Storage UPDATE--Storage Technology's Shifting Role--January 26, 2004
Microsoft(r) and Quest Software(r)
New Web Seminar: Email Is a Service--Manage It Like One
- Storage Company Makeovers
2. News and Views
- Recent Tests Reveal iSCSI Maturity
- Storage User Association Reaches Early Milestone
- Download a Free eBook--"A Guide to Group Policy"
- Announcing a New eBook: "Content Security in the Enterprise--Spam and Beyond"
- Adding Support for More Than Eight LUNs in Windows Server
- New--Microsoft Security Strategies Roadshow!
6. New and Improved
- New Technology for Personal Data Backup
- New Interface for Portable Hard Drives
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
7. Contact Us
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
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==== 1. Commentary ====
by Elliot King, [email protected]
Storage Company Makeovers
When EMC purchased Legato Systems and Documentum last year, the conventional wisdom was that the company was moving from its traditional position as a hardware vendor into the software business. The thinking was that, like computer platforms, storage hardware would rapidly become a commodity and prices would plunge. Vendors that wanted to survive would have to add value through their software offerings. EMC was seen as snapping up a couple of companies with good technology at good prices just as the recession in technology spending was coming to an end.
But EMC's acquisition of VMware last month clearly indicates that the storage leader has more in mind than diversifying its software offering. In fact, EMC could be undergoing a complete makeover, repositioning itself as a supplier of the virtualization layer in the enterprise. Although it's been a front-burner issue for some time, storage virtualization is still more often talked about than effectively implemented, according to many reports. But putting a management layer on top of hundreds or thousands of small servers is as difficult as adding a management layer to a collection of heterogeneous storage devices. The whole notion of grid computing is based on the ability to effectively manage thousands of small computers as if they were a single entity.
In many ways, server virtualization is the yin to consolidation's yang. As the implementation cycle swings from consolidation of many small servers, which has been the mantra for the past 3 years, toward fewer larger ones, virtualization at many levels of the enterprise and in the IT stack will become increasingly important.
But EMC isn't the only storage stalwart that seems to be reshaping itself to meet the new challenges it will face over the next several years. Last summer, VERITAS Software completed its acquisition of Precise Software and Jareva Technologies, vendors of application management software. And late last year, VERITAS purchased Ejasent, whose primary products offer usage-based metering of IT assets and real-time migration of applications across servers with no disruption in service. No longer just a storage management company, VERITAS is aggressively stepping up its activities in application management.
In an example of how the repositioning of these two storage players is working itself out, in December VERITAS announced the availability of Storage Extension, an application performance management package for use with major relational databases. Storage Extension lets IT managers optimize EMC storage arrays and customize and tune applications and databases for optimal performance in an EMC environment. Although VERITAS has similar offerings that work with the technology of other major enterprise storage vendors, previously only EMC had offered that functionality for its own hardware. Now, VERITAS also will provide the functionality, giving administrators visibility from the application through the OS and the database to the storage array.
The moves by VERITAS and EMC raise two interesting questions. First, can these companies successfully pull off their makeovers? The answer to that question is that success is possible but not inevitable. IBM is the highest-profile example of a company that has completely remade itself on the fly, moving away from its legacy as a hardware vendor and re-emerging as a hybrid company selling computer services in addition to hardware and software. Although successful, the change wasn't easy and required IBM to jettison both its storage manufacturing division and its PC lines.
The second question is what do these moves mean for the storage industry? At first glance, it might seem that the acquisitions signal that neither EMC nor VERITAS felt that it could flourish as a storage specialist and that both were striving to enter more rapidly growing sectors. But that analysis would be wrong. These acquisitions can be better understood as a recognition that the role of storage technology is shifting within most enterprises. Even as Storage Area Networks (SANs) emerge as the dominant approach to storage, storage is becoming increasingly integrated with the rest of the IT infrastructure. Storage can't be managed independently; it must be managed in conjunction with the applications, servers, and networks throughout the enterprise.
EMC officials have long preached that storage administrators have to work more closely with database and network administrators. With these acquisitions, both EMC and VERITAS are putting their money where their mouths are.
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==== 2. News and Views ====
by Keith Furman, [email protected]
Recent Tests Reveal iSCSI Maturity
The University of New Hampshire Research Computing Center InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) completed interoperability tests of Internet SCSI (iSCSI) this month and reports that the results show that the technology has reached its maturity. UNH-IOL's tests involved testing iSCSI devices to see whether they conform to the iSCSI standard, which the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) finalized and approved last year. "The interoperability and conformance tests we ran turned in high success rates," said Stephen Schaeffer, UNH-IOL iSCSI Consortium manager. "To me, that says that whatever the market is or isn't buying this month, iSCSI is not only ready for prime time, but poised for eventual widespread adoption." Industry experts expect companies to adopt iSCSI much more widely within the next year or so, but the technology faces intense competition in the enterprise from the more established Fibre Channel standard.
For the past 3 years, the nonprofit UNH-IOL has been involved in iSCSI standard development and has hosted a series of industrywide test events. In the most recent of those events, only a handful of vendors participated: ATTO Technology, Crossroads Systems, EMC, Empirix, Finisar, I-TECH, Intransa, iVivity, Microsoft, Network Appliance (NetApp), Silverback Systems, and Xiran. UNH-IOL plans to continue to hold testing events and hopes for more industry involvement in the future.
Storage User Association Reaches Early Milestone
The recently formed Association of Storage Networking Professionals (ASNP) reached an important milestone in its early existence, exceeding its 3-month goal of 1000 members by recruiting more than 1100 participants. The group plans to start member meetings and activities in the United States and Canada. "We look forward to providing leadership to represent end users worldwide. This year, we will provide top-notch member benefits, including chapter meetings, an annual member summit, online educational content, and best practices for our members," said Daniel Delshad, chairman and founder of the ASNP.
The worldwide organization is dedicated to the needs of storage networking users. The first chapter meetings took place this month, and additional meetings are expected internationally in coming months. The group plans to hold an annual summit in conjunction with the Storage World Conference in June.
==== 3. Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)
Download a Free eBook--"A Guide to Group Policy"
Find essential information for understanding and using Group Policy in Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 networks such as rolling out network security settings, controlling client desktops, deploying software, and performing a variety of other vital administrative functions. Download this eBook today!
Announcing a New eBook: "Content Security in the Enterprise--Spam and Beyond"
This eBook explores how to reduce and eliminate the risks from Internet applications such as email, Web browsing, and Instant Messaging by limiting inappropriate use, eliminating spam, protecting corporate information assets, and ensuring that these vital resources are secure and available for authorized business purposes. Download this eBook now free!
==== 4. Resource ====
Adding Support for More Than Eight LUNs in Windows Server
Shops that need to configure a server to support the Large LUNs feature (i.e., to support more than eight LUNs per server) will find this Microsoft Knowledge Base article helpful. Microsoft introduced this support in Windows NT Server 4.0 Service Pack 4 (SP4), and it's also available in Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000.
==== 5. Event ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)
New--Microsoft Security Strategies Roadshow!
We've teamed with Microsoft, Avanade, and Network Associates to bring you a full day of training to help you get your organization secure and keep it secure. You'll learn how to implement a patch-management strategy; lock down servers, workstations, and network infrastructure; and implement security policy management. Register now for this free, 20-city tour.
==== 6. New and Improved ====
by Renee Munshi, [email protected]
New Technology for Personal Data Backup
Tenebril has released Lifeguard 1.2, a personal data backup product for Windows that uses new technology to speed backups. Lifeguard manages computer resources so that the hard drive, processor, and backup medium can work independently of one other, allowing peak performance. Lifeguard also introduces a new interface that lets customers choose the data they'd like to back up without knowing where it's stored on their computers. Lifeguard integrates with Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, and Eudora to allow direct backup of email messages and address book contacts. Lifeguard costs $49.95 and is available online at the vendor's Web site.
New Interface for Portable Hard Drives
Olixir Technologies announced the availability of a next-generation Serial ATA (SATA) interface cable for its Mobile DataVault 3DX family of rugged, high-performance, high-capacity portable hard drives. Targeted at the portable storage needs of video editing and photography applications and the backup and disaster-recovery demands of small office/home office (SOHO) users and small to midsized enterprises, the SATA interface provides burst data transfer rates of as much as 150MBps (or about 1.5Gbps) and sustained throughput of more than 40MBps. The interface is bootable, so users can quickly restore data from the external drive. For additional information, see Olixir's Web site.
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