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July 1, 2002—In this issue:
- Storage Management for High Availability
2. NEWS AND VIEWS
- Seagate Technology and Western Digital Vie for Technology Supremacy
- SGI Announces NAS Device
- Submit Top Product Ideas
- The Enterprise-Management Solutions You've Been Searching For!
- Got a Messaging Problem You Can't Seem to Fix?
4. INSTANT POLL
- Results of Previous Poll: Storage for Mobile Users
- New Instant Poll: Your Enterprise Storage Capacity
- Tip: Increasing Storage: To Snap or Not to Snap
6. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Plan For and Manage Storage
- Set Up an Entry-Level Application Accelerator
7. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Sheila Childs, [email protected])
For critical applications, high availability has become a requirement. A corporation must put significant thought, effort, and money into making sure that the applications that drive its business are available. Wherever a company can gain a competitive edge by judicious use of its data, that data must be available to its business processes, such as e-commerce, customer relationship management (CRM), and manufacturing processes. Critical applications whose data is especially time-sensitive (e.g., medical-records management) depend on high availability.
Storage management is an important component of high-availability solutions. In today's enterprise environment, companies will probably use a mix of software and hardware solutions to ensure the availability that business-critical applications need. IT uses hardware components to create redundancy, including clustered servers, mirrored disks, duplicate networking components, and multiple NICs and/or host bus adapters (HBAs). Hardware components must be redundant--if one fails, another must be available to take over.
Although redundant hardware configurations protect corporate data, software is the component that ensures highly available applications. Software functions that contribute to highly available data and applications range from basic file-system tools to complex policy-based knowledge-management systems. Practicality, cost, and willingness to accept risk determine which types of tools systems administrators deploy.
At one end of the software function range, file systems provide basic tools to sustain some degree of data and application availability. For example, file-system utilities (e.g., Chkdsk) let you scan all file metadata to look for inconsistencies in the file system and take action where necessary. Because such system utilities maintain some degree of data coherence, they comprise a form of storage management.
At the other end of the range, failover management software, or server-clustering software, monitors applications, restarts application components, and redirects I/O to appropriate alternate locations if one server fails to perform its functions. Clustering software synchronizes data and applications between clustered servers by mirroring data, metadata, and application-related registry entries. Good failover-management software should notify you when a failure occurs and should provide information about any changes in the state of the environment. These tools should be able to resume business processes without manual intervention. Tools that let you view and configure the environment, either locally or remotely, add to the ease with which you can resume processes and applications.
In addition, storage management tools such as Hierarchial Storage Management (HSM) software and data-replication software contribute to high application and data availability. HSM based on application-specific policies lets you move critical data to protected secondary storage while also ensuring transparent access to the data. Clustering HSM servers increases the speed with which users and applications can get to their data in the event of most types of server failures.
Software-based data replication technologies add a level of intelligence to basic hardware replication. You can manage copies of data independently and according to the needs of the application. Good replication technologies should not only replicate files but also directories, volumes, shares, and select registry keys, from one to many servers. Deploying replication software should ensure rapid recovery of the most critical servers.
Keeping data and applications highly available can be complex and extremely costly. When you design and build a 24 x 7 organization, you'll find that storage management is a key factor in high availability.
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2. NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Keith Furman, [email protected])
On the same day, Seagate Technology and Western Digital released news releases claiming to be the first in the industry to release drives with 60GB-per-platter 7200RPM hard disks.
Seagate's Barracuda ATA V will take advantage of 60GB platters to offer 120GB on only two disks. The Barracuda ATA V will also offer a native Serial ATA interface, which is designed to replace the Parallel ATA interface. The drive will begin shipping this month with the Ultra ATA/100 interface and 2MB of cache. A drive with Serial ATA interface and 8MB cache will be available this fall. The Barracuda ATA V will feature Seagate's SoftSonic Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) motor, which helps the drive operate quietly.
Also in July, Western Digital will offer WD Caviar 60GB-per-platter 7200RPM hard disks ranging in capacity from 120GB to 200GB. Like Seagate's drive, Western Digital's drives will offer optional FDB motors to ensure quiet operation in noise-sensitive environments.
Silicon Graphics Inc.(SGI), known for the high-end computers used in the production of many Hollywood movies, has announced a new high-performance Network Attached Storage (NAS) device. The device, SGI File Server, uses SGI's XFS file system, which can provide capacity of more than 50TB of storage. The device targets companies that manage extremely large data sets in technical and creative markets.
The SGI File Server is based on SGI's NUMAflex technology, an architecture that supports scaling upgrades by using modules. The server works with UNIX and Windows networks through NFS and Common Internet File System (CIFS). The server also offers direct-attach tape backup, Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM), high availability, and point-in-time copy options.
Two SGI File Server models are available immediately: SGI File Server 830 and SGI File Server 850. The SGI File Server 830 is an Ultra160 SCSI Just a Bunch of Disks (JBOD) with support for 8.6TB. Pricing for the model starts at $49,100 for 144GB of storage. The SGI File Server 850 is a Fibre Channel RAID array with support for up to 50TB. Prices for the model start at $67,750 for 432GB of storage.
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]
Our popular Interactive Product Guides (IPGs) are online catalogs of the hottest vendor solutions around. Our latest issue focuses on the enterprise-management solutions and services that can help you administer, optimize, and protect your network better. Download the IPG for free at
Visit our Exchange & Outlook Administrator Web site for news, articles, discussion forums, FAQs, and technical solutions in one, easy-to-navigate Web site. While you're there, check out the popular article "Is Your Exchange Server Relay-Secure?" at
4. INSTANT POLL12%--Optical storage devices 6%--CF or PC Card RAM drives 18%--USB or PC Card hard drives 0%--USB or PC Card tape drives 65%--None
The voting has closed in the Windows & .NET Magazine Network's Storage Admin Channel nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "What type of storage do you provide for mobile users?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 17 votes.
12%--Optical storage devices 6%--CF or PC Card RAM drives 18%--USB or PC Card hard drives 0%--USB or PC Card tape drives 65%--None
(contributed by Bob Chronister, [email protected])
Q. I'm working on a project that involves a Windows 2000 network running Microsoft SQL Server 2000. The project requires more storage than our current 54GB of hard disk space. We're considering installing an external Quantum Snap Server. But will Win2K and SQL Server view the storage on the Snap Server the same way they view the storage on our internal RAID?
A. No. Furthermore, I'd never recommend installing SQL Server on a Snap Server. Performance would be less than par, to say the least. You have two realistic alternatives. You can add a new SCSI array, which will probably last you a few years. Or, you can add a Fibre Channel array. The latter solution is ideal but expensive, so you need to weigh the cost against your needs.
6. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])
Tricord Systems and Realtimepublishers.com announced John Vacca's "The Definitive Guide to High-Availability NAS," a free eBook hosted on the Tricord Web site. The eBook will cover an overview of Network Attached Storage (NAS) technology, clustering NAS, designing NAS, planning for NAS, installing and deploying NAS, maintaining NAS, and the future direction of NAS. Tricord Systems will post the eBook chapter by chapter as Vacca writes it. Registered readers will receive an email notification as each installment is available for download. You can register at
Imperial Technology and QLogic are working together to help small and midsized businesses set up an entry-level Storage Area Network (SAN) application accelerator by using the QLogic SAN Connectivity Kit 1000, which comprises the QLogic SANbox 8-port switch, four SANblade 2200 Series host bus adapters (HBAs), fiber-optic cables and Gigabit Interface Converter (GBIC) connectors, device-driver software, and a tutorial CD-ROM. The QLogic SAN Connectivity Kit combines with Imperial's SANaccelerator. For pricing, contact Imperial Technology at 800-451-0666.
7. CONTACT US
Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:
(please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)
- TECHNICAL QUESTIONS — http://www.winnetmag.net/forums
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- QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR STORAGE UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION?
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