Storage UPDATE, August 11, 2003

Storage UPDATE--August 11, 2003

This Issue Sponsored By


Windows Scripting Solutions


1. Commentary: Data Recovery: There's Always Hope

2. News and Views

- EMC Unveils Business Outline at Analyst Conference

- Overland Storage Expands into Disk-Based Backup Products

3. Announcements

- Special Offer from SQL Server Magazine

- Try Windows & .NET Magazine!

4. Event

- New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show!

5. Resource

- System State Backup

6. New and Improved

- Receive Backup Capability with Your Tape Drive

- Access Stored Data in 12 Seconds

- Submit Top Product Ideas

7. Contact Us

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

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==== 1. Commentary: Data Recovery: There's Always Hope ====

by Elliot King, [email protected]

In an ideal scenario, an enterprise's data is always appropriately backed up and ready for recovery. Then, if an unforeseen event (e.g., inadvertently deleted data, a power outage, a disk crash) occurs, the company doesn't face a crisis. Unfortunately, most of us don't live in an ideal world: When it comes to backup, many companies don't follow best practices and face nasty surprises when they try to restore their data after disaster strikes.

Too frequently, when companies attempt to restore data after a system crash or major human error, they discover that despite the policies they've implemented, they haven't backed up data on a systematic schedule, or they've been backing up an empty directory, or they've been trying to back up an open file and the backup procedure failed. In one well-known example, an insurance company tried to restore data after a system crash and found that no data whatsoever had been backed up for 14 months because a tape had jammed and nobody noticed.

Bill Margeson, president of CBL Data Recovery Technologies, told me that in his experience, the longer a company has had a backup program in place, the more likely it is that systems aren't backing up as expected. He said that when his company begins a project, frequently, no one remembers how to log on to the backup system.

But even a massive disk crash with no backup doesn't mean that all data and hope are lost. Since the mid-1990s, many companies have emerged that specialize in supporting organizations experiencing a data-loss crisis. Kroll Ontrack is probably the largest of these businesses, and a dozen more companies dominate what Margeson estimates to be an approximately $150 million market.

Data recovery in crisis situations exists in two forms--software recovery and hardware recovery. Software recovery is often the less complicated of the two. If your OS has become corrupted, the data is still on your hard disk, but the paths to access your data have been obliterated. Simply reinstalling the OS might not help because, as Margeson put it, reinstalling an OS is like retracing your steps in the snow--subsequent steps aren't in the same places that the initial steps were in. For example, data can be overwritten and connections lost. In this situation, software tools such as Symantec's Norton Disk Editor can work with data at the hexadecimal level. A skilled technician can plow through a disk and identify and reconstitute a Exchange database, for example. Although such tools are widely available, not every IT shop has professionals with the appropriate skill set to perform such software operations.

Hardware recovery can be more stressful for an IT professional. If, when your system crashes, you reboot your disk and hear a repeated clicking sound, you might be suffering from "head slapping." The drive's electronics still work, but the read/write operation is slapping the platter. In this situation, not only is the read/write head damaged but the servo code on the platter, which orients the head, can be wiped away. With each slap, additional data might be destroyed. But even hardware problems don't have to be total disasters. Data recovery specialists can replace head assemblies and recover much of the data. Some data, however, is typically lost.

So what should an administrator do when confronted with a failed system and no backup? The first step is to listen. If the drive is clicking, the problem most likely lies in the read/write head. You might only exacerbate the problem by continually rebooting the drive.

If the drive isn't clicking, install the drive into another platform as a slave. In many cases, the drive will successfully boot, and you can transfer data to a new disk. The imperative here is that you need to actually transfer the data and not let yourself believe that the drive has miraculously fixed itself.

If you can't reboot the drive, you probably need to send it to a lab-based service to determine whether the lab can recover data. But even in the worst of circumstances, data is probably still on the disk and you can recover at least some of it with the right approaches.


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==== 2. News and Views ====

by Keith Furman, [email protected]

EMC Unveils Business Outline at Analyst Conference

More than 300 analysts and members of the press gathered in New York last week at EMC's annual financial analyst meeting. Joe Tucci, EMC president and CEO, and EMC's management team outlined the company's strategy to enter new markets, lower its prices, and continue storage software interoperability initiatives. The storage giant announced expected revenue growth in the midteens for the second half of 2003 and for 2004. The company expects its gross margins to continue to improve to 48 percent or greater by fourth quarter 2004. EMC reaffirmed that it will be profitable for the rest of the year and expects to meet its previously stated revenue expectations for third quarter 2003.

The company has improved its manufacturing and testing enough that it plans to release lower-cost products on a more regular basis. Future products will cost less when released than the products they replace. EMC is currently investigating entering the tape market, but the company hasn't decided on a strategy for doing so. On the software front, the company's CLARiiON and Symmetrix lines will be fully compliant with the Storage Networking Industry Association's (SNIA's) Storage Management Initiative (SMI) by the end of 2003.

Overland Storage Expands into Disk-Based Backup Products

Overland Storage has announced that it will offer new disk-based backup and recovery acceleration appliances. The company introduced a new family of products called the REO SERIES, which includes proprietary technology that enables disk-to-disk-to-tape transfers for disk-based backups. The first product to ship is the REO SERIES R2000 backup acceleration appliance, which works with existing backup and data recovery software to provide high-speed, network-based backup capacity and instant access to backed-up data.

The REO SERIES uses Internet SCSI (iSCSI) and Serial ATA drives to provide high performance. With the emergence of low-cost and high-performance hard disks, the company hopes to use its expertise and experience in the tape backup market to expand into disk-based backup and recovery. The REO SERIES R2000 is available now and starts at $24,995 for 2TB of Serial ATA RAID storage.

==== 3. Announcements ====

(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

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==== 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. Resource ====

System State Backup

Forum member Triage performs weekend backup operations with VERITAS Software's Backup Exec 8.6, which handles the system states on three servers--two are domain controllers (DCs) and one is a member server. All servers are on Windows 2000. The primary DC is giving Triage problems. One week, all the system states back up with no problem, but invariably on the following week, the primary DC's system state won't back up properly. The error message generated when this happens reads, "An error occurred retrieving System State Files. The System State files could not be backed up." Triage would like to discover why this problem is happening every other week. To lend Triage a helping hand, visit:

==== 6. New and Improved ====

by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Receive Backup Capability with Your Tape Drive

Yosemite Technologies announced that HP is shipping Yosemite Technologies' TapeWare XE 7.0 backup and recovery software with HP tape drives. HP tape drives bundled with TapeWare XE include selected DAT, Linear Tape-Open (LTO) Ultrium, and DLT VS products. TapeWare XE 7.0 includes a Web gateway to provide centralized or remote management for cross-platform environments. TapeWare XE supports Windows, Novell NetWare, and Linux systems. Pricing varies according to company size and configuration requirements. Contact Yosemite Technologies at 559-449-8181.

Access Stored Data in 12 Seconds

StorageTek announced T9840C, the latest tape drive in the T9X40 family of drives. The T9840C features 40GB cartridge capacity, 30Mbps data throughput for backup and recovery, and a 12-second average data access time. The drive is equipped with a Fibre Channel interface, VolSafe Write-Once-Read-Many (WORM) technology, and a VR2 data channel device that enables higher densities and faster data throughput. Pricing is $38,000. Contact StorageTek at 303-673-5151 and 800-786-7835.

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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==== 7. Contact Us ====

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