Storage UPDATE--Intel's Next-Generation Server Platforms--August 9, 2004

Storage UPDATE--Intel's Next-Generation Server Platforms--August 9, 2004

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1. Commentary

- New Server Platforms Boost Storage Performance

2. News and Views

- Snap Appliance Upgrades Its Offerings

- HP Launches New StorageWorks Arrays

3. Resource

- Using the Exchange Server 2003 Recovery Storage Group

4. New and Improved

- Disk-to-Tape Backup Solution Adds Features

- Data Replication Software Works with iSCSI

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

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==== 1. Commentary ====

by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

New Server Platforms Boost Storage Performance

Last week, Intel announced its next generation of high-performance Xeon-based server platforms. Based on the new 3.6GHz Xeon processors, which introduced Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology to the Xeon product line, the new platforms use the much awaited Intel Server Board SE7520AF2. Accompanying the new server platforms is a new generation of I/O processors (IOPs), which Intel claims provide significant performance improvements and reduce power consumption.

The Intel IOP332 IOP, with its Intel XScale microarchitecture, supports up to 2GB of registered DDR2 400 memory, which Intel claims allows a 20 percent increase in memory bandwidth and up to a 40 percent reduction in power consumption compared with the previous generation IOP and its DDR 333 memory. (The IOP332 will also support unregistered DDR 333 memory.) The IOP332 adds support for an 800MHz Xscale core, which, together with a new 800MHz system bus, will provide 50 percent more bandwidth between the chipset and the Xeon processors, according to Intel.

An integrated PCI Express-to-PCI Extended (PCI-X) bridge will reduce latency, often considered the Achilles heel of the PCI-X design. Given the importance of PCI Express in support of technologies such as Internet SCSI (iSCSI), RAID cards, and Fibre Channel cards, lower latency will be a significant benefit.

The IOP332 also includes RAID5 Exclusive OR (XOR) and iSCSI CRC32C application acceleration engines to further enhance performance of RAID and iSCSI implementations. These hardware-based acceleration engines support the IOP332's two direct memory access (DMA) channels. Thus, all DMA transfers--especially iSCSi transfers, which require a cyclical redundancy check (CRC) calculation on data--benefit from the performance boost that the acceleration engines provide to all block data transfers.

Why is this technology important to IT pros who are responsible for storage? For a couple of reasons. First, these IOPs will soon appear in servers that you buy, and the high-performance architecture should significantly speed the flow of data between storage and applications. Second, in addition to serving as a component of high-end motherboard chipsets, Intel's IOP family of processors can be used as a standalone technology to create an integrated single-chip I/O solution for networked storage devices. Consequently, you'll soon see storage-specific products that use the IOP332. Those who manage high-heat, high-power-consumption environments, such as densely packed rack-mounted servers or blade servers, will also welcome the IOP332's 40 percent reduction in required power.

Understanding the detailed hardware technologies that interact with storage systems gives you an advantage when evaluating storage-technology products that your business is considering for adoption. The resources below can help you build that understanding.

Find complete details on the IOP332 at

For information about the entire Intel IOP line, go to

The server platform announcement is available at

Details about the Intel Server Board SE7520AF2 are at

For complete technical information on Intel's XScale Technology, download the "Intel I/O Processors Based on Intel XScale Technology" whitepaper at

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

by Keith Furman, [email protected]

Snap Appliance Upgrades Its Offerings

Snap Appliance, which was acquired by Adaptec late last month, has announced three new hardware and software products that will be key offerings from Adaptec's new external storage division. The products are the Snap Server 18000, which is the company's fastest storage server ever and is targeted at large enterprises; an update to GuardianOS; and a new version of its Server-to-Server (S2S) Synchronization server replication software.

The Snap Server 18000 is a Network Attached Storage (NAS) server that scales from 2TB to 30TB in capacity. Dual Intel Xeon processors, Serial ATA (SATA) disk drives, and GuardianOS 3.1 power the server. The Snap Server 18000 delivers twice the performance of any other Snap server, according to the company. The product will be available by the end of the month and will start at $14,995 with 2TB of storage. Snap's upgrade to its flagship OS, GuardianOS 3.1, adds Internet SCSI (iSCSI) and Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) support. An open protocol for enterprise-wide backup and recovery, NDMP has three configurations: Data Management Application (DMA), Tape Server, and Data Server. GuardianOS 3.1 supports all three configurations. The new OS will ship on all new Snap servers and is available as a free upgrade to customers who have GuardianOS 3.0.

The new version of S2S takes advantage of GuardianOS 3.1's NDMP support to offer asynchronous, byte-level data replication, which allows data replication between Snap servers over WANs. The software will be updated by the end of the year to support replication to any Windows or UNIX server. The company is targeting the replication as an alternative to tape backup solutions. S2S is available now; licenses start at $699, depending on the Snap server used.

HP Launches New StorageWorks Arrays

HP has introduced two new storage products that aim to simplify and lower the cost of storage. The HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Array (MSA) 1500 cs supports either SCSI or Serial ATA (SATA) disk enclosures through a single controller shelf; the HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Array 20 (MSA20) is a low-cost SATA disk drive storage enclosure.

According to HP, the MSA1500 cs is the industry's first array to support either SCSI or SATA disk enclosures through one controller shelf. The company will update the product in the near future to support a mix of SCSI and SATA disk enclosures. The MSA1500 supports up to eight 24TB SATA enclosures or up to four 8TB SCSI enclosures to give customers a low-cost, tiered, and upgradeable solution. Pricing starts at $8995.

The MSA20 is a SATA disk drive storage enclosure with Ultra320 SCSI host connectivity. The MSA20 is designed to provide storage for data that isn't frequently accessed, such as reference or archived data and disk-to-disk backups. Pricing for the MSA20 starts at $2959. Both products are available now.

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==== 3. Resource ====

Using the Exchange Server 2003 Recovery Storage Group

After you use the Exchange Server 2003 Recovery Storage Group, you need to delete its contents to avoid problems should you need to restore data. For more information, click the URL below.

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

by Renee Munshi, [email protected]

Disk-to-Tape Backup Solution Adds Features

Advanced Digital Information Corporation (ADIC) announced an expansion of its Pathlight VX disk-to-tape backup solution. The new release increases performance to 2TB per hour, increases flexibility in how data is stored on disk and written to tape, extends RAS capabilities, and integrates EMC CLARiiON storage. Pathlight VX also offers a new 3.8TB entry point--less than half of the original 10TB starting capacity. At the upper end of the capacity range, Pathlight VX increases the maximum disk-based storage capacity from 40TB to 46.8TB.

Data Replication Software Works with iSCSI

NSI Software announced that it has approved its flagship Double-Take data replication software product for use with any Internet SCSI (iSCSI) storage device. Companies of all sizes can deploy Double-Take in conjunction with iSCSI for data protection and consolidation of key business applications and storage devices. Double-Take lets organizations avoid downtime by maintaining up-to-the-second copies of data and making them accessible when an outage occurs. In addition to ensuring continuous data availability, Double-Take can be used to easily transfer backup responsibilities at branch offices to a central corporate data center.

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