Storage UPDATE--Storage for Small Business--July 19, 2004

Storage UPDATE--Storage for Small Business--July 19, 2004

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1. Commentary

- Sophisticated Storage Solutions for Small Businesses

2. News and Views

- Adaptec Snaps Up Storage Appliance Company

- SNIA Launches ILM Conference

3. Resource

- How to Turn On Logging for the VDS in Windows Server 2003

4. New and Improved

- Inexpensive Software Converts PCs into Disk Servers

- Proactive Storage Management

- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary ====

by Elliot King, [email protected]

Sophisticated Storage Solutions for Small Businesses

The accelerating growth of data has been a major factor in determining storage needs in every business segment from the smallest mom-and-pop enterprise to the Global 100. But in many ways, data growth puts more stress on small businesses than on their larger counterparts. Like other companies, small businesses have much more data around which they have to wrap their arms. But unlike their larger counterparts, small businesses often don't have access to affordable tools to help them with this task. As Ellen Rome, vice president of sales and marketing at STORServer, a vendor of backup appliances, puts it, "You can't use the same gardening tools you used to take care of \[a\] little vegetable patch to plow an acre of land. And, in reality, that is what is happening."

Indeed, if you ask many small-business operators whether they're confident that they could recover from a disaster, they hem, haw, and hang their heads sheepishly. Many aren't sure whether their backups work. Most don't have a well-thought-out recovery plan that they can quickly activate in the event of a disaster.

Part of the problem is that the technology typically at small businesses' disposal isn't sufficient to do an adequate job. Very small businesses might adopt the same approach that many home computer users use to back up their data: making duplicate files by dragging and dropping them onto removable media. Although this approach can work, it's risky for businesses because it relies on individuals to proactively back up their work. And because files are constantly being overwritten, this approach offers only a single point of recovery.

A more common and responsible method is for a small business to use a tape drive to do incremental backups of its servers every day and full backups weekly and monthly. But this approach, although straightforward, can be labor intensive and has pitfalls. Restoring data from incremental backups is complicated, and errors frequently result. And while full backups provide an exact copy of every file and folder selected, performing them can take a significant amount of time and require a lot of tapes.

That isn't the end of the difficulties that small businesses face. Even if they have a process in place to back up all their important data, they must balance the need to be able to restore individual files with the need for disaster recovery. Businesses that keep tapes on site so they're available should a specific file need to be restored are at risk should a true disaster occur, but moving the tapes offsite means that users who need to restore a single corrupted file have to wait for a specific tape to be retrieved from a remote location.

Finally, in large organizations, the thinking about backups has shifted. In the corporate world, backups are typically implemented according to policies established for individual users and servers--a method that provides much more control over storage. But small-business owners need to spend their time thinking about their business, not their storage policies.

Help for small businesses that face these challenges is on the way. With the emergence of low-cost ATA and Serial ATA (SATA) hard disk technology and Windows Storage Server 2003, companies are introducing backup appliances that provide disk-to-disk backup at a price point that small businesses with as few as 10 employees and as little as 300GB of data can afford. By using these backup appliances in conjunction with a tape drive or perhaps a DVD drive, very small businesses can build a more supple storage infrastructure for backup and disaster recovery.

Earlier this month, Unitrends Software introduced a new line of what it calls Data Protection Units (DPUs) that are reasonably priced for small businesses. And at Storage World Conference 2004 in June, STORServer introduced its STORServer D1 backup appliance, a turnkey, Plug and Play (PnP) product for small businesses. "They can plug it into the wall and into the network and within 15 minutes they are in production," Rome said.

The emergence of backup appliances for small businesses mirrors the response that large-scale enterprises have had to the data explosion: The storage infrastructure must be layered, but those layers must work together and be easy to manage to solve the problems they're meant to address.

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==== 2. News and Views ====

by Keith Furman, [email protected]

Adaptec Snaps Up Storage Appliance Company

Adaptec has continued its buying spree with an acquisition of Network Attached Storage (NAS) vendor Snap Appliance. Adaptec will pay $91 million in cash and $9 million in assumed stock options for Snap Appliance, which was spun off of Quantum almost 2 years ago. The acquisition helps fill a void in Adaptec's storage portfolio, which includes direct-attached, Fibre Channel, and Internet SCSI (iSCSI) solutions. The company currently offers a NAS device, but the acquisition will greatly increase its offerings. "Together, Adaptec and Snap Appliance have strong synergies that we plan to capitalize on to create a unique leader in the storage industry--one that can deliver solutions for businesses of almost any size and requirements, almost any existing infrastructure, anywhere in the network, all managed by a common software management platform and enhanced by value-added software applications for a variety of key business needs," said Robert N. Stephens, president and CEO of Adaptec.

Snap Appliance has focused on low-cost, high-volume NAS devices and is the volume leader in the NAS market, according to Gartner. Unlike most of its competitors, the company has in the past decided against targeting the high-end market and instead focuses on the low-price market for small businesses, departments, and workgroups. The company has shipped more than 150,000 Snap Servers worldwide. Snap Servers are powered by the proprietary GuardianOS software platform.

The companies expect to complete the transaction by the end of the month.

SNIA Launches ILM Conference

Looking to shine a spotlight on the the increasingly important Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) market, the Storage Networking Industry Associations (SNIA) has announced plans to host what the group calls the world's first ILM conference. The ILM Solutions 2004 conference and expo will be held in Long Beach, California, on October 3-5. The conference will focus on increasing the compliance, safety, and effectiveness of enterprise data, according to the group. "The practice of information lifecycle management is undergoing significant, rapid changes. These changes are being driven by a growing emphasis on disaster recovery and business continuity, the proliferation of regulatory mandates like Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA, and operational requirements to increase the effective use of information assets. This conference was developed to help information management professionals evaluate and meet all of these expectations as efficiently as possible," said Charles Curtis, senior storage engineer for HP and chairman of the SNIA Data Management Forum.

The conference will feature demonstrations and presentations on industry solutions, and the expo will give attendees an opportunity to meet with more than 170 vendors. The conference and expo will be held in conjunction with the Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA International) 49th Annual Conference and Expo. ARMA International is an association for information management professionals.

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==== 3. Resource ====

How to Turn On Logging for the VDS in Windows Server 2003

The Microsoft Virtual Disk Service (VDS) in Windows Server 2003 is a set of APIs that let you manage disks from one interface. Activating VDS logging can help you troubleshoot any problems you have with VDS. To learn how to activate logging for VDS, click the URL below.

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==== 4. New and Improved ====

by Renee Munshi, [email protected]

Inexpensive Software Converts PCs into Disk Servers

DataCore Software, known for its enterprise-class, open storage networking software, introduced SANmelody software to cost-effectively address the disk capacity expansion needs of small organizations. A SANmelody-equipped PC provides disk capacity over a LAN that any number of application processors can share. You can download the SANmelody software at no charge for a 21-day evaluation period; purchase prices start at $1200.

Proactive Storage Management

Northern Parklife announced the release of Northern Storage Assistant, the newest module in the Northern Storage Suite storage management package. Northern Storage Assistant monitors an organization's storage infrastructure 24x7. You can configure it so that a specified time, calendar, file, Internet, or system event triggers the software to take an action such as deleting, moving, copying, uploading, or downloading files; replicating directories; executing programs; or sending notifications.

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