Storage UPDATE, July 28, 2003

Storage UPDATE--July 28, 2003

This Issue Sponsored By

HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show


1. Commentary: Storage Disciplines Reach Smaller Enterprises

2. News and Views - IBM to Focus on High-End Storage Products; Drops Low End - Vendors Announce New Tape Backup Records

3. Announcements - Exchange 2003: Do You Plan to Migrate or Wait? - Windows & .NET Magazine Connections Launches Exchange Event

4. Event - New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show!

5. New and Improved - Troubleshoot Your SANs - Transfer Backed Up Files Through FTP - Submit Top Product Ideas

6. Contact Us - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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==== 1. Commentary: Storage Disciplines Reach Smaller Enterprises ==== by Elliot King, [email protected]

Capacity breeds complexity. Industry observers routinely marvel about how much more bang for the buck users can get in desktop computers, servers, and accompanying hard disks but comment far less often about the complexity that increased computing capacity generates. As price points drop and advances in computing give users the capacity to accomplish more, the infrastructure needed to support new applications inevitably becomes more complex. This trend is also apparent in the storage market, as data replication and disk-mirroring technology enter small enterprises and the small corners of larger organizations.

Data replication and disk mirroring can be essential technologies in any company's business continuity and disaster-recovery strategies. Data replication and disk-mirroring technologies make two copies of all data. Consequently, if a primary system fails, the mirrored system can take over from the point of failure without interrupting business. And if a disaster occurs, the mirrored data exists to be placed into service. Data replication and mirroring technologies don't replace adequate backup processes. Backup generally involves making periodic copies of data so that if anything unexpected happens, the data can be recovered. Large environments that produce crucial data have long used data replication and disk-mirroring technologies. In the past, replication and mirroring technologies haven't played a large part in smaller installations in which data isn't particularly sensitive. The reason for this state of affairs is simple--cost. Installing a mirrored system raises the hardware and software investment considerably.

But data replication implementations are now starting to move beyond large-enterprise strongholds and are making their way into departmental settings and smaller companies for two reasons--cost and awareness. New technology is making large-scale data replication more affordable. For example, start-up storage vendor Global Storage Technologies (GST) released a line of tape products that automatically make a mirrored copy of the data on IBM iSeries servers. And, NSI Software, a leader in the Windows-based data replication niche, released a product aimed at departments with Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems. According to market researcher IDC, the low-end Windows Powered NAS (WPNAS) is the fastest growing segment of the overall NAS market.

The second factor driving widespread adoption of data replication and mirroring technologies is awareness. "There is a growing awareness of the need for protection," said Bob Guilbert, vice president of marketing and business development at NSI. This growing awareness stems from the events of September 11, which have driven home the idea that bad things can happen quite suddenly and unexpectedly, so businesses need to be prepared.

Companies also increasingly realize the importance of minimizing downtime and data loss when systems such as Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft SQL Server crash. Companies today consider a wider variety of data and data types as mission critical. At the same time, the recovery window that companies are willing to tolerate is shrinking. Companies that once were satisfied with a 2-hour recovery window can no longer tolerate even 30 minutes of downtime.

Although the increased popularity of data replication and mirroring technologies means that information infrastructures are becoming more robust and less susceptible to failure, it also means that administrators must set policies and manage a more complex infrastructure. Unfortunately, a troubling new survey released by AmeriVault, an online backup process provider, indicates that companies aren't instituting those policies as expeditiously as they should. In the survey of 114 companies across a variety of industries, a worrisome 45 percent didn't even take the rudimentary precaution of storing backup tapes offsite.

Instituting a hardy data replication and data-mirroring infrastructure is increasingly affordable and cost-effective for a larger community of companies. In order for all companies to realize the potential payoff of their investments, they must increase the sophistication with which they manage their systems.


==== 2. News and Views ==== by Keith Furman, [email protected]

IBM to Focus on High-End Storage Products On August 29, one less storage company will exist in the low-end Network Attached Storage (NAS) market. IBM has decided to focus its efforts on higher-end storage products. The low-end market has seen increased competition in recent years with Dell, EMC, Iomega, and Snap Appliance selling low-end NAS devices. IBM will also no longer accept orders for the IBM TotalStorage NAS 100 and IBM TotalStorage NAS 200; both were Windows Powered NAS (WPNAS) devices. The company said it has no plans to replace the WPNAS units with comparable products. According to a company spokesperson, lower-end NAS devices serve a segment of the marketplace very well but don't appeal to most IBM customers.

IBM doesn't plan to drop out of the NAS market completely. The company will continue to sell its IBM TotalStorage NAS 300 product. The company will also focus on Storage Area Network (SAN) products. According to market research firm IDC, NAS devices made up 11 percent of $3.2 billion spent on external disk storage systems in first quarter 2003.

Vendors Announce New Tape Backup Records

Silicon Graphics Incorporated (SGI), along with Brocade, LEGATO Systems, LSI Logic, and StorageTek, have announced new tape backup benchmarks that far exceed previous benchmarks. The companies' products achieved a rate of 10.1TB per hour for disk-to-tape file backup. They also set a record for image restoration at 7.9TB per hour. The new benchmarks triple the previous record of 3.6TB per hour for backup, which Hewlett-Packard (HP) set in April, and 2.2TB per hour for restoration, which Computer Associates (CA) set in October 2002. SGI claims the new benchmarks are actual, not extrapolated, and are repeatable.

Other benchmarks that the companies achieved and announced include file-level backup at a sustained rate of 10.1TB per hour; file-level restoration at a sustained rate of 4.5TB per hour; image-level backup at a sustained rate of 7.2TB per hour; image-level restoration at a sustained rate of 7.9TB per hour; file-level backup of 1TB in 7:09 minutes; file-level restoration of 1TB in 15:29 minutes; and a single 10TB XFS file system file-level backup at a sustained rate of 6.26TB per hour and restoration at a sustained rate of 4.43TB per hour. The components used in the benchmarks include the SGI Origin 3000 server and SGI Total Performance 9500 (TP9500) RAID storage arrays (based on technology that LSI Logic developed), Brocade's SilkWorm 2Gb Fibre Channel switches, StorageTek's PowderHorn 9310 library using T9940B tape drives, and Legato's new NetWorker 7.0 backup software. The cost of the total configuration is about $3 million. All the components are currently available.

==== 3. Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Exchange 2003: Do You Plan to Migrate or Wait? Windows & .NET Magazine and Aelita Software would like to know about your organization's plans to migrate to Exchange Server 2003. Take our brief survey, "Windows & .NET Magazine: The State of Exchange Migration," and sign up to receive a free white paper titled, "Upgrade or Migrate? Deployment Options for Exchange 2000/2003." Give us your feedback today!

Windows & .NET Magazine Connections Launches Exchange Event

Windows & .NET Magazine Connections will colocate with Exchange Connections 2003. Stay competitive and invest your time to keep pace with technology. Learn the latest tips and tricks from gurus like Mark Minasi, Mark Russinovich, Tony Redmond, and Sue Mosher. Register now and get both conferences for the price of one--plus lock in your $300 early bird discount. Go online or call 203-268-3204 or 800-505-1201 for details.

==== 4. Event ==== (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show! Learn more about the wireless and mobility solutions that are available today! Register now for this free event!

==== 5. New and Improved ==== by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Troubleshoot Your SANs

TeraCloud released a free Fibre Channel Ping utility, fcping, written by Bill Pierce. Fcping troubleshoots Fibre Channel Storage Area Networks (SANs) and is equivalent in functionality to the standard IP networking utility Ping. Pierce is a member of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) SMI-S standards technical team. To download fcping, click the following URL:

Transfer Backed Up Files Through FTP

Quantalytics released Q-BACK Remote Automatic Backup, backup software that features an FTP client. You can use Q-BACK to back up files, compress and password protect them, and transfer them through FTP to the backup server. The software also works across a LAN so that you can back up individual users' data. For pricing, contact Quantalytics at 516-295-5121.

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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==== 6. Contact Us ====

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