Storage UPDATE, February 10, 2003

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February 10, 2003—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • The Changing Landscape for Backup, Archiving, and Disaster Recovery
  • 2. NEWS AND VIEWS

    • Serial ATA and Serial Attached SCSI Aim to Work Together
    • Quantum Acquires SANlight

    3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

    • Catch the Microsoft Mobility Tour—Time Is Running Out!
    • Pharma-IT Summit: Real-World Solutions for Today's Pharma-IT Challenges, March 31, 2003

    4. RESOURCES

    • Display SAN Files by Age

    5. NEW AND IMPROVED

    • Administer Your SAN Components from One Location
    • Meet the Storage Demand for Ultra-Dense Storage Systems
    • Submit Top Product Ideas

    6. CONTACT US

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

    1. COMMENTARY
    (contributed by Elliot King, [email protected])

  • THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE FOR BACKUP, ARCHIVING, AND DISASTER RECOVERY

  • The IT community hasn't operated on "Internet time" since, well, for a while now, but that doesn't mean fundamental change isn't underway. New ways of approaching long-term problems are emerging; the most significant approaches often emerge because of a psychological shift, which then encourages technological development. The psychological changes make new solutions desirable. The technology makes new solutions possible. Both psychological and technological factors are affecting the world of backup, archiving, and disaster recovery.

    One example of a psychological shift that changed the way we view our environment was the reaction to the disaster of September 11. In addition to the obvious emotional impact that the events of September 11 made, the incident brought to light the importance of having a national backup and disaster-recovery plan in place. One factor that's influencing the IT community's view of the importance of a good backup strategy is the changing regulatory environment. For example, lawyers in high-profile legal proceedings frequently subpoena email correspondence. Health care and financial institutions face approaching deadlines to meet new regulatory requirements. Companies are now acutely aware of the need to create faster and more efficient access to historical data.

    One technological change that's emerged in response to the need for more efficient access to data is the increasing reliance on hard disks as a backup technology. For years, tape has been the medium of choice for backup. However, over the past year, several major storage companies have released disk-based products intended to serve as online and near-line backup devices. Those entries are the first in what promises to be a major shift in technology.

    In a white paper published 2 years ago, researchers in the storage system program at Hewlett-Packard (HP) Labs suggested that disk-based technology would soon surpass tape as the medium of choice for backup applications. The researchers argued that high-density hard disks provide superior performance, density, and maintenance characteristics. High-density hard disks also cost less per gigabyte than tape when the tape drive and other related costs are taken into account. Among the researchers' key points: Hard disks are five times faster than tape in sequential performance, making disks better for creating and restoring backup volumes; disk-based backup technology can potentially store twice as much data per backup volume than tape-based systems; and hard disks can offer better support for legacy devices. Finally, the researchers presented empirical evidence that hard disks might last longer than tape.

    For years, backup, archiving, and disaster recovery have been lumped together, but now they are seen as separate and distinct technologies. Companies are concerned not only with whether their data has been preserved but also with how quickly the data can be restored and available after a breakdown. And the definition of data restoration is changing, too: Do users need access to only the latest version of the data or to multiple earlier versions?

    In the past, some companies might have lumped archiving with disaster recovery, treating the technologies as one and the same. That confusion is no longer common. Although versions of data for disaster recovery must be kept off site, companies increasingly need convenient onsite access to archived storage.

    As the differences between backup, archiving, and disaster recovery become clearer, companies are also better able to understand the differences and implement effective storage solutions. However, according to John Pearring, president of STORServer, storage managers still need to resolve the problems surrounding what he calls "the five-legged technology stool." Pearring uses the term five-legged technology stool because five parties are potentially involved in the backup, archiving, and disaster-recovery solution: The server vendor, the disk drive hard disk vendor, the tape drive vendor, the storage management software vendor, and a system integrator.

    As you might expect, some vendors see the complexity of the five-legged stool model as an opportunity to offer integrated solutions. Network Appliance, Sony, and StorageTek are offering variations of backup appliances, as are some new entries in the field, such as STORServer.

    Change happens, even if it doesn't always come at Internet speed. The old backup, archiving, and disaster-recovery solutions might be obsolete both technically and psychologically, but new solutions are emerging.


    SPONSOR: DON'T MISS OUR WEB SEMINARS IN MARCH!

    Windows & .NET Magazine has three new Web seminars to help you address your security and storage concerns. There is no fee to attend "Selling the Importance of Security: 5 Ways to Get Your Manager's Attention", "Building an Ultra Secure Extranet on a Shoe String", or "An Introduction to Windows Powered NAS," but space is limited, so register for all three events today!
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    2. NEWS AND VIEWS
    (contributed by Keith Furman, [email protected])

  • SERIAL ATA AND SERIAL ATTACHED SCSI AIM TO WORK TOGETHER

  • Executives from the Serial ATA (SATA) and Serial Attached SCSI working groups have revealed plans to enable compatibility between their two technologies at the system level. The collaboration is expected to help simplify future device-level interfaces. The Serial ATA 2.0 standard was approved last year, whereas the Serial Attached SCSI working group is still working on its standard. The SATA standard was designed for inexpensive devices (desktops); the Serial Attached SCSI standard is being designed for markets that require robust feature sets for mainstream server-storage solutions.

    The two groups are still ironing out the details but are aiming toward enabling SAS controllers, host bus adapters, and subsystems to support SATA devices. No expectation exists that SATA controllers will support Serial Attached SCSI devices. SATA was developed to replace the parallel AT Attachment (ATA) in most PCs today. Serial Attached SCSI is being developed as the next evolution of SCSI. SATA devices are already shipping. Serial Attached SCSI systems with SATA support are expected to be available sometime in 2004.
    http://www.serialata.org
    http://www.serialattachedscsi.com

    http://www.storageadmin.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=27198

  • QUANTUM ACQUIRES SANLIGHT

  • Hoping to enhance its data-protection storage solutions, Quantum has announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SANlight, a small, privately held software company. Although few details are available about SANlight's products and technologies, Quantum mentioned in its announcement that SANlight's technologies will help Quantum augment its products so that solutions that incorporate Quantum's technologies and those of its software partners can receive enhanced data protection.

    Quantum already owns a 7 percent stake in SANlight; under the acquisition agreement, Quantum will purchase the remaining 93 percent for $8.5 million. Quantum will treat most of the acquisition cost as in-process research and development. Quantum plans to integrate SANlight's assets, technology, and intellectual property into Quantum's storage solution business. The acquisition is expected to close this month.
    http://www.quantum.com
    http://www.sanlight.com

    3. ANNOUNCEMENTS
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

  • CATCH THE MICROSOFT MOBILITY TOUR—TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

  • This outstanding seven-city event will help you support your growing mobile workforce. Industry guru Paul Thurrott discusses the coolest mobility hardware solutions around, demonstrates how to increase the productivity of your "road warriors" with the unique features of Windows XP and Office XP, and much more. You could also win an HP iPAQ Pocket PC. There is no charge for these live events, but space is limited, so register today! Sponsored by Microsoft, HP, and Toshiba.
    http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars/mobility

  • PHARMA-IT SUMMIT: REAL-WORLD SOLUTIONS FOR TODAY'S PHARMA-IT CHALLENGES, MARCH 31, 2003

  • This annual executive conference highlights the increased focus on network storage, warehousing, and security in global pharmaceutical enterprises. Networking, case studies, intensive workshops and forums help CIOs, CTOs, CFOs, VPs, and other top decision-makers leverage pharmaceutical IT solutions successfully. Keynote presentations by executives from Aventis, Novartis, Astrazeneca, Hoffman-Laroche, and Pfizer, plus US Department of Health and Human Services.
    http://www.pharmaitsummit.com

    4. RESOURCES

  • DISPLAY SAN FILES BY AGE

  • Forum member John Gray is looking for a utility that will group files on his company's Storage Area Network (SAN) according to the files' age so that he can show management why his group needs hierarchical storage management. He wants the utility to group the files and their sizes and list them in different categories (e.g., 0 to 1 day, 1 to 7 days, 8 to 30 days, 30 to 90 days, older than 4 years). To lend John a helping hand, go to the following URL:

    http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=46&tid=53624

    5. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])

  • ADMINISTER YOUR SAN COMPONENTS FROM ONE LOCATION

  • Computer Associates (CA) announced BrightStor SAN Manager, Storage Area Network (SAN) software that lets you discover, visualize, monitor, and administer all of your company's SAN components from one location. BrightStor SAN Manager integrates with CA's BrightStor Storage Resource Manager and BrightStor Portal. For pricing, contact CA at 631-342-6000 or 800-225-5224.
    http://www.ca.com

  • MEET THE STORAGE DEMAND FOR ULTRA-DENSE STORAGE SYSTEMS

  • Spinnaker Networks released SpinStor, RAID and Just a Bunch of Disks (JBOD) storage arrays that provide more than 2TB of storage capacity in a 3U (5.25") rack space. SpinStor arrays provide enterprise features such as NFS and Common Internet File System (CIFS), scalable clustering, nondisruptive file and file-system movement capability, snapshot technology, high-availability failover and mirroring capability, and scalability. For pricing, contact Spinnaker Networks at 412-968-7746 or [email protected]
    http://www.spinnakernet.com

  • 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]

    6. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

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    http://www.winnetmag.com/sub.cfm?code=wswi201x1z

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