Storage UPDATE, April 21, 2003

Storage UPDATE, April 21, 2003


Storage UPDATE--brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network



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April 21, 2003--In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY - Theory and Practice in Storage Networking

2. NEWS AND VIEWS - Microsoft Partners with Storage Industry for Enhanced Storage Security - EMC Acquires Astrum Software

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Get the eBook That Will Help You Get Certified! - Sample Our Security Administrator Newsletter!

4. RESOURCES - Backup Error

5. NEW AND IMPROVED - Deploy as Much as 1TB of Solid State Storage - Quickly Recover Data - Submit Top Product Ideas

6. CONTACT US - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.




(contributed by Elliot King, [email protected])

* THEORY AND PRACTICE IN STORAGE NETWORKING The theory and value proposition behind storage networking and Storage Resource Management (SRM) technology is well known. By putting storage on a network, you can more efficiently manage your storage resources rather than haphazardly add more capacity every time an application generates an excessive amount of data. So, when disk-space utilization rates climb, rather than add more capacity when rates reach 30 to 40 percent, if you manage resources, disk space utilization could reach perhaps the 60 to 80 percent mark or higher before you need to add new hardware.

On a well-managed storage network, administrators can more effectively control challenging storage-related tasks, including backing up, restoring files, and controlling the entire data life cycle. Administrators can store valuable, time-sensitive, and frequently accessed data on more robust storage devices and migrate lower-value and rarely accessed data to more cost-effective devices. According to the storage-management theory, a company's storage could conceptually appear to administrators as one big pool that becomes filled through the application of effective, automated policies and efficient provisioning.

But theory and practice can look very different. Panelists discussing storage at the FOSE 2003 government technology conference in Washington, D.C., 2 weeks ago discussed at least five cultural or technical barriers that have deterred enterprises from integrating their storage resources into one all-encompassing storage network. The biggest barrier is fear of making mistakes. Storage administrators worry that if they misconfigure a device, they'll lose crucial data. Storage administrators also worry that they might establish a new storage management zone and the entire Storage Area Network (SAN) will stop working as a result. Keeping UNIX resources on one storage network and Windows resources on a separate network is a risk-management strategy that reduces the chances that a major mistake or malfunction will occur.

Another technical barrier deterring enterprises from consolidating resources is that different kinds of applications often run on different platforms. For example, mission-critical applications commonly run in UNIX or mainframe environments, whereas a broad range of other applications run on Windows. Given the different needs and challenges these applications present, administrators are hesitant to commingle the storage resources for applications of differing value. Indeed, administrators want to segregate, not integrate, the infrastructure for such applications.

A third constraint is security. To put sensitive data on a network leaves the data more vulnerable. Problems surrounding storage security still exist. Many common aspects of network security, such as role-based access, authorization, authentication, and auditing and tracking, need to be reworked for appropriate application to storage networking. Further, security processes often work against a key feature of storage networking--ease of use.

The security problem becomes more complex: Not only does a storage network open points of vulnerability but storage security is only one aspect of an overall security infrastructure. The storage security layer has to be integrated with the network and application layers, which is tricky business.

The fourth barrier to the emergence of enterprisewide, comprehensive storage is storage administrators of large data centers' desire to lock down and secure their data. These administrators aren't accustomed to or comfortable with providing access to their companies' most valuable information assets. They're also uncomfortable with storing crucial data on the edge of the network, so achieving the right balance between access and control can be difficult.

The last constraint preventing storage administrators from moving toward wider SANs is the emergence of new technology. Rather than automating processes already in place, administrators need to rethink their objectives to take into account the new technologies at their disposal.

Barriers don't mean that the theory of storage networks and storage resource management is wrong. Barriers simply symbolize that resolving the difference between the promise of the possible and the reality of the practical takes time and perseverance.

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(contributed by Keith Furman, [email protected])

* MICROSOFT PARTNERS WITH STORAGE INDUSTRY FOR ENHANCED STORAGE SECURITY Microsoft has announced plans to help enhance Storage Area Network (SAN) security. The company is working with the storage industry to promote the adoption of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) protocol, which is part of its Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 OS platform and integrates with Active Directory (AD). Microsoft's industry partners for RADIUS include SAN fabric vendors such as Brocade Communications Systems, McDATA, and QLogic.

Many different networking environments use RADIUS for authorizing and auditing users and devices. The IETF has acknowledged the need for a mandatory protocol for switch security and recommends using RADIUS for this purpose. Microsoft hopes that many companies will adopt RADIUS in Windows Server for SAN security because of RADIUS's easy integration with pre-existing Windows networks. Microsoft will work with its partners to promote best practices for stronger security implementation and management of SANs. Working with Microsoft, Brocade expects to incorporate RADIUS for Windows-based SANs by the end of the year. McDATA and QLogic haven't yet provided implementation dates.

* EMC ACQUIRES ASTRUM SOFTWARE Regarding its ninth software acquisition since the beginning of 2000, EMC has announced it will acquire Astrum Software, a privately held supplier of Storage Resource Management (SRM) software for storage environments. The acquisition includes 30 employees and the company's storage management software. Astrum Software's products are optimized for automated file management, file-level reporting, and capacity utilization in small and midsized networked storage environments. EMC will use Astrum Software's products and technology to help expand its line of storage management software.

Erez Ofer, EMC's executive vice president of open software operations, said, "Astrum Software will help us provide our mid-tier customers with a more comprehensive view of their storage resources and further simplify the implementation and management of networked storage." The acquisition won't affect Astrum Software's existing OEM relationship with Overland Storage, which supports EMC's acquisition of Astrum Software. Financial terms of the acquisition weren't released.



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* BACKUP ERROR Forum member Mohammad_Kadri has a Hewlett-Packard (HP) NetServer LC 2000 server running Windows 2000 with Service Pack 3 (SP3), a 40GB HP DDS4 tape backup device connected to the built-in SCSI controller, and hot-swap disks on the NetRAID 2M. He uses VERITAS Software's Backup Exec for backup, which generates an error when he attempts to back up from 17GB to 30GB of data. Mohammad has performed various diagnostic tasks but continues to receive the error. To lend a helping hand, join the discussion at the following URL:



(contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])

* DEPLOY AS MUCH AS 1TB OF SOLID STATE STORAGE Imperial Technology announced MegaRam-10000, a solid-state Storage Area Network (SAN) accelerator that features as much as 1TB of zero latency solid-state storage capacity. The MegaRam-10000's scalable architecture is targeted to grid computing, life science and biomedical research, large-scale engineering, and time-sensitive geophysical applications. The MegaRam-10000 starts at $350,000. Contact Imperial Technology at 310-536-0018 or 800-451-0666.

* QUICKLY RECOVER DATA CMS Peripherals released ABSplus 5.0, a hardware and software solution that lets users back up, restore, and recover data. ABSplus 5.0 incorporates the One Button Restore module to let users quickly recover data after a hard disk failure or accidental deletion. The Redirect Restore function provides flexibility to users who prefer to store data to other locations, such as a shared resource on the network. ABSplus costs $299. Contact CMS Peripherals at 714-424-5520.

* SUBMIT TOP PRODUCT IDEAS Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]



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