal ports, $965)
—5445Z (four internal and four external ports, $1,045)

All of the controllers come with Adaptec Storage Manager (ASM) software and Intelligent Power Management (IPM) technology.

Seagate ships new 3.5-inch drives

Seagate has released its highest-performing 3.5-inch hard disk drive (HDD) to the channel and expects demand to be high as enterprise customers try to breath new life into legacy storage systems.

With the Cheetah 15K.7 enterprise-class drives, Seagate has raised the maximum capacity to 600GB and added 6Gbps SAS or 4Gbps Fibre Channel interfaces.

The 15K.7 also features Seagate's PowerTrim technology, which reduces power consumption, and optional Self-Encrypting drive technology for security.

The inevitable shift to small form factor (SFF) 2.5-inch hard drives has slowed as tight budgets force enterprises to extend the life of existing storage gear.

"The enterprise market will go to 2.5-inch drives for a lot of reasons. Some are running out of power, others are running out of space," says Seagate product marketing manager Teresa Worth. "But, at the same time a lot of people have 3.5-inch infrastructures and higher capacity drives allow them to leverage those investments for a longer period of time."

Netgear ships 24TB NAS system

Netgear's ReadyNAS 3200 is the company's highest-capacity NAS/unified storage system, with a maximum capacity of 24TB for about $10,000.

The 2U 12-bay platform has redundant power supplies, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a maximum capacity of 24TB with 2GB SATA drives.

Estimated pricing for a base configuration of the 3200 starts at $4,999, and the 24TB model will cost about $10,000.

The 3200 can function as a NAS or iSCSI SAN system, and runs the Linux-based ReadyNAS RAIDiator operating system, which supports the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) as well as Time Machine in Mac OS X Leopard. It also offers support for file services (NAS) and application services (iSCSI) for Windows, UNIX, Linux and Mac systems.

The 3200 includes continuous data protection (CDP) software and the ReadyNAS Remote remote file sharing utility for remote site data management. An optional ReadyNAS Vault online backup service is also available for cloud-based, offsite backup for about $.25 per GB per month.

Overland branches into BC

Overland Storage is going beyond its roots in disk/tape-based backup/recovery/archival into protecting servers, operating systems and applications with the REO Business Continuity Appliance (BCA).

The REO BCA is based on Overland's REO VTL, and is designed for both continuous local backup as well as remote disaster recovery. Key additions to the core NEO appliance include capacity-optimized replication, application-aware failback functionality (via an optional failback REO BCA), and the ability to achieve "near zero" (seconds or minutes) recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO) via continuous data protection (CDP) and real-time replication.

The REO BCA supports physical and virtual servers, including VMware, Hyper-V and XenServer, and can be used in any physical and virtual server combinations (e.g., P2P, P2V, V2P and V2V data migration). Applications supported include Windows and Linux file services, and Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server.

Overland also added an application called Environmental Profiler, a reporting tool that identifies performance issues such as bottlenecks, and produces statistics on network (LAN or WAN) utilization, I/O throughput, network bandwidth, RPO actualization, compression ratios, and data, network and storage resource utilization.

The REO BCA 100 is a 1U appliance that supports up to five application servers, and the REO BCA 200 is a 2U appliance that supports up to 10 application servers. Pricing starts at approximately $24,000.

ProStor enhances RHDD systems

ProStor Systems has added a number of features to its InfiniVault archiving platforms, which are based on RDX removable hard disk drives (RHDDs).

A remote replication feature allows users to send copies of data to remote InfiniVault systems for disaster recovery purposes. Remote replication is in addition to the ability to make up to four copies of data and transport RDX disk cartridges to an offsite location.

ProStor also added a feature that gives users the ability to create read/write vaults to allow third-party applications and administrators to control retention policies.

A capacity reclamation feature allows write once, read many (WORM) vaults to be removed from the file area and RDX cartridge capacity to be reused after data reaches its retention limit.

The company also added a second Gigabit Ethernet port. The two ports can be configured in "teaming mode" for fault tolerance, or in "specialized ports mode" to segregate data from management traffic.

InfiniVault systems can currently be configured with 500GB removable SATA drives; 640GB drives will be available in the next quarter. System functionality includes indexing, data deduplication, compression, encryption and compliance.

Startup offers recovery services

Simply Continuous has unveiled data and application recovery services for mid-market customers.

The new services include Data Recovery Vault (for data) and AppAlive (for applications), both of which integrate into existing backup infrastructures and allow companies to peer into their data through a Web portal that allows users to monitor, browse or restore files.

The recovery architecture combines a variety of technologies, including data compression, deduplication, network acceleration, encryption, and off-site monitoring. The services automatically and continuously replicate data and virtualized application images.

Data Recovery Vault employs more than 1,300 sensors to actively monitor the service infrastructure so data sets are ready to be recovered when and if needed.

AppAlive captures current images of applications, stores them and provides customers with a hosted recovery environment for virtualized applications.

Caringo launches free cloud app

Caringo is offering a free application for Microsoft Windows that creates a desktop folder and, in conjunction with the company's CAStor storage cluster, creates a private cloud for file storage and archiving.

Dubbed the CloudFolder, the free download sets up automatic access to a CAStor cluster as a private cloud or a shared cloud provided by a managed services providers (MSPs). Caringo is positioning CloudFolder as a simple way for IT departments to provide mobile and remote users with remote file storage and archiving.

Users can drag and drop individual files or whole directories to CloudFolder for remote storage and can make it a shared folder. Users can retrieve files as they would any other file on their desktop.

Caringo's CAStor 3.0 software allows users to build a storage cluster from as small as 1TB or as large as multiple petabytes using commodity x86 servers. The system uses standard HTTP as well as CIFS for file access. The CloudFolder is simply a new access mechanism for CAStor.

A 4TB license for CAStor 3.0 and the CloudFolder application are available as free downloads from Caringo's website.

Pivot3 upgrades "serverless computing"

Pivot3 introduced the second generation of its Serverless Computing Array, with enhancements in RAID functionality, capacity, performance and support for NAS.

Clarification: Pivot3's "serverless" computing platform does not eliminate servers; rather, it hosts both server and storage applications on shared x86-based hardware appliances, dubbed Cloudbanks, that eliminate the need for users to buy external servers.

The company refers to the iSCSI-based SAN architecture as "storage-centric computing," and originally focused on the video surveillance market. But with the enhancements to the second generation platform, Pivot3 hopes to break into new markets, including streaming applications for backup and archiving, outbound video streaming, medical imaging, and hosted environments.

One new feature is RAID 6e (enhanced), which protects against the simultaneous failure of three disk drives, or one Cloudbank appliance failure and one drive failure.

Pivot3's RAID implementation, dubbed RAIGE (RAID Across Gigabit Ethernet), distributes data and parity across Cloudbank appliances so that they appear as one iSCSI target.

In addition, the company claims a 50% performance improvement in the second generation platform. Each Serverless Computing Array now scales to 48 server cores, 24Gbps of iSCSI bandwidth, and 12 RAID controllers. The RAIGE software balances the workload across the array architecture. With 1TB SATA drives, each Cloudbank appliance stores up to 9.9TB.

Pivot3 also added support for NAS (CIFS and NFS) via Microsoft Windows Storage Server.

A 42U Serverless Computing Array rack with 20 servers and 250TB of capacity is priced at just under $300,000.

Concentric offers cloud backup

Web hosting and IT services provider Concentric is now offering a hosted backup service using i365's EVault cloud-based backup and recovery technology.

The Concentric Managed Backup service is an online, disk-to-disk backup service that automatically sends data into the "cloud."

The service backs up new and changed data at the block level, compresses and encrypts the data and automatically transmits it to one of Concentric's data centers where it is deduplicated and stored. Users can then access, manage and restore data over the Web.

The company prices its service based on the amount of compressed, deduplicated data being protected in Concentric's online vault. Pricing starts at t $115 per month.

SSD product update

A number of vendors made announcements related to solid-state disk (SSD) drives recently, including Compellent and STEC, Fusion-io, WhipTail Technologies, Texas Memory Systems, and LSI.

STEC added to the roster of OEMs for its ZeusIOPS SSDs with the announcement that Compellent is offering the drives in its SAN arrays. Other STEC SSD OEMs include EMC, Fujitsu, HP, HDS, IBM and Sun. The ZeusIOPS SSDs are available in capacities ranging from 73GB to 1TB, with Fibre Channel, SAS or SATA interfaces.

Compellent touts the combination of SSD drives and its Data Progression software, which automatically moves inactive data to/from SSDs and tiers of less expensive, high-capacity drives such as Fibre Channel or SATA. Data Progression can be used in conjunction with Compellent's Dynamic Block Architecture, which tracks the characteristics and usage of every data block in the SAN arrays.

Compellent officials claim that the starting configuration of two 146GB ZeusIOPS SSDs can deliver 30,000 to 50,000 I/Os per second (IOPS) while reducing latency to 20 to 120 microseconds. Customers can add the SSDs to existing Compellent arrays for $16,999 per drive. (A third SSD is required as a global hot spare.)

A Compellent SAN with automated tiered storage and SSDs starts at $84,785, including three 146GB SSDs, 4.5TB of Fibre Channel drive capacity, and Data Progression, Dynamic Capacity, Data Instant Replay and Enterprise Manager applications.

Fusion-io recently announced a new technique for managing multi-level cell (MLC) flash technology that the company claims combines the high reliability of single-level cell (SLC) technology with economical MLC flash technology.

Fusion-io calls the technology single mode level cell (SMLC), and will integrate it into its ioDrive (160GB) and ioDrive Duo (320GB) product lines within the next month.

Company officials claim that SMLC has bandwidth similar to SLC, with comparable endurance and write performance levels, at a cost that is substantially lower than traditional SLC solutions. The company has not released specific pricing yet.

WhipTail Technologies introduced a 6TB tier-0 SSD appliance in a 2U form factor. The device is also available in 1.5TB and 3TB capacities. The SSD is based on MLC flash technology, but the company claims that with its software the appliance manages the write cycle to ensure that the MLC disks last a minimum of seven years under typical loads.

WhipTail claims performance of 100,000 IOPS, 1.7GBps of bandwidth, and more than 750MBps of random throughput. Latency is spec'd at 0.1ms. Pricing starts at $46,000 for a 1.5TB version.

Texas Memory Systems announced that its RamSan-500 flash-based SSD system has been certified as interoperable with Microsoft's Windows Server 2008. Texas Memory claims that the RamSan-500 can deliver 100,000 IOPS of sustained random reads, 25,000 IOPS of sustained random writes, and 2GBps of sustained random read/write bandwidth. The device consumes 250 watts of power, and can be configured with up to eight 4Gbps Fibre Channel ports.

LSI this week released new controller firmware for its 3ware 9650SE SATA RAID controller cards that supports Intel's SATA-based X25-E Extreme SSDs. The X25E is based on SLC NAND technology with ten parallel NAND flash channels. The drives are available in 32GB or 64GB capacities.

Intel claims sustained sequential read performance of up to 250MBps, and write performance of up to 170MBps, with a read latency of 75 microseconds. With 4KB blocks, the company specifies random read throughput of more than 35,000 IOPS and random write throughput of more than 3,300 IOPS.

Bocada upgrades backup reporting

Bocada is shipping a new version of its backup monitoring and reporting software and shifting its focus toward Data Protection Service Management (DPSM), a new strategy for helping customers deliver data protection services.

Bocada Enterprise 5.4 includes policy reporting for multiple backup applications, a feature that eliminates the process of manually gathering policy information for compliance purposes. With Enterprise 5.4, users can now view the various policies that have been created on all of their servers and review client policy configurations.

At its core, the DPSM model is a methodology for delivering data protection services to make sure the backup infrastructure is up to snuff.

Bocada Enterprise 5.4 supports policy and configuration monitoring and management for some of the more popular backup packages, including IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) 6.1, Symantec NetBackup, HP Data Protector 6.1, and CA ARCserve 12.5.

Enterprise 5.4 also supports Syncsort's data management software and a general application plug-in (GAP), which enables reporting on any data protection application.

Thales strengthens security appliances

Thales has introduced a new line of hardware security modules (HSMs) under the nShield Connect 6000 moniker. The devices succeed the company's netHSM line of appliances, which are still available.

"An HSM is a system for protecting encryption keys, managing the keys, and performing encryption and digital signatures," explains Kevin Bocek, Thales' director of product marketing.

Key enhancements in the nShield Connect 6000 appliance (vs. Thales' existing HSM appliances) include:

  • Performance enhancements. The company claims that the appliance can process up to 6,000 signing transactions per second (TPS) with RSA 1,024-bit keys, or 3,000 TPS with the more secure 2,048-bit keys.
  • Support for up to 100 client applications (physical servers, virtual machines or other application instances)s.
  • Dual power supplies, enabling onsite servicing.

The network-attached nShield Connect 6000, which is part of Thales' nCipher product line, supports shared security infrastructure applications such as Microsoft Certificate Services, Entrust Authority Security Manager, RSA Certificate Manager, Oracle 11G, and Microsoft SQL Server. The appliance is validated to FIPS 140-2 level 3 and Common Criteria EAL 4+.

Pricing for the nShield Connect 6000 starts at $39,000.

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This article was originally published on August 01, 2009