Storage UPDATE--Storage Utilities--March 8, 2004

Storage UPDATE--Storage Utilities--March 8, 2004

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- Storage Utilities: All Dressed Up and No Place to Go

News and Views

- Sony and Partners Add WORM Support to SAIT Backup Devices

- EMC, LEGATO, Microsoft Launch Business Continuity Education Tour

New and Improved

- Stackable 10Gbps Fibre Channel Switch

- Large Tape Library

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

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==== Commentary ====

by Jerry Cochran, [email protected]

Storage Utilities: All Dressed Up and No Place to Go

If your IT shop is like many, you've either already deployed a storage utility or doing so is on your list of the top five things to do or investigate over the next year. Unfortunately, many organizations--caught up in the hype of storage consolidation--haven't carefully considered the hurdles they must overcome and identified the factors that will influence the success of a storage utility.

I see two approaches to building a storage utility: the "build it and they will come" philosophy and the subscription model, in which you add capacity and capability as customers subscribe. Regardless of the approach, a significant hurdle is convincing service and application owners within an IT organization to commit to putting their pet service or application on the storage utility. Everyone wants to let someone else try it first (like the Exchange administrator who says, "My services are too mission-critical to host on the storage utility. Look for a less-important service to try it first."). Application and service owners are often unwilling to take the risk of using a storage utility for various legitimate and illegitimate reasons, including security, management, Quality of Service (QoS), and control.

Organizations need a solid approach and strategy for targeting the applications and services that will use the storage utility. One approach might be to look for low-hanging fruit (e.g., file services, low-use legacy applications, intranet Web farms) and get buy-in from those owners before venturing down the path to a storage utility. Starting off with the applications and services that no one will argue about is often a good approach.

Line of business (LOB) applications are a more challenging target. The number of individual servers and storage arrays for every LOB application at my workplace always amazes me. The problem is rooted in the fact that every LOB application is treated and resourced as an individual project. The business has a requirement, the requirements drive the application, the application drives the hardware (server and storage) requirements, and the server and storage are purchased and deployed into the data center without a thought to efficiency or economies of scale. Every application owner has some justification for why his or her application requires a dedicated infrastructure. For a storage utility to be successful long term, it must compel LOB application owners to take a chance and use it.

A successful storage utility requires more than features and functionality--it also requires IT cultural change. At a high level, the organization needs to insist that LOB application owners examine the feasibility of the storage utility before defaulting to their own server and storage hardware. Are some LOB applications not right for a storage utility? Of course, but IT must make a case for every LOB application to be deployed on the storage utility and application owners must be made to justify why their application isn't a good candidate for the storage utility. Only after fundamental cultural changes take place in IT and the organization can LOB applications be successfully hosted on the storage utility.

Making the storage utility a compelling service offering isn't easy. Manageability--including Storage Resource Management (SRM), disaster recovery and business continuance, and security--is one key reason for the difficulty. With the storage utility concept relatively new and the technologies that support it even less mature, convincing application and service owners that they should take a chance on the storage utility is a challenge. As many of these things mature, convincing the organization to embrace the service will become easier.

In the meantime, for your IT shop to make its offering compelling and successful, you'll need to invest in overcoming immaturities in the technology, changing organizational culture, and formulating a clear hierarchy of the applications and services that you want to target as customers for the storage utility. Start off small, and prove the concept with less-risky services. Then, build a case that will convince even the mightiest service owners that their applications or services will work on a storage utility. If you don't, your storage utility will be all dressed up with no place to go.

To change the topic for a moment, with spring just around the corner, many of you might be thinking about attending a tradeshow or getting some training. If you haven't visited our Events Central Web site already, please take a minute to do so. Events Central provides a comprehensive listing of tradeshows, conferences, and Web seminars targeted to the IT user. Whether you're searching by event type or event topic, you'll find a complete one-stop listing of events to fit your needs. Check it out today.

==== News and Views ====

by Keith Furman, [email protected]

Sony and Partners Add WORM Support to SAIT Backup Devices

At this week's AIIM conference, Sony Electronics and its partners, which include Qualstar and XenData, are expected to announce the addition of write once, read many (WORM) support to Super Advanced Intelligent Tape (SAIT-1) backup drives. Starting this month, all SAIT drives that Sony ships will have WORM functionality as a standard feature. The move is intended to give businesses another option for long-term data retention. The storage industry is increasingly concentrating on providing solutions to address government and regulatory data compliance, which are important parts of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 17a-4 of the Securities Exchange Act. "Tape continues to be a desirable format for archival storage, and write-once solutions allow companies to economically meet their storage needs as well as to comply with mandates for record storing," said Fara Yale, research vice president at Gartner.

The feature is being added to Sony's SAIT-1 backup drives, which offer native 500GB capacity (approximately 1.3TB compressed capacity) per cartridge. The WORM support will require special SAIT WORM-compatible media. Sony expects the new media to be priced slightly higher than typical SAIT-1 media. Sony will make the new drives available to OEM partners for resale this month. Sony-branded standalone drives will be available this spring.

EMC, LEGATO, Microsoft Launch Business Continuity Education Tour

As part of the global alliance formed in February 2000, EMC, its recently acquired LEGATO Software division, and Microsoft have announced plans to conduct a series of educational seminars to promote data consolidation and protection. The seminars will showcase EMC and Microsoft products working together to provide cost-effective solutions that address business continuity and data consolidation. The featured solution includes the use of an EMC NetWin Network Attached Storage (NAS) system, which runs Windows Storage Server 2003, and LEGATO's RepliStor software. "IT managers face many risks to their business, from lengthy recovery times to vulnerability when it comes to compliance regulations. Consolidation and continuous replication through Network Attached Storage helps minimize these and other risks while simplifying the overall IT infrastructure. EMC, LEGATO, and Microsoft are delivering an integrated solution that will help solve problems customers face today while providing them with a cost-effective platform for future growth and the ability to easily support new applications at each branch location," said William Hurley, senior analyst at the Enterprise Storage Group.

The seminars will take place in Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Irvine, California; Irving, Texas; Mountain View, California; New York; Redmond; and Washington DC. The companies will also showcase their solution at the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, later this month.

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==== Resource ====

A Problem with Microsoft Exchange 5.5 Anonymous Access

"Superbaker" has used VERITAS Software's VERITAS Backup Exec 8.6 for more than a year and a half without a problem. But after applying a couple of security patches and changing the RestrictAnonymous registry subkey from 0 to 1, the user now gets an error message when trying to back up the Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 directory and Information Store (IS). The error message reports that Backup Exec was unable to find the Exchange directory. The Exchange server's event log reports event ID 1333, "The Microsoft Exchange Directory Service could not log on to the Anonymous account." To offer your advice or join the discussion, go to the following URL:

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==== New and Improved ====

by Renee Munshi, [email protected]

Stackable 10Gbps Fibre Channel Switch

QLogic announced that the SANbox 5200, a stackable 10Gbps Fibre Channel switch, is available to resellers through QLogic authorized distributors. The SANbox 5200 can scale to 64 ports without losing any ports to interswitch links; provides 10Gbps performance, wizard-based installation, and complete stack management from one application; and offers a low cost of entry (an 8-port configuration has a suggested retail price of $5795). For more information, see QLogic's Web site.

Large Tape Library

Storage Technology (StorageTek) announced the StreamLine SL8500 modular library system, a large tape library with performance features such as redundancy, hot-swap components, and multiple robots. The SL8500 base unit has approximately 1500 cartridge slots and can grow to a maximum slot count of approximately 6600 slots. The product works in Windows, UNIX, mainframe, and supercomputer environments and supports a variety of enterprise tape-drive technologies. For more information, go to the vendor's Web site.

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