Industry News and Analysis

Adaptec ships file array, acquires Symbios
Adaptec this month will begin shipping the first product in its "file array" approach to RAID controllers, which was broadly outlined at last Fall`s Comdex. The Windows NT-compatible AFA-333 FileArray Accelerator card is a 32-bit PCI-to-SCSI bus master DMA adapter with a synchronous SCSI data rate of 80MBps.
Rancho intros Ultra2 SCSI Expander
Rancho Technology last month shipped the RTLVD-SE Ultra2 SCSI Expander, an 80MBps controller that can convert from low-voltage differential (LVD) to single-ended SCSI. The expander also includes a multimode feature that enables it to operate in either LVD or 40MBps single-ended mode. The 2.9x3.2-inch card supports 16-bit arbitration, disconnect/reconnect, and multi-threaded SCSI. In OEM quantities of 1,000 units, the RTLVD-SE is priced at $189.
NT Storage Requirements: Market Analysis
As we approach the release date of NT 5.0, debate over NT`s storage capabilities is heating up. From a storage perspective, NT 4.0 lacks the capabilities to support the enterprise. Drawbacks include:
Optical Options Expand
A quick review of optical disc technologies and market forces, including emerging formats such as the controversial DVD.
OSTA enhances UDF
The Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) has strengthened the Universal Disk Format (UDF), a file-system specification for writable optical-disc devices and media, with Release 2.0. The new spec defines support for Windows NT, enhances data security for NT and Unix, adds more support for Compact Disc-Recordable (CD-R), and defines backward read capabilities for discs created with UDF 2.0 and earlier versions of the spec. UDF is designed to facilitate backup, archiving, and distribution
Planning for Business Continuity
Providing continuous data access goes beyond disaster recovery and requires a solid business continuity plan.
PTI unveils testing/diagnostic tool
Peripheral Test Instruments (PTI) recently released SCSI/Fibre Channel testing software, called SCSI toolbox for Windows NT, which they claim is the first tool to directly utilize the Windows NT port driver as opposed to ASPI. PTI officials claim any host bus adapter can be used, regardless of ASPI compliance.
Quantum, Atto partner on Ultra2 SCSI
To ensure compatibility between their drives and adapters, Quantum and Atto Technology have entered into a strategic partnership. The first product from the teaming is "The Ultra2 Solution," which combines Quantum`s Atlas III and Viking II 18.2/9.1GB hard drives with Atto`s 32-bit ExpressPCI Ultra2/Wide SCSI host adapter. The combo supports the 80MBps Low Voltage Differential (LVD) SCSI interface spec, which allows cable lengths of up to 12 meters.
Raidtec adds thin server
Raidtec recently introduced the RAIDserver "thin server" as an alternative to traditional host-attached storage servers. A RAIDserver can be integrated at any point on a LAN without interference to existing storage equipment, according to company officials. Upgrades can also be installed without taking down the system.
Requirements for Enterprise Storage Management
Developing an enterprise storage management strategy entails more than cobbling a collection of "point products."
New clustering solution from Vinca
Last month, Vinca Corp. announced shipments of its Co-StandbyServer for Windows NT. Coupled with Vinca`s mirroring engine, the clustering product is designed to improve the ease of administering a server farm. Clustered servers can be set in an active-active or active-passive failover configuration. Remote server pairs can be managed from any workstation or server on a network by using the management console feature of Co-StandbyServer.
Seagate short on OAW specs
When Seagate purchased Quinta Corp. last year, it provided few details about its new optically assisted Winchester (OAW) drive technology. During a recent press conference at Quinta`s San Jose headquarters, company officials unveiled key elements of the new drive technology; however, they remained tightlipped about performance stats and a product delivery date. Seagate chairman Al Shugart and Quinta president and CEO Steve Kitrosser would only say there might be a detailed announcement by year`s
Simple Technology adds ATA flash memory cards
Last month, Simple Technology introduced ATA Flash memory cards available in 48, 64, 80, 128, and 160MB capacities. The company claims the memory cards offer write-to-flash speeds of 6.5MBps and read-from-flash speeds of 3.5MBps.
Storage Dimensions ships AIT tape array
Joining the small band of vendors shipping libraries based on Sony`s AIT helical-scan tape technology, Storage Dimensions recently released the SuperFlex AIT TapeArray. The seven-drive, 350GB (compressed) array combines AIT drives with the company`s SuperFlex TapeArray enclosure. Storage Dimensions` compressed capacity figures assume a 2.6:1 compression ratio based on the Adaptive Lossless Data Compression (ALDC) algo-rithm. The system is compatible with Windows NT, NetWare, Solaris, HP-UX, and
Tandberg intros MLR3 tape libraries
Tandberg Data last month introduced three libraries in its Multi-channel Linear Recording (MLR) line, which is compatible with quarter-inch tape (QIC) cartridges. The TDS 1201, 1420-1 and 1440-1 range in price from $11,638 to $29,107. Separately, Tandberg signed OEM agreements with Fujitsu and Siemens Nixdorf for Tandberg`s 4/8GB SLR5 (Single-channel Linear Recording) tape drives. Compaq and Sun already OEM SLR5 devices.
Users Embrace NAS Benefits
Network-attached storage (NAS) promises a number of benefits, including faster file services, increased reliability, and lower costs, but it`s been a long time coming.
Virtual Tape: Intelligent Storage Management
Faster data access rates, dramatic cost savings, fewer tape cartridges and libraries, and more available floor space are just a few of the potential benefits of implementing virtual tape systems in large data centers. (For an introduction to this emerging technology, see "The Virtues of Virtual Tape," InfoStor, December 1997, p. 38.)
Whats hot in storage software?
Although hardware often gets the headlines, there are a number of important software trends to watch for over the coming year--some of which began last year. According to Michael Peterson, president of the Strategic Research consulting firm, in Santa Barbara, CA, the two hottest storage management software products/categories last year were 1) EMC`s Timefinder and 2) desktop and mobile backup solutions.
NT Clusters: New Demands on Storage
Long talked about under the code name Wolfpack, Microsoft`s Windows NT clustering is finally here and it promises to propel NT into the enterprise arena. Clustering will enable organizations that deploy NT for critical production systems to get closer to the level of reliability and availability offered by other enterprise operating systems, such as Unix, OpenVMS, and OS/390. In the process, however, system administrators will have to rethink their approach to storage.
NAS Definitions and Product Classes
Network-attached storage (NAS) connects directly to the network and is optimized for better overall data accessibility. The system has a processor and its own operating system to allow network connectivity. The ability of NAS servers to connect anywhere on a LAN allows network performance to be balanced by placing storage close to the users who need to have data readily accessible.
AMI supports Ultra2, I2O
Available this month to OEMs, and slated for general availability next month, American Megatrends Inc.`s (AMI) MegaRAID LVDS 438 is an Ultra2 SCSI PCI RAID controller. Available with 1 to 3 drive channels, at 80MBps per channel, the controller incorporates AMI`s FlexRAID technology, which allows on-line capacity expansion and RAID-level migration without rebooting.
Fibre Channel Networks: Hubs and Switches
Recently, there`s been a flurry of information in trade publications about Fibre Channel, storage-area networks (SANs), and the need for gigabit storage/ networking technology. So much so, that it appears it`s time to sift through all the media and vendor hype and look at the variety of network solutions being offered by Fibre Channel hub and switch vendors. A word of advice: Remain flexible. Begin with simple Fibre Channel systems that will expand as your business grows.
CA, Amdahl release replication software
In step with the trend toward high availability, continuous data access, and data protection, Computer Associates and Amdahl recently shipped real-time replication software for open systems environments. Replication software allows users to selectively choose which files, folders, or volumes to copy to secondary storage devices. Benefit: continuous data access in the event of a server failure.
CommVault addresses NT storage market
CommVault Systems has entered the market for Windows NT storage management software with a backup and recovery package for Microsoft Exchange. The software backs up and restores a user`s mailbox, or folders within a mailbox, for all versions of Exchange. To ensure message and folder integrity, restored data is appended to the user`s mailbox, as opposed to overwriting the data. Mailbox filters allow Exchange administrators to choose the level of protection for each user`s account to reduce the ne
DPT unveils SCSI extender
Distributed Processing Technology (DPT) recently announced its Ultra Wide SCSI-3 RAIDstation3 storage cabinet with SCSI extender technology. Up to three cabinets can be daisy-chained to triple storage capacity.
Drive vendors poised to back Ultra ATA/66
With the promise of the 1394 desktop interface just around the millenium, Intel recently announced its support for Ultra ATA/66, an interim protocol developed by Quantum. Backers believe the new interface is an important stepping stone in providing higher I/O speeds without significant cost increases. Intel will support Ultra ATA/66 technology in upcoming chipsets.
Emass ships high-end AIT library
With a native capacity of 5.9TB, or 29.5TB in a multi-module configuration, Emass` latest addition to its AML/S line of libraries is based on Sony`s Advanced Intelligent Tape (AIT) technology. AIT is expected to provide strong competition for Exabyte`s standard 8mm and Mammoth technologies, as well as DLT libraries. In addition to Emass, AIT library vendors include ADIC, Breece Hill, Spectra Logic, and Qualstar.
Exabyte, ADIC, Imation expand DLT libraries
As evidence of fast growth in the market for tape libraries based on Quantum`s DLT technology, a trio of vendors over the last month introduced a spate of products that should heighten competition in this crowded market.
FCA elects board of directors
The Fibre Channel Association, which comprises more than 60 member companies, recently elected its board of directors for this calendar year. Brocade Communications` Brenda Christensen stays on as chairperson, and Jaycor Networks` Charles Bazaar remains secretary/treasurer. Other re-elected directors and officers include Michael Fitzpatrick, Fujitsu Computer Products of America; Marty Francis, Symbios; and Michael Hoard, Boeing Defense and Space.
HP enhances OmniBack
Hewlett-Packard has announced an upgrade, due in June, to its OpenView OmniBack II enterprise backup and restore software. From a single point of control, OmniBack II 3.0 is designed to help IT administrators manage backup-and-restore operations in a mixed Unix and Windows NT environment.
NAS Advantages: A VARs View
Potential benefits of network-attached storage (NAS) include faster data access, easier administration, and no-brainer configuration.
Inside Fibre Channel Switching
Fibre Channel switches form the backbone for storage-area networks, but how does Fibre Channel compare to ATM and Gigabit Ethernet?
Intelliguard combines Java, SIDF, NDMP
At last month`s InfoStor Conference, Intelliguard Software demonstrated a data protection solution that uses a Java application downloaded over a network, running on a Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) Server. The server was managed by Intelliguard`s BudTool backup and retrieval software, using the System Independent Data Format (SIDF) tape format.
KOM expands NT optical software
KOM has announced the release of OptiStorm 3.0, optical jukebox management software for Windows NT 3.51 and 4.0 environments. With the new release, KOM has added RAID, IDE, and SCSI partition caching and enhanced GUI functionality.
Legato extends storage management software
Legato Systems last month extended its Enterprise Storage Management Architecture (ESMA) with a number of new functions, including snapshot copy, block-level backup, and high-availability failover. The extensions will be added to Legato`s NetWorker and the Java-based Global Enterprise Management of Storage (GEMS) software.
MDI enters RAID market
Adding to its line of CD-ROM and writable optical devices, Micro Design Inc. (MDI) has jumped into the crowded RAID market with the PolarBYTE disk array. The 16TB arrays use thermal-management technology from Land-5 (San Diego), as well as standard RAID features such as hot-swap drives, dual power supplies, and remote monitoring. The UltraSCSI-based PolarBYTE series can support multiple RAID levels, including RAID-0, 0+1, 1, 3, and 5. Prices range from $25,499 to $33,999 for capacities from 27G
MTI challenges EMC with mirroring software
MTI Technology recently began shipping its Business Critical Remote Mirroring (BCRM) software, aiming to loosen EMC`s grip on the enterprise remote-mirroring software market. MTI officials tout the software`s more "open" architecture and significantly lower price tag, compared to EMC`s Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF).
MTI embraces Fibre Channel
Late last month, MTI Technology began shipping its Gladiator ESS storage arrays with Fibre Channel capabilities. Users can choose any combination of host connections, including network, UltraSCSI, Fibre Channel, or remote attachment.
Mylex announces i960-based RAID controller
Mylex recently added a midrange RAID controller, the DACPGM, to its product line. Designed for PC servers, the controller is powered by an Intel i960 RISC processor. Mylex claims increased performance is due to the dedicated RISC processor offloading RAID functions from the host CPU.
Winchester boosts I/O rates
Winchester Systems` FlashDisk RAID arrays now sport improved I/O speeds. The departmental and enterprise versions deliver up to 9,779 operations/second on a sustained basis. The workgroup version provides 7,700 I/Os per second. These speeds represent a 27% increase over the company`s previous RAID arrays.