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Vendor Briefings - 29 Mar 2005

Insights from the industry

Network Appliance Acknowledges iSCSI Trends
Rod Mathews, senior director of marketing for the Windows Storage team at Network Appliance (NetApp—, recently chatted with us about the trends his company is seeing in the storage arena. Primary among them is the adoption of Internet SCSI (iSCSI) or IP-SAN solutions in Windows environments, particularly small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) that can take advantage of their existing Ethernet networks. According to Rod, Microsoft is working hard to support the standards to further enable Ethernet-based storage.

Turning to his company's product matrix, Rod discussed two compelling NetApp offerings: FlexVol and FlexClone. FlexVol lets you create and resize multiple volumes striped across disks without changing the underlying disk architecture, a great way to utilize today's enormous sub-$400 500GB disk drives. FlexClone provides instant replication of data volumes and data sets without requiring additional storage space at the time of creation—perfect for software testing and upgrade checks. According to Rod, a big driver for NetApp customers is the company's focus on and support of heterogeneous environments.

EqualLogic Backs Up On-Demand Computing
Depending on which trade publication you read, utility, or on-demand, computing is either a work-in-progress, an amorphous concept, or the next best hope in data center efficiency. For EqualLogic (, the utility computing model dovetails nicely with the vendor's PS Series—a modular, highly scalable line of Internet SCSI (iSCSI) intelligent storage area network (SAN)–based arrays. EqualLogic customer InteleNet, a provider of offsite hosting services, is making on-demand computing available now, enabling its customers—who are mostly small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs)—to provision storage as their needs change. "We deliver on the utility computing model," said John Joseph, EqualLogic's vice president of marketing. "The fact that you can grow storage independently from the rest of your enterprise, on the fly, is exciting. The same computing resource can be used for multiple tasks," he said.

An IT Solution That Facilitates Teamwork
Performance Solutions Technology's (PST's— MProWeb enables workforce collaboration by helping a manager and his or her team coordinate tasks, view progress toward goals, and measure results. Rodney Brim, PST CEO, recently briefed our editors about how customers use MProWeb, which synchronizes with Microsoft Outlook and provides a structured view of tasks. Because users can access the system from a Web browser, MProWeb is an ideal solution for managing consultants or a remote workforce. Rodney reported that the product requires only 2 to 3 hours of training and that a successful deployment depends more on a compelling need for a collaboration solution than it does on overcoming the learning curve. Collaboration products aren't yet as common or prolific as email, but as companies look to IT to help foster teamwork, they may find a compelling need for products such as MProWeb.

Does Your Backup Software Do Disaster Recovery?
I recently talked to Morgan Edwards, president and CEO of UltraBac Software (, about his company's UltraBac Disaster Recovery (UBDR) product line, which performs disaster recovery in addition to backup. UBDR enables disk-image-based backups of a live OS partition to a variety of local and remote media, including FTP servers. To restore a failed machine, you boot the system with a universal CD-ROM that contains Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) and UBDR. The software does the rest. The combination of a complete disk image and a quick and simple bare-metal restore process makes UBDR a viable disaster-recovery solution.

UltraBac's sweet spot is companies with many geographically distributed servers that need remote IT staff to walk local non-IT personnel through a recovery. The recently released UltraBac 8.0 is also targeted toward larger enterprises.

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