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June 24, 2002—In this issue:
- Predicting the Changing Contours of Storage
2. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Exabyte Announces Second-Generation VXA Tape Drive
- Philips Demonstrates Small Form Factor Optical Storage
- SQL Server Magazine—Get Your Free Preview Issue
- July Is Hot! Our Free Webinars Are Cool!
- Tip: Offline vs. Online Backups
- Featured Thread: Disk Administrator Configuration and RAID 0 Array Reinstall
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Centrally Monitor and Report on SANs
- Store Long-Term Documents
6. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Elliot King, [email protected])
Over the past several weeks, three seemingly unrelated announcements suggest that a major shift might be underway in the storage arena. First, at its European roadshow in Milan, Italy, market-research company IDC announced that it expected the worldwide storage market to reach the $71 billion mark by 2004. IDC analysts anticipate that software will be the fastest growing segment of the market, generating around $9 billion in sales, and services will account for $24 billion in revenues. If you do the math, you find that software and services together will make up almost 46 percent of the total worldwide storage market.
Second, IBM announced a deal to combine its Hard Disk Drive (HDD) manufacturing unit with Hitachi's parallel unit in a new company. Hitachi, which will own 70 percent of the new company, paid IBM $2.05 billion for its HDD assets. The deal essentially takes IBM out of the disk drive manufacturing business.
Third, Network Appliance (NetApp) unveiled an agreement with SAS Institute to develop storage products specifically geared to business-intelligence applications. According to NetApp officials, business-intelligence applications require a storage infrastructure that integrates high-performance online storage for data that must also be readily accessible throughout the enterprise with lower-cost, near online storage for archived data that's used less frequently. Under the agreement, NetApp will supply the hardware and management software, and SAS Institute will create a processing layer. According to company officials, NetApp hopes to sign similar agreements with Hyperion and other vendors of business-intelligence software packages.
So what do these three separate announcements demonstrate? The storage market is undergoing the same kind of metamorphosis that the general computing market underwent in the late 1980s on the PC level and is undergoing now, at least potentially, on the server level. That is, distinct hardware and software markets are evolving. Before the advent of personal computing, computer hardware manufacturers also supplied the OS. Microsoft changed all that. At the server level, UNIX was supposed to be the unified, hardware independent. (Although that scenario didn't work out, Linux might still play that role.)
Although IBM is pulling out of the hard drive business, the company is very much staying in the storage arena, particularly as a software and services supplier. If as IDC's analysis indicates, storage hardware, software, and services will become distinct arenas, two quite different trends should emerge. On the one hand, the pressure for open standards will escalate. Administrators won't want hardware choices to dictate software choices and vice versa. On the other hand, the market should open up to more innovative, entrepreneurial activity as companies perceive new storage-related opportunities, and both hardware and software storage products will probably proliferate.
Where does NetApp's announcement fit into this picture? In the general computing arena, vendors and consultants commonly advised companies to base hardware selections on the applications that they wanted to run. However, that hasn't been the case with storage, which companies generally view as a piece of their overall infrastructure. But in time, applications might become the most crucial choice in the storage industry as well.
The NetApp-SAS Institute deal suggests that in the future, storage choices will be increasingly tied to applications. NetApp has already inked a series of deals with the major database manufacturers, and new storage protocols such as Direct Access File System (DAFS) could have a major impact on database performance.
The storage market will probably follow the same route as the general computer market, with consolidation among hardware vendors, an emerging common software infrastructure, and competition at the application level. Because the changing approach to storage is in its early stages, I'll get to monitor the accuracy of my prediction as the storage market evolves.
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2. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Keith Furman, [email protected])
Exabyte announced its VXA-2 tape-backup system, a second-generation VXA tape drive. The VXA-2 increases capacity and performance over the VXA-1, but it still offers full read-and-write compatibility with the previous version. Exabyte is positioning the VXA-2 as an alternative to DDS-backup technology and is targeting small businesses.
The VXA-2 can store 160GB on a single tape cartridge with an average 2:1 data-compression ratio and transfer speeds of 12Mbps. By comparison, the DDS-4 technology holds only 40GB with data compression.
The VXA-2 competes with DDS technology, as well as with DLT, Super DLTtape (SDLT), and Linear Tape-Open (LTO) backup technology. Exabyte's internal VXA-2 drive is available now in select markets for $999 with wide availability in September.
Philips, a founding member of the Blu-ray Disc specification, has demonstrated a fully functional, miniature optical disc drive capable of storing up to 1GB. The disc is 3cm in diameter and can store up to 1GB of data on a single side. Typical CD-ROMs and DVDs are 12cm in diameter. CD-ROMs hold up to 650MB in a single layer; single-sided DVDs hold up to 4.6GB. The new miniature disc is perfect for small devices, such as PDAs.
The disc drive takes advantage of blue-laser technology, which is part of the Blu-ray Disc specification. Currently, optical CD-ROM drives use red lasers. Blue lasers, which have shorter wavelengths than red lasers, produce more condensed data. Blu-ray Disc founders hope to store up to 27GB on a disk the same size as a typical CD-ROM. Blu-ray Disc founders include Hitachi, LG Electronics, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung Electronics, Sharp, Sony, and Thomson Multimedia.
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( contributed by John Savill, http://www.windows2000faq.com )
Q. What advantages do offline backups and image backups have over online backups?
A. You can use any backup program—or even the simple Copy command—to reliably back up files that aren't in use. However, backing up files that are in use, such as system files, when your OS is in an online state can be complicated. Online backup software products, such as Computer Associates' (CA's) BrightStor ARCserve Backup and VERITAS Software's VERITAS Backup Exec, make it difficult or sometimes impossible to restore an entire server or workstation to the identical state it was in when you performed the backup because some files might be open and the system might be accessing them. Add-on software agents are available to help back up these open files, but the agents aren't always reliable. Logically, offline backups provide the highest level of integrity because no files are held open and the system state is flat.
Offline backup software, sometimes called "true image" software, uses another bootable media (e.g., 3.5" disk, CD-ROM) rather than the hard disk to back up servers and workstations while their OSs are inactive. Offline backup products, such as Symantec's Ghost and PowerQuest's Drive Image, offer a simple way to back up hard disks, including virtual RAID 5 disks, for servers and workstations that use FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS. The software backs up all local hard disks and server or workstation partitions to one file (or to a series of truncated files if you're backing up files larger than 2.1GB and the file system on the disk to which you're backing up the files doesn't recognize file sizes this large). Typically, offline backup software that copies a computer hard disk to another disk, either locally or over a network, will be 5 to 10 times faster than an online backup going to the fastest tape drive. The best features of offline backups are that they let you restore a system to the exact state it was in at the moment you performed the last backup, and you can perform the restore far faster and easier than you can restore from tape.
An image backup is a replica of all the data on your hard disk, including exact file locations, rather than just copies of all your files. After you create an image backup file, you can use third-party tools, such as Drive Image, to restore any file or files from within the image backup file.
(Two messages in this thread)
Danny needs to replace the boot drive on a Windows NT 4.0 workstation that has a 70GB RAID 0 array (striped set, no FT) attached. He knows he can use the saved disk administrator configuration from the current NT 4.0 installation to recreate the stripe set under the new NT 4.0 installation. But when disk administrator backup disk recreates the stripe set, will the new NT 4.0 installation make a clean 70GB set, or will Danny be able to retrieve the data that's currently on the striped set? To read more about the problem or offer your expertise, use the following link:
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])
Tek-Tools released Storage Profiler, heterogeneous Storage Area Network (SAN) management software that lets you centrally monitor and report on SANs and the SAN network no matter what OS or backup software you have. You can use the software to discover when a host bus adapter (HBA) exists. You can also monitor and report on the port status of SAN-connected devices. Prices start at $7500 for a 10-pack license. Contact Tek-Tools at 972-980-2890.
EMC announced EMC Centera, a content addressed storage (CAS) system that stores long-lasting fixed content such as electronic documents, digital x-rays, digital MRIs, movies, email, check images, and broadcast content. EMC Centera doesn't require that you know the storage environment or physical location of objects. EMC Centera uses content-addressing technology to calculate a unique address based on the actual content of every stored object. Prices start at $101,500 for Centera hardware and $103,200 for Centera software. Contact EMC at 703-970-5818 or 866-283-8841.
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