Storage UPDATE, October 7, 2002

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October 7, 2002—In this issue:


  • Windows sans SANS


  • HP, EMC Trade Lawsuits
  • CIO Survey Shows Storage Industry Trends


  • Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott Are Bringing Their Security Expertise to You!
  • Announcing the New Windows & .NET Magazine VIP Site!


  • Storage Highlight: NAS Appliances
  • Featured Thread: Restoring Exchange Server
  • Submit Top Product Ideas


  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

(by Jerry Cochran, [email protected])


  • The French word for "without" is sans--an appropriate word to use if you're talking about Windows environments and Storage Area Networks (SANs). The groundswell of SAN deployments in the IT industry has only recently begun to reach the Windows world. Let's look at why SAN adoption has been slow in the Windows environment and why SANs are an important technology that every Windows administrator can leverage.

    Strategic Research ( estimates that between 1996 and 1998, data stored on worldwide Windows NT-based systems grew from 11PB to 39PB and by the end of 2002 will grow to more than 260PB. Despite this rapid data growth, Direct Attached Storage (DAS) remains the mainstay in the Windows environment. Most Windows administrators have been content with the simple and straightforward configuration and management, excellent performance, and low cost that DAS provides. Storage vendors haven't helped much. Most enterprise-class storage vendors, such as EMC, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Hitachi, and IBM, have been slow to recognize the Windows storage market; they've been content to revel in their huge installed base in mainframe and midrange environments. However, many of these vendors are beginning to realize that Windows represents the largest growth area in the storage business.

    Microsoft has been equally slow in embracing new storage technologies. Not long ago, if you talked to Microsoft about deploying Windows, Microsoft Exchange Server, or Microsoft SQL Server on a SAN or Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, you'd get that "deer in the headlights" look. In Microsoft's defense, the company must ensure supportability of its products, and the investment of capital, process, and personnel to test its products with SAN and NAS is substantial. But Microsoft has made the necessary investments to position the company to maximize the value that technologies such as SAN bring to the Windows environment. Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003 includes features such as Multipath I/O (MPIO), Host Bus Adapter API (HBA API), Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), and support for booting the OS from a SAN. These important features, plus enhancements in other areas (e.g., a completely redesigned storage driver and port model in Win.NET Server), will finally let the Windows OS take full advantage of the new storage technologies.

    Two factors that have caused Windows administrators to lag behind in SAN implementation are cost and complexity. First, until recently, IT has linked storage investment decisions to the purchase of an individual server, making the cost easily justifiable based on the application or service that the server will provide. DAS requires no more infrastructure than power cords and SCSI cabling, which add relatively little complexity to the environment. SANs, however, require a substantial investment in infrastructure and personnel. SANs rely on a full-blown Fibre Channel infrastructure complete with hubs, expensive switches, and costly fiber cabling.

    Second, SAN technology requires a significant learning curve for existing personnel or a substantial investment in additional personnel who have SAN experience. Implementing a SAN affects storage design, capacity planning, provisioning, and disaster recovery. Consequently, implementation provides a substantial barrier to entry for smaller organizations, and in many cases, only large enterprises with large budgets and on-staff expertise can make the jump to SANs in the Windows environment.

    Until now, Windows administrators haven't been sufficiently motivated to move en masse to SANs. However, storage-data growth in every environment, including Windows, has left administrators, system designers, and IT managers scrambling for technologies that can quench their thirst for data scalability, availability, reliability, manageability, and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Many enterprises have reached the limits of DAS, but SANs fulfill all these needs.

    In "Windows sans SANS," which appeared in the October 2002 issue of Windows & .NET Magazine, I discuss the advantages SANS brings administrators. To see the entire article, click on the URL below.


    Get back 30% to 50% of your storage space right now, with a FREE storage assessment using StorageCentral SRM from Precise SRM. With its intuitive, web-based ActiveReports, you're just two clicks away from cleaning out gigabytes of junk files, and performing HSM and data migration. And you'll keep your servers clean with real time enforcement of file type blocking and TruStor quota limits. Download your free trial StorageCentral SRM today for your free storage assessment.

    (by Paul Thurrott, [email protected])


  • Storage giants EMC and Hewlett-Packard (HP) traded lawsuits last week, indicating that the hotly contested storage market is entering a new phase. HP filed a lawsuit against EMC alleging that three of the Massachusetts company's products infringe on seven HP patents. EMC fired off a lawsuit of its own, alleging that HP is infringing on six EMC patents. The bad blood comes just months after the two companies announced an agreement to share storage APIs in a bid to create storage standards and more interoperable products.

    "They have directly and egregiously infringed upon seven pieces of our intellectual property that are patent-protected," an HP spokesperson said. "One of the reasons why companies invest in \[intellectual property\] is that it gives them a competitive advantage. It's not cool when a competitor essentially rips you off."

    HP's suit centers on methods for transferring data between two storage hardware devices; the methods reduce the number of times systems must read and write information, thereby increasing performance. The company is asking for unspecified monetary damages and for a US District Court in California to block the sale of EMC Symmetrix and CLARiiON devices that use the technology.

    EMC says that HP is infringing on patents it holds for four EMC products, including Symmetrix and TimeFinder. The company is still reviewing HP's lawsuit and hasn't issued an official response.

    From a competitive standpoint, the two companies are issuing statements the likes of which the computer industry hasn't seen in years. EMC spokesperson Mark Fredrickson told "The Boston Globe" that HP's suit "smacks of desperation," and "HP is under siege ... in the storage market." HP had some hyperbole of its own. A company spokesperson said, "We compete very hard with EMC, and we're kicking their butt right now." When HP merged with Compaq, the combined company edged out EMC as the largest storage company.

    And the HP suit isn't EMC's only patent-infringement concern right now. In April, EMC sued drive maker Hitachi for violating several EMC software patents.

    (by Keith Furman)

  • Investment firm Merrill Lynch recently released a report detailing IT and storage trends and beliefs by chief information officers (CIOs). Merrill Lynch surveyed 75 CIOs from the United States and 25 CIOs from Europe. The survey concluded that most CIOs view storage as a commodity. When asked whether storage software products met companies' needs, 70 percent of respondents answered yes. This result surprised analysts because of past complaints by CIOs about storage products and the relative immaturity of the market.

    One of the surprising results from the survey involved networking giant Cisco Systems. According the CIO survey, Cisco will need to prove itself before succeeding in the storage networking market. Cisco, which recently acquired storage networking company Andiamo Systems, has been trying to gain a foothold in the increasingly competitive storage networking industry. Cisco's main competition has been companies such as Brocade Communications Systems and EMC. According to the survey, the company was given a 5.7 out of 10 chance of success in the storage switch market by survey participants.

    The survey also concluded that most CIOs would rather buy switches directly from Cisco than have the switches integrated into storage hardware from vendors such as EMC, Hitachi, or IBM. But storage vendors might resist that approach.

    "EMC seems to want switch competition in order to lower prices and accelerate SAN adoption," Merrill Lynch analyst John Roy wrote in the report. "EMC does not want, however, to lose its accounts control by having Cisco sell directly and perhaps even forward-integrate into storage."

    The report also contained information about storage spending. CIOs are expected to increase spending on storage solution by about 5 percent this year. Overall IT spending might drop from last year.

    You can see this report in full at:



  • Windows & .NET Magazine Network Road Show 2002 is coming this October to New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco! Industry experts Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott will show you how to shore up your system's security and what desktop security features are planned for Microsoft .NET and beyond. Sponsored by NetIQ, Microsoft, and Trend Micro. Registration is free, but space is limited so sign up now!


  • The Windows & .NET Magazine VIP Site is a new subscription-based online technical resource. For a limited time, you can access this banner-free site where you'll find exclusive content usually reserved only for VIP Site members. Only subscribers will be able to enjoy this new site after October 14, so check it out today!



  • When you select a Network Attached Storage (NAS) solution, you want it to meet your storage requirements in terms of capacity, scalability, client compatibility, and performance. You also must integrate the solution into your current management, backup, and security strategies. In "NAS Appliances," which appeared in the October 2002 issue of Windows & .NET Magazine and is available online at the following URL, Ed Roth presents entry-level and midrange NAS devices available in 1TB to 2TB configurations, although many of the listed devices scale to much larger capacities.

  • Di.O has been unsuccessful at restoring his Microsoft Exchange Server from a backup. To read more about the problem or offer your expertise, use the following link:


  • 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].

    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

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