Windows IT Pro Storage UPDATE--SMB-Friendly Shared Storage--May 23, 2005

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Optimizing Exchange: Strategies for Managing the Lifecycle of E-mail Data

A New Dimension in IT Infrastructure Management: Integrated KVM and Serial Console Control Systems


1. Commentary
- An SMB-Friendly Shared Storage Solution

2. From the Community
- Put Windows 2003 Cluster Disks on the Same SAN Fabric

3. New and Improved
- 3PAR Enables On-Demand Storage-Service-Level Optimization
- Nimbus Releases Replicator Software for Its IP SAN Products
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

4. Windows IT Pro Resources

==== Sponsor: Optimizing Exchange: Strategies for Managing the Lifecycle of E-mail Data ====

With the major increase in the volume of e-mail traffic and the size of attachments--along with a parallel increase in storage and management issues, there is a strong need for more stringent (and centralized) management, audit, and control procedures for e-mail. In this free white paper, explore new methods mid-size organizations are using to manage mission-critical e-mail data. You'll learn the current needs of the marketplace, as well as the solutions that meet these needs. Download this free white paper today!


==== 1. Commentary: An SMB-Friendly Shared Storage Solution ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

I get a fair amount of email from small business owners looking to expand their storage options. Most of the messages have a common theme: The business has fewer than 12 users and no IT support except for external consultants, and the owner is looking for plug-and-play solutions that he or she can set up and make available to users without having to train them. And, of course, they want these solutions to be as inexpensive as possible.

More and more commonly, these readers are looking simply to add storage to their networks. Their problem is that they don't run any sort of local file server. They use their ISP for email services and simply store their normal business documents (spreadsheets, Microsoft Word documents, invoices) on the local computer of the user who creates the document. They also use file sharing to make various directories on these computers available to all the users on the network. The readers have reached their limits of usability with this storage technique and are asking me for a quick-to-implement, reliable solution that they can spend little money on.

In a burst of karmic intervention, in the same timeframe I was receiving these email messages from readers, a vendor sent me a product that directly addresses this very problem--the Maxtor Shared Storage Drive--which, according to the product information on the Maxtor Web site, "lets users easily centralize, organize, and share family photos, music, and data on a home or small office network." (For more information about the product, go to .)

Using the drive couldn't have been much simpler: I took it out of its packaging, plugged it into power and the network hub (10/100 Ethernet), then loaded the Quick Start software from a Windows client. The software configures the drive for use and creates user accounts for the drive. You manage the drive via a Web-browser interface, and you can assign different levels of access to any drive user. No real technical skills are required to get this device up and running; anyone with a basic familiarity with Windows will be comfortable doing so.

The Shared Storage Drive is available in 200GB and 300GB capacities. I did a quick Web search and found prices for the product starting under $300, making it a very inexpensive way to add NAS storage to a network. Interestingly, the device supports more than just storage devices, thanks to a pair of USB 2.0 ports. Although you can use the ports to attach additional drives--allowing a user to add significant storage capacity, albeit all on a single 100Mbps network connection--the device is also designed to support USB-attached printers. This let you add shared printers to the network without attaching them directly to a user's computer or buying more expensive printers that support direct network connections.

The only downside I found--and it's a minor one--is that the Shared Storage Drive recognizes additional drives on the USB link only if they're FAT32 formatted. This constraint imposes a 4GB limit on file sizes (especially relevant for users who edit and store video). However, moving 4GB files over a 100Mbps link is a time-consuming process, so users affected by this limitation might be far and few between.

But for users looking for a quick and easy way to add NAS to their networks, the Maxtor Shared Storage Drive solution is one worth considering, and at a price point that's easily palatable to most small businesses.

Get "The Straight Story on Virtual Server"

Chat with Mike Otey about Microsoft Virtual Server 2005. Mike has written extensively about virtualization technology in Windows IT Pro. Here's your chance to ask him questions about Virtual Server 2005 and get "from the trenches" details on how it works and what problems it can and cannot solve. To join the chat--on May 25, 2005, 9:00 a.m. Pacific time--go to .

==== Sponsor: A New Dimension in IT Infrastructure Management: Integrated KVM and Serial Console Control Systems ====

In this free white paper, learn how today's KVM and serial console control tools have evolved to meet the challenge of large, multiplatform, heterogeneous infrastructures data centers becoming ever more complex. Plus - discover the many benefits of integrated KVM and serial solutions, which include reduced downtime, mean-time-to-repair, lower costs, and improved ROI. Download your copy now!

==== 2. From the Community ====

Put Windows 2003 Cluster Disks on the Same SAN Fabric

When you start a Windows Server 2003-based computer from a SAN, the startup disk, pagefile disks, and cluster disks can be on the same SAN fabric. For this to occur, you must add a registry DWORD value to the ClusSvc registry subkey. You can find instructions for adding this registry value at

==== 3. New and Improved ====
by Anne Grubb, [email protected]

3PAR Enables On-Demand Storage-Service-Level Optimization

3PAR, a provider of utility storage solutions, announced the availability of 3PAR Dynamic Optimization, software that lets customers cost-effectively optimize service levels across all stages of the disk-based data lifecycle. An administrator can convert a data volume from one service level to another in seconds, online and nondisruptively, within a 3PAR InServ Storage Server tiered-storage array. By using one command, an administrator can change service-level parameters such as RAID type, degree of resource utilization, where data is placed on disk platters (radial placement), and drive type (Fibre Channel or ATA-class drives). For more information about 3PAR Dynamic Optimization, contact 3PAR on the Web:

Nimbus Releases Replicator Software for Its IP SAN Products

Nimbus Data Systems has released Offsite Replicator, an optional software feature for Nimbus's IP SAN storage systems. Offsite Replicator runs on the Nimbus iSCSI storage array transparent to applications and uses asynchronous replication to continually copy data to a secondary system over a WAN connection. Customers can add Offsite Replicator to their Nimbus IP SAN by upgrading their license key for $2500 per system. For more information about Offsite Replicator and Nimbus's IP SAN products, contact the vendor on the Web.

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

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows IT Pro What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]


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==== 4. Windows IT Pro Resources ====

Check out these links to a wealth of Windows IT Pro resources: white papers, eBooks, Web seminars, conferences, and other events.

==== Resources and Events ====
(brought to you by Windows IT Pro)

Safeguard Your Exchange Servers--Plus Receive a Free eBook

Managing storage growth, providing application resiliency, and handling small errors and problems before they grow are all important aspects of boosting your Exchange Server uptime. In this free Web seminar, discover how storage and application management techniques for Exchange can be used to improve the resiliency and performance of your Exchange infrastructure. Register now and get a free eBook!

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Storage World Conference, June 7-9, 2005, Long Beach

Register now for Storage World Conference (SWC) 2005 on June 7- 9, 2005, at the Long Beach Convention Center. SWC is the most comprehensive educational program in the industry. Keynotes from: AOL, Chevron/Texaco, EMC, StorageTek, and over 50 top exhibitors. All end-users can attend at no cost. To receive 10% off, use priority code swc10. Register online at

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