Adaptec to acquire DPT
In a textbook move to expand its RAID controller product line, Adaptec Corp. announced plans early last month to acquire Distributed Processing Technology (DPT) for $235 million.
RAID revenues post double digit growth
Disk array shipments are continuing a decade-long trend of steady growth, fueled by the commoditization of RAID technology and a continuing thirst for storage in open-systems environments.
Overland ships AIT library
This month, Overland Data added AIT to its lineup with the introduction of the LibraryPro AIT library. LibraryPro incorporates robotics based on the company`s LibraryXpress architecture and comes with one or two AIT drives and up to 17 cartridges. The library`s SmartScale Storage architecture enables users to scale the library from one to five modules. A fully configured five-module library features 10 AIT-1.5 or AIT-2 drives for up to 4.25TB of native capacity and a 6MBps transfer rate. A singl
Panasonic ships 8x CD-R
Panasonic Industrial is shipping the CW-7503-B 8X CD-R drive, targeted at resellers and OEMs. In addition to providing a 20x CD-ROM read speeds and 175msec average seek time, the CW-7503-B drive is capable of transferring data at 1.2MBps. This performance enables the drive to create a 74-minute CD or store 650MB of data in less than 10 minutes.
PCI-based RAID controller advancements
There`s been so much press and vendor news surrounding storage area network (SAN) architectures, products, and strategies, it`s easy to lose track of host-based RAID, still the most dominant method of storage attachment. SAN technology is exciting, but the publicity has overshadowed progress in PCI-based RAID.
Peer releases intelligent backup
Peer Software recently announced availability of PSServer, software that provides file synchronization and backup for enterprise environments. PSServer automatically synchronizes file changes to monitored server folders from any location on the network. Once files are modified, connected clients are updated, enabling changes to be backed up to client PCs, ensuring users will work from the most recent versions. PSServer can work with the company`s PeerSync Pro II software to provide this capabili
Philips launches CD-RW drives
At last month`s Comdex, Philips Electronics introduced a CD-RW drive that reads CD-ROMs at 32x, writes at 8x, and rewrites at 4x speed. The PCRW804K incorporates an IDE/ATAPI interface and a 4MB buffer. The drive is bundled with Philips` Write2CD software. Speed is enhanced through a new "self-launching" feature that automatically activates the CD recording options menu and signals the computer to quickly recognize that blank media has been inserted. The PCRW804K is compatible with Windows 95/98
Plasmon ships DVD-RAM media
Plasmon IDE announced it is shipping pre-formatted "certified" DVD-RAM media to its DVD-RAM library customers and other DVD-RAM media users. By formatting the media ahead of time, Plasmon officials say the process ensures data saved to DVD-RAM drives will be retrieved reliably. To prevent damage caused by mishandling, the media can be shipped loaded in 10-slot magazines for an additional $40 per magazine. List pricing is $449 for 10 formatted DVD-RAM discs.
Pros and cons of caching controllers in RAID arrays
Controller-based data caching can double or triple I/O performance, but "your mileage may vary" depending on the access patterns of your applications. Aside from corner-case applications like video broadcasting, caching can significantly increase I/O performance. But by how much and at what risks? This article explores the data reliability question.
Qlogic HBAs link FC and cPCI
Qlogic`s QCP2202F is a dual-channel CompactPCI-to-Fibre Channel host bus adapter that supports SCSI and IP concurrently. CompactPCI (cPCI) is an industrial bus interface based on the PCI standard that is used in industries such as telecommunications. Demonstrated at last month`s Comdex, the QCP2202F is due in the next quarter.
Qlogic intros management suite
Last month, Qlogic unveiled the Qlogic Management Suite, a package of utilities designed to reduce bottlenecks while balancing SAN traffic.
RAID controllers proliferate
Virtually all of the major RAID controller manufacturers introduced, or showed for the first time, new controllers at last month`s Comdex show. Most of the products were based on the Ultra160 SCSI, Ultra3 SCSI and Fibre Channel interfaces.
Router combines FC-AL, SCSI, ATM, GE
Scheduled for shipment next month, Storage Area Networks Ltd. (SAN Ltd) recently demonstrated its DiskLink FC SAN gateway, which combines LAN, WAN, and storage protocols, including SCSI, Fibre Channel, OC-12 ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and Gigabit Ethernet. The router provides switching between the various protocols, allowing administrators to extend SANs over WAN links. Pricing is expected to be about $15,000 per unit.
New DVD-R dupe system from Microboards
Microboards Technology is shipping a 4.7GB multi-function desktop DVD-R duplication system. The DVR-1000 functions as an external DVD-R writer, a multi-drive DVD-ROM reader, and duplicator. When coupled with a DVR-1000EX slave module, users can duplicate one to three DVD-R discs simultaneously.
SNIA focuses on IT users, elects board
While continuing to develop standards, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) recently stepped up its efforts to involve end users. "We`re forming a customer advisory council to bring the IT community into SNIA and advise us on what we should be focusing on," says Larry Kranz, newly-elected SNIA chairman. "Our focus has changed from vendor-oriented to IT-oriented."
Sony AIT-2 in volume shipments
Sony recently announced the immediate availability of its SDX-500C series of second-generation AIT products to distributors, resellers, and VARs. The series includes four models: the SDX-500C/BM, SDX-S500C/BM, SDX-500C/BB, and SDX-S500C/BB. The drives have a single-ended Ultra SCSI or LVD SCSI interface and are packaged with two 50GB cartridges; a 36GB cartridge is available for quicker access to data. Both cartridges can be read by AIT-2 drives at a 6MBps sustained transfer rate. The drives ar
Startup targets storage outsourcing
Formed about a year ago as a storage integrator, WorldStor is now beginning to enter the potentially lucrative, yet nascent, storage outsourcing market. At press time, the company was completing its first round of financing.
Storage outsourcing gains interest, but faces hurdles
The increasing complexity of storage environments, 24x7 data access demands, and the emergence of storage area networks (SANs) are among the top reasons for companies to consider storage outsourcing, according to recent reports.
Sun announces HA software
Sun Microsystems is shipping the StorEdge Instant Image software, a suite designed to help Sun server users conduct backups, instant data recovery, test and development, and data warehouse loading without impacting normal server operations. Instant Image offers point-in-time snapshots of online data. Application development and testing is optimized by using point-in-time copy as test production data without impacting production data. StorEdge Instant Image also allows data warehouses to be popul
Tandberg, Imation ship VR<SUP>2</SUP>
SLR drives, media Extending the migration path of its SLR (Scalable Linear Recording) tape drive line, Tandberg Data this month expects to begin shipping next-generation SLR100 drives. The 5.25-inch half-height drive has a 50GB native capacity and a 5MBps transfer rate. Imation, which is co-marketing the drive with Tand-berg, also announced availability this month of SLR100 media.
Tape automation to undergo a renaissance
Once thought to have fallen short in terms of capacity and performance, tape storage has come back strongly. A crop of high-capacity, high-performance drives will soon be available, offering 100GB of uncompressed capacity with data rates in excess of 10MBps. These drives are expected to catalyze the tape automation market, poising it for a renaissance next year.
The benefits of hardware versus software RAID
As servers become more powerful and memory cheaper and more plentiful, software RAID with its multiple processors and gigabytes of RAM can help cut costs, or can it? For some simple data striping or mirroring applications involving only a couple of hard drives, it may very well be the best choice. But for very large volumes of disk space and extremely rapid file transfer, intelligent RAID controllers are the best answer.
The Year in Review
A look at the technology and business trends that shaped the storage market in 1999, and what to expect in 2000.
Veritas announces Windows 2000 suites
Veritas Software recently updated its Backup Exec and Network Storage Executive (NSE) suites to operate in Windows 2000 environments. Backup Exec protects Microsoft`s Distributed File System, including the data required to restore the DFS link to the remote network volume. The updated version backs up the Windows 2000 operating system, including the system state and file-system changes such as disk quotas, encrypted files and re-parse points utilized by Volume Mount Points, Directory Junctions a
Veritas lays out "virtual" SAN initiative
Last month, Veritas Software announced and demonstrated SAN virtualization technologies at its Vericon annual user conference, setting forth its technology platform for upcoming storage area network (SAN) management products over the next year.
Vixel intros 1U FC switches
Vixel`s 8-port 7100 and 16-port 7200 Fibre Channel switches both come in a 1U (1.72-inch high) form factor. Designed for switched private loop configurations, the devices can be upgraded to full fabric support. Both switches have hot-pluggable media interface connectors, or GBICs, at each port and can be managed with Vixel`s SAN InSite management software. The 7000 is priced at $6,995; the 7200 at $11,995.
nStor releases SAN management upgrade
nStor is now shipping AdminiStor 5.0, a SAN management software package it demonstrated at Comdex last month. The suite contains a set of tools to help configure, manage, and monitor nStor arrays, as well as RAID devices acquired from its recent merger with Andataco. The 5.0 release is SNMP-compliant, enabling administrators to plug AdminiStor into Tivoli TME, CA Unicenter TNG, and HP OpenView management consoles. Its DataTap capability builds and maintains a database holding information such as
NAS market getting crowded
Scrambling to get a piece of a market that is expected to approach $2 billion next year (and almost $4 billion in 2002), a number of vendors have jumped into the network-attached storage (NAS) arena. For example, fresh off its acquisition of Creative Design Solutions (CDS), Maxtor recently began shipping its MaxAttach appliance and Reflect-It software. With capacities of 18GB, 36GB, or 72GB (ranging from $999 to $1,999), the single-drive NAS file server includes auto-sensing 10/100 Ethernet capa
EMC tackles centralized SRM
Last month, EMC launched its Control-Center framework to address storage resource management (SRM) across Symmetrix disk arrays and storage network components from a variety of vendors.
At its user conference last month, Veritas Software an-nounced the opening of its Software SAN
At its user conference last month, Veritas Software announced the opening of its Software SAN Integration Lab (iLAB). iLAB is designed to assist early adopters of SANs reduce implementation problems by pre-testing Veritas software in various configurations. Test results from the lab will be shared with channel partners. Veritas and StorageTek, for example, plan to deliver fully tested enterprise LAN-free backup for SANs, integrating Veritas` NetBackup into LANfree Backup, a feature of StorageTek
Atto launches Ultra3 SCSI HBA
Atto Technology`s ExpressPCI UL3D dual-channel host bus adapter is based on the 160MBps Ultra3 SCSI standard and includes double transition clocking, domain validation, and cyclical redundancy checking (CRC). Features include connectivity of up to 30 SCSI IDs (15 per channel), 12-meter cabling, compatibility with 32/64-bit PCI, tagged command queuing, multiple initiator support, and bus mastering.
Beware of (or ignore) commissioned tests
One of the leading Fibre Channel component vendors recently released to the press and prospective customers a comparison test, performed by an "independent" third-party test outfit, that compared its products to two of its competitors` (I won`t mention the vendor or testing outfit because I don`t want to call attention to the study, for the reasons outlined below.)
Brocade to ship low-cost switches
With prices starting at $5,775, Brocade Communication has added three eight-port Fibre Channel switches to its SilkWorm family. The company is positioning the switches as alternatives to managed hubs. Due in the next quarter, the SilkWorm 2010, 2040, and 2050 have seven fixed-media ports and one GBIC port. The 2010 is an FC-AL loop-based device that can be upgraded to full fabric support. The 2040 includes fabric software for single-switch topologies. And the 2050 provides full fabric support, w
Centralize storage arrays and management
Demands on data are increasing rapidly, in large part due to audio, graphics, Internet, and e-mail applications. Protecting these assets is critical, and ready access to data is imperative. But storage is also a performance element of information technology, not just a repository for data, images, and audio files. One approach to protecting data while maximizing performance is to centralize your storage resources.
Compaq adds snapshot to ENSA
As part of a number of SAN-related announcements, Compaq has added snapshot capabilities to its Enterprise Storage Network Architecture (ENSA) framework. The snapshot feature—called Storage-Works Enterprise Volume Manager (EVM)—provides point-in-time copies of data and parallel processing for system backups and data migration. One key benefit is the virtual elimination of backup windows by allowing non-disruptive backup/recovery operations. EVM allows administrators to mount a volume o
Emulex adapters support S-Bus
Going head-to-head with host bus adapter (HBA) vendors JNI and Prisa, Emulex has added support for Sun`s S-Bus to its LightPulse HBAs. The 64-bit LightPulse LP8000S is based on Emulex`s Dragonfly ASICs and PCI-based LP8000 HBA design. Features include full fabric support using F_Port and FL_Port connections, and support for all Fibre Channel topologies and the SCSI and IP protocols. Common software can be used to manage Emulex`s PCI and S-Bus adapters.
Midrange tape due for shake-up
Over the past several weeks, Linear Tape-Open (LTO) drive manufacturers Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Seagate have engaged in a series of cat-and-mouse maneuvers in an attempt to position themselves for a piece of the midrange tape market, currently dominated by DLT. The three vendors expect to ship LTO drives in the Ultrium format by the middle of the year, while Fujitsu—the fourth and comparatively quiet LTO drive provider—is targeting October for product delivery. Quantum, meanwhile, re
In its first step in supporting large heterogeneous SANs, Dell recently introduced new PowerVault
In its first step in supporting large heterogeneous SANs, Dell recently introduced new PowerVault SAN products and capabilities, as well as support for Compaq(r) ProLiant(r) servers within a PowerVault SAN. Now up to 10 (12 for dedicated SAN backup) Compaq ProLiant and/or Dell PowerEdge servers can be attached to as many as four Dell PowerVault 650F Fibre Channel storage systems and eight Power- Vault 130T DLTtape libraries for up to 8.4TB of Fibre Channel storage and up to 16.8TB of archived da
McData Corp., Clam Associates, and Strategic Research have teamed up to test and create a quality
McData Corp., Clam Associates, and Strategic Research have teamed up to test and create a quality of service metrics for switches operating within a SAN. The SAN Quality of Connection (QoC) principles focus on connection availability, performance degradation, and bandwidth scalability. QoC criteria is broken into classes ranging from Class 1 (failure sensitive, no service guarantees) to Class 5 (failure tolerant, very tight specification limits) to help customer determine the best architecture f
Maxell intros desktop CD dupe station
Maxell Corp. of America recently announced the Maxell CD Copy Station, a desktop CD duplication device that includes an autoloader, two recorders from Cedar Technologies, a color printer from Primera Technology, and duplication software. The CD Copy Station is designed for businesses that want to produce limited run amounts of presentations, training materials, or software copies.
Matsushita Electric Industrial (MEI) is now the primary supplier of SmartClean AME (Advanced Metal
Matsushita Electric Industrial (MEI) is now the primary supplier of SmartClean AME (Advanced Metal Evaporated) cartridges for Exabyte`s Mammoth-2 (M2) tape drive. SmartClean AME cartridges are available 60GB, 40GB, and 20GB capacities. Separately, Exabyte also introduced SupportSuite Solution Paks, featuring premium services, enhanced warranty coverage, and customer support. Also, add Compsat Technology to Exabyte`s Solutions Partner (ESP) channel program.
Intelligent Solutions offers bundled SANs
Ranging in price from $59,900 to $225,000, Intelligent Solutions is bundling pre-tested storage area network (SAN) configurations based on hardware and software from a number of vendors. The configurations include 8-port and 16-port SANbox Fibre Channel switches from Ancor Communications; Emulex`s LightPulse LP8000 host bus adapters; IBM GBICs; and Intelligent Solutions` AccuRAID-II disk arrays, which are based on Digi-Data controllers. High-end configurations include Sony`s DTF-2 Fibre Channel
In November, Legato Systems announced 20 new members to its Celestra Consortium, a group of 55 SAN
In November, Legato Systems announced 20 new members to its Celestra Consortium, a group of 55 SAN vendors dedicated to promoting an open architecture for efficient SAN data movement. New members include Crossroads Systems, Connex, Breece Hill Technologies, DataDirect Networks, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Informix, LSI Logic Storage Systems, Mercury Computer Systems, Microsoft, Network Storage Solutions, Oracle, Plasmon, Polaris Communications, Qualstar, SAN Valley, and Sun.
IDC ranks RAID vendors
Not surprisingly, EMC will top the list of external RAID vendors this year, ranked by projected revenues. In fact, EMC is expected to garner more than 26% (over $4 billion) of the total market ($15.4 billion), double the 12.9% market share for Compaq and 10.6% for IBM. According to IDC`s 1999 Worldwide Disk Systems Market Forecast and Review, here are the expected rankings and revenues (external RAID only):
IBM builds SAN testing labs
Tackling the daunting task of testing customers` storage area network (SAN) configurations, IBM is building two large labs in the U.S. and Europe. The facilities engage in performance and stress testing, as well as interoperability testing. The U.S. lab, which opened in August, is based in Gaithersburg, MD, at the company`s 80,000-square-foot National Testing Center.
HP drops 3GB DVD+RW
Last month, Hewlett-Packard discontinued production of its 3GB DVD+RW drive, culminating a year of overall stagnation in the rewritable DVD optical drive market. Citing a lack of market demand, HP will instead focus on delivering a 4.7GB model, but would not commit to a ship date. In June, HP announced plans to ship the 3GB model by the fall.
HP boosts DLT autoloader specs
HP this month began shipping the HP SureStore DLT Autoloader 818 to entry-level markets. Equipped with one DLT8000 tape drive, the eight-slot autoloader provides up to 320GB of native capacity and has a 6MBps transfer rate, representing a 14% increase in capacity and a 20% increase in performance over 718 models. The 818 comes with either an LVD or HVD SCSI interface and includes five cartridges, a cartridge magazine, cleaning tape, HP`s TapeAssure diagnostics and TapeAlert management software,
Hitachi unveils 10,000rpm drives
Hitachi America Ltd. recently began sample shipments of 10,000rpm, 3.5-inch hard disk drives. The drives come in three models: the DK31CJ-72 is a 1.6-inch-tall, 73.9GB drive, while the 1-inch DK32CJ-36 and DK32CJ-18 models hold 36.9GB and 18.4GB, respectively. The 12-platter, 23-head 73.9GB drive has an average read seek time of 5.7msec; the 36.9GB and 18.4GB models average 5.2msec. Average drive latency of the three models is 2.99msec.
Fibre Channel network components: a review
Reality check: Fibre Channel is here to stay, but it`s far from perfect. Users face a variety of choices to meet a variety of economic and technological challenges, and there`s no guarantee that two Fibre Channel products will be compatible. As a result, end users often rely on third-party integrators to evaluate, test, qualify, and integrate the components that are sold as overall solutions.
Exabyte intros Mammoth-2 library
At Comdex last month, Exabyte launched the X80 MammothTape library, targeting large application server and storage network environments. The SAN-optimized library, which began shipping last month with Mammoth-1 drives, will support Mammoth-2 next month. An 8-drive/80-slot Mammoth-1 library provides up to 1.6TB of uncompressed capacity and has a 24MBps native transfer rate. With eight Mammoth-2 drives, capacity increases to 4.8TB and transfer rate to 96MBps. The X80 also features a Java-based Web
Xyratex intros low-cost FC analyzer
With pricing starting under $25,000, Xyratex`s Investigator is a Fibre Channel protocol analyzer that includes a protocol editor (which allows users to generate unique decodes), context-sensitive decoding of response data from devices, and post-capture filtering of data. The analyzer can be operated locally or remotely through a network connection. The Investigator includes 288MB of cache with a loss-less data compression algorithm that effectively doubles cache capacity to 576MB.