Storage UPDATE--Don't Forget Backup!--April 19, 2004

Storage UPDATE--Don't Forget Backup!--April 19, 2004


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1. Commentary

- Don't Forget Backup!


2. News and Views

- HP to Offer Low-Cost Fibre Channel Drives

- Sony Envisions Role of Paper in Optical Data Storage Future


3. Resource

- How to Disable Media Change Notification Messages on a Class Device Timer


4. New and Improved

- Software Converts PCs into Disk Servers

- Autoloaders for Legal Compliance

- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!


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==== 1. Commentary ====

by David Chernicoff, [email protected]


Don't Forget Backup!

At a recent social gathering I found myself chatting with an IT director from a Fortune 50 company. As often happens when IT people find out what I do for a living, he started bouncing some ideas off me for my opinion. Eventually the conversation got around to his company's network storage and backup architecture.

What I found interesting was that although he has overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations of a huge network, he isn't responsible for keeping the network data backed up and available. That task falls under the auspices of the director responsible for the hardware side of the house. The fellow I talked to is responsible for administration and networking. Although he has input into the storage solution used enterprise-wide, he doesn't have final signoff on that decision.

That lack of control over the decision process was about to become a major concern for him--he was in the planning stages of an enterprise-wide rollout of Exchange Server 2003. Being a UNIX geek at heart, he said that, instead of having to deal with Windows Server 2003 and Exchange 2003, he'd prefer to implement a simple Linux-based POP3/SMTP email server. Although I think I built up his confidence a bit, he still harbors concerns about running Exchange Server on this scale.

In addition to rolling out Exchange Server, my new acquaintance needs to integrate it with a UNIX-based network backbone. His company's storage implementation includes Storage Area Networks (SANs) that use only tape for backup--with large robots, of course, but with no intermediate devices. The data is either live, online, or backed up to tape, and he worries about being able to promptly restore email data to individual mailboxes from tape.

I gave him a few leads in this area and told him that many backup and storage management products that integrate with Exchange Server are available from vendors such as CommVault Systems, NOVaSTOR, and Storactive. Although his company's backup and storage management solutions are UNIX based, I pointed out that many solutions that offer detailed Exchange integration are available to support all flavors of UNIX, including the Sun Microsystems Solaris version that predominates in his company.

What impressed (or maybe, depressed) me most was the lack of concern he showed about integrating Exchange Server's storage and backup needs into the existing infrastructure. Our conversation had started with the importance of email to a business and moved on to a discussion of the administrative problems that accompany email. This IT director clearly was well aware of all the potential problems involved in his forthcoming Exchange deployment. But he gave me the impression that he thought backup and storage would take care of themselves.

The one piece of advice I left him with was this: He either needs a comprehensive plan for integrating Exchange Server with his storage management and backup infrastructure, or he needs to be ready to implement a dedicated infrastructure for the Exchange rollout. The time and money spent to resolve storage concerns before the rollout couldn't be better spent anywhere else.


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

by Keith Furman, [email protected]


HP to Offer Low-Cost Fibre Channel Drives

HP has announced plans to release a new class of disk drives that it calls Fibre Attached Technology Adapted (FATA). Codeveloped with Seagate Technology, the FATA drives provide low-cost, high-capacity Fibre Channel storage. HP is targeting FATA at enterprise environments where bulk storage is more important than access time. "By using more cost-effective Fibre Channel drives, IT managers will have the capability to run their mission-critical data together with their basic reference data and use the same common Fibre Channel infrastructure. This enables easier system management along with added flexibility and scalability," said Brian Dexheimer, executive vice president, worldwide global marketing, Seagate.

FATA drives will be capable of up to 250GB of storage with a dual-port, 2GBps Fibre Channel interface. The Fibre Channel interface will make it easy to use the new drives in any existing Fibre Channel device. The drives will actually be typical Serial ATA-2 drives with an added Fibre Channel interface, so performance will be similar to the performance of low-cost ATA disk drives but will offer system resilience; Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) capability; optimized sequential addressing features; Fibre Channel protocol native data integrity; and error-event handling capability. The drives will begin to ship in July.


Sony Envisions Role of Paper in Optical Data Storage Future

Sony and Toppan Printing have developed an optical disk that uses the next-generation Blu-ray Disc format and is constructed partially of paper. As much as 51 percent of the optical disk consists of paper, leading to benefits such as reduced manufacturing cost and easy labeling, disposal, and destruction. The ease of destruction (the disks can be cut up with scissors) will help make the disks more secure. Sony and Toppan Printing have been working on the project for a year and are scheduled to present their results at the Optical Data Storage 2004 conference.

Developed by a 10-company consortium, the Blu-ray Disc format is one of the competing formats for next-generation optical disk storage and can store as much as 27GB of data. Sony recently announced plans to ship a single-side, dual-layer rewriteable disk with a total capacity of 50GB by the end of the year. Sony and Toppan Printing plan to continue development of the paper-based disk to enable volume production in the future.


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==== 3. Resource ====


How to Disable Media Change Notification Messages on a Class Device Timer

Because the media change notification functionality is enabled by default on Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP systems, the media changer can receive frequent notification messages when it moves media between storage and usage locations. To learn how to disable the media change notification messages, see the URL below.


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==== 4. New and Improved ====

by Renee Munshi, [email protected]


Software Converts PCs into Disk Servers

DataCore Software introduced SANmelody, software that lets you convert a Windows desktop system into a networked disk server. Multiple application servers can then share that disk space over a LAN. Providing shared capacity on a general-purpose server eliminates the laborious and costly process of purchasing additional application servers simply to add more disk space. You can download SANmelody at no charge for a 21-day evaluation period, and you can purchase the software from DataCore's online Web store for as little as $1200.


Autoloaders for Legal Compliance

Breece Hill announced a Super AIT (SAIT) autoloader and an AIT autoloader that integrate XenData's Archive Series Software and Sony's SAIT and AIT standard and write once, read many (WORM) tape media with Breece Hill's 10-Pak and 16-Pak tape libraries. The autoloaders deliver a nonerasable and unalterable record that meets the data authentication and legal compliance needs of most industries in a compact 4U (7") unit. The SAIT 10-Pak stores as much as 5TB of native data at a transfer rate of 30MBps, and the AIT 16-Pak stores 1.6TB of native data at a transfer rate of 12MBps. The XenData Archive Series Software simultaneously writes data to external RAID and unalterable AIT WORM or SAIT WORM cartridges within the autoloader.


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