Storage UPDATE--Storage Replication--March 22, 2004
==== This Issue Sponsored By ====
SANmelody(tm) Disk Server Software by DataCore
- Storage Replication for Windows: Still Waiting for the Mainstream
News and Views
- Storage Software Market Posts Double-Digit Growth
- McDATA and HP Extend Alliance
New and Improved
- Appliance Combines High Storage Capacity and Fast Access to Optical-Media Data
- Manufacturer Ships LTO 2 Media
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
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==== Commentary ====
by Jerry Cochran, [email protected]
Storage Replication for Windows: Still Waiting for the Mainstream
For many years, the enterprise has been able to replicate storage volumes through the storage infrastructure, either locally or remotely, as a means of disaster recovery and business continuance or for other purposes, such as data mining and application testing. Hardware vendors such as EMC (Symmetrix Remote Data Facility--SRDF) and HP (Data Replication Manager--DRM) have provided this capability, but it has lacked solid support in Windows and key applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SQL Server. With the release of Windows Server 2003 a year ago, I thought data replication would become a more mainstream technology in Windows data centers. That hasn't happened yet, however.
There are probably several reasons why storage replication hasn't made it to the mainstream in the Windows world. The first reason is one of basic need. Many Windows services and the data entrusted to them just don't create a business requirement that justifies the investment in technologies such as storage replication. After all, storage replication isn't cheap, requiring extra infrastructure and disks. In addition, most hardware vendors charge a premium for this added functionality, and that premium might result in a negative Return on Investment (ROI) after business needs are weighed.
Another reasonable explanation for the lack of adoption of storage replication solutions in the Windows space is OS and application support. Although Microsoft provides Windows Hardware Qualification Labs (WHQL) certification for hardware that provides data replication, from a core OS perspective, Windows offers no real support for data replication technologies. To provide such support, Microsoft would need to invest heavily in specific I/O primitives that would understand replication. In addition, if Microsoft chose to support storage replication natively in the OS, the additional testing that would be required would further extend already long ship cycles. And all that is just for the OS. When you consider the applications that run on top of Windows, such as Exchange Server and SQL Server, the story becomes even more complex.
Microsoft is making headway in this area and has done a significant amount of work in Windows 2003 to support geoclustering solutions (clusters that are geographically dispersed and combined with storage replication technology) that include features such as majority node set clustering, which is part of Microsoft Cluster Server. The applications have a lot of work to do, however. Only SQL Server has made strides in this area. Microsoft's other flagship .NET Enterprise Server product--Exchange Server--has no comprehension of a replicated storage environment. On the bright side, I think Microsoft is hearing customers' requirements and will invest more in this area in the future. Until that happens, you're at the mercy of storage solution vendors to help you make storage replication work.
A final reason for the slow adoption of storage replication technology might be the manageability and complexity issues of storage replication solutions. After you start down the path to storage replication, you depart from traditional storage management as you know it. You'll be dealing with proprietary technologies that let a storage volume be replicated from one storage enclosure to another. Replication might be local or remote and subject to transport-media latencies that you don't experience with traditional storage infrastructures. All this makes storage replication technology very complex and more difficult to manage--not to mention more expensive.
In the end, it will be customer demand that solves all these problems. As mission-critical enterprise data drives requirements for better business continuance technologies, storage vendors will respond and the competition will drive storage replication toward commoditization and the mainstream. Then, OSs and application vendors such as Microsoft will invest more in supporting storage replication out of the box.
A final note: If you haven't visited our Events Central Web site recently, check it out. You'll find various seminar offerings, including some storage-related topics. Events Central provides a comprehensive listing of trade shows, conferences, and Web seminars targeted to the IT user.
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==== Editor's Note ====
Last week's Storage UPDATE commentary, "Super-Tape-Drive Market Remains Dynamic" ( http://www.winnetmag.com/windows/article/articleid/42042/42042.html ), mentioned that IBM dominated the mainframe tape drive category. In fact, StorageTek is the market leader in that category.
==== News and Views ====
by Keith Furman, [email protected]
Storage Software Market Posts Double-Digit Growth
Research firm IDC has released its quarterly worldwide storage-software market statistics, which show that the storage market grew 17.7 percent in fourth quarter 2003 compared to the same period in 2002. The growth, which brought the market to a total revenue of $1.78 billion, was the second consecutive quarter of positive growth and continues a trend of growth in the industry. According to the report, revenue grew 8 percent in 2003, which translates to an almost $500 million increase in revenue. "As we begin to move away from the most recent downturn, the storage software market is enjoying the positive effects of data centers, which are investing heavily to secure, manage, and protect their digital assets," said John McArthur, group vice president of storage research at IDC.
All the major storage software market segments saw double-digit revenue growth in fourth quarter 2003. The backup and archive segment benefited the most, posting growth of 17.6 percent, followed by the Storage Resource Management (SRM) segment with 16.2 percent and the storage replication segment with 14.7 percent. For 2003 overall, the SRM segment posted the strongest revenue growth, with 11.3 percent.
EMC, which benefited from the acquisition of storage software developer LEGATO Software (formerly Legato Systems), led the overall market with a 31.7 percent revenue share. EMC was followed by VERITAS Software, with a 21.9 percent share; Computer Associates (CA), with a 9.8 percent share; IBM, with an 8.3 percent share; and HP, with a 7.3 percent revenue share. HP saw the largest growth over the same period in 2002, increasing revenues by 28 percent.
McDATA and HP Extend Alliance
McDATA has announced an expansion of its alliance with HP to include support of multivendor storage fabric interoperability and an independent services contract between the two companies. The expansion will let HP consumers easily deploy McDATA directors as part of a multivendor core for existing fabrics. The independent services contract will let HP provide services and support for McDATA products. "Through this advanced partnership, HP customers have greater flexibility, availability and scalability options for their storage networks, and McDATA customers have access to HP's services group, which has the breadth of experience and geographical footprint to provide outstanding service levels across the enterprise," said Doug Chandler, director of IDC's Infrastructure Management Services program.
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==== Resource ====
Windows 2000 Assigns Duplicate Drive Letters to a Single USB Floppy Drive
Because of a synchronization problem between the Windows 2000 kernel and Windows' MountMgr.sys driver, a Win2K-based computer might erroneously assign duplicate drive letters to one USB floppy drive when you attach the USB drive to the computer and restart. For an explanation of why the problem occurs and information about a hotfix to correct it, go to the URL below.
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==== New and Improved ====
by Renee Munshi, [email protected]
Appliance Combines High Storage Capacity and Fast Access to Optical-Media Data
Procom Technology has added an enterprise-class model to its DataFORCE line of CD-ROM and DVD-ROM appliances. The new model combines high-capacity storage and accelerated performance to store, organize, protect, and speed access to data based on optical media. The new DataFORCE 800R provides up to 2TB of RAID-5 protected storage and data access 220 times as fast as optical media. DataFORCE 800R supports Windows, Linux, Macintosh, UNIX, and Novell NetWare and integrates into Ethernet networks. Pricing starts at $12,995.
Manufacturer Ships LTO 2 Media
Sony is now manufacturing and shipping LTO Ultrium 2 data storage cartridges throughout the United States. Sony LTO Ultrium 2 media was officially qualified by the LTO Program, which comprises Certance, HP, and IBM. Sony LTO Ultrium 2 media cartridges feature a 200GB native storage capacity (400GB compressed) and sustained transfer rates among the industry's highest at up to 40MBps native (80MBps compressed).
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