Storage UPDATE, September 8, 2003

Storage UPDATE--September 8, 2003

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Windows & .NET Magazine Network


1. Commentary

- Getting a Handle on Backup and Recovery

2. News and Views

- IBM Storage Hits Turbo

- Sun, Hitachi, and HDS Extend Storage Solutions Agreement

3. Instant Poll

- Results of Previous Poll: SAN Precautions

- New Instant Poll: Corporate Attitude About Storage

4. Announcements

- Find Your Next Job at Our IT Career Center

- Are You Ready for Exchange 2003?

5. Resource

- Scripted Backups to CD-R

6. Event

- New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show!

7. New and Improved

- Purchase a Desktop NAS Unit

- Know RAID Array Status

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

8. Contact Us

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

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==== 1. Commentary ====

by Elliot King, [email protected]

Getting a Handle on Backup and Recovery

The storage software market has turned in a mixed performance so far, according to the latest market research numbers published by IDC. According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker, revenues generated by the worldwide storage software market shrank by 9 percent in first quarter 2003, compared to fourth quarter 2002. However, Bill North, research director of IDC's Storage Software sector, wasn't alarmed by the figures. He attributed the decline to normal seasonal fluctuations and noted that the numbers were consistent with IDC's overall forecast, which calls for the market to grow this year and enjoy double digit growth rates through 2007.

Replication software experienced the greatest slump. Following a steep decline from 2000 to 2002, replication software revenues shrank an additional 11 percent in first quarter 2003. Revenues generated by Storage Resource Management (SRM) software also fell. Within this generally slack market however, backup and archiving solutions remain the largest sector of the market.

Storage software vendors currently face several challenges. The first, of course, is budget. With tight IT spending and many companies continuing to focus on consolidating resources, storage specialists find it difficult to make the case for investing in technology that many executives view as essentially an insurance policy.

The second challenge facing storage software vendors is lethargy. Once a company's IT staff has backup, business continuity, and disaster-recovery plans in place, a tendency sets in to believe that no other preparation is required, and the company can move on and invest in other areas. The overall feeling within many companies is that if any system doesn't seem broken, why invest to fix it? Ironically, disaster-recovery specialists argue that the longer a company has a disaster-recovery plan in place, the more likely the plan is to fail when needed.

The third software vendor challenge is complexity. As new storage technologies are released, storage infrastructure becomes increasingly complex. Although industry analysts argue that increased complexity will become a driving force behind the proliferation of SRM software solutions, growing complexity has also led to new ideas about how best to manage storage. Before adopting SRM tools, storage administrators have to sort through many new concepts before they understand which solution is right for their setting.

The fourth challenge involves Human Resources (HR). Two apparently contradictory hiring patterns often emerge in technical areas undergoing rapid change. First, experienced IT professionals are necessary to help companies stay abreast of changes in storage technology and to evaluate new hardware and software. Second, the storage sector attracts people who are new to and inexperienced in the technology and who don't have the necessary background to make informed decisions. Experienced people need to meet the challenge to stay abreast and evaluate all the new hardware, software, and ideas, and the sector attracts many new people who have to get up to speed rapidly.

To help any IT administrator better understand backup recovery concepts and technology, I recommend "The Backup Book" (Schaser-Vartan, 2003) by Dorian J. Cougias, E. L. Heiberger, and Karsten Koop. Part of the Network Frontiers Field Manual series, the book's third edition was published this summer. The book features a broad overview of what can go wrong in a computer infrastructure from the desktop to the data center, and what steps administrators can take both to guard against problems and recover when things go wrong. The authors also introduce and clearly explain the basic terminology associated with storage infrastructure.

I found Chapter 2 to be one of the most useful chapters. In this chapter, the authors explain how to cost-justify a backup plan. They write that the goal is to be able to translate technical problems into organizational costs and benefits. They then offer guidance on negotiating that translation process. They help readers distinguish between different kinds of disasters and offer checklists and worksheets designed to help calculate different problems' costs. For example, the authors suggest that the first key metric in calculating the cost of a system failure is how many jobs are lost and what would be the cost of recreating those jobs.

From that starting point, the authors systematically add other costs in, such as lost sales or workers who must sit idly while systems administrators must redo work. By following the authors' methodology, you can make a compelling case for a significant investment in backup and recovery technologies.

"The Backup Book" isn't limited to storage solutions but also covers a wide range of problems that occur such as desktop crashes and application failures. "The Backup Book" helps IT administrators more clearly think through the problems they face and helps them select solutions they believe will address their specific needs.

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

by Keith Furman, [email protected]

IBM Storage Hits Turbo

As if it were hyping an automobile, IBM released a new "turbo" option for its IBM TotalStorage FAStT600 Storage Servers. The new option provides greater capacity, performance, and speed and broader host system support. IBM is targeting the new option at workgroup and departmental servers and the Life Science industry. In addition to the new option, IBM is making available a "pay as you grow" configuration to help customers manage the costs of unexpected growth.

The FAStT600 with turbo option features disaster protection technology, which includes IBM's FlashCopy and VolumeCopy capabilities. FlashCopy provides fast replication capability. The new VolumeCopy has a duplication feature that permits access to duplicate data almost immediately in case of an outage. The turbo option for FAStT600 will be available on September 12, 2003. Pricing starts at $26,570 for an upgrade and $36,569 for a fully configured storage server.

Sun, Hitachi, and HDS Extend Storage Solutions Agreement

Sun Microsystems, Hitachi, and Hitachi's storage subsidiary, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), have announced extended terms to an agreement they signed in August 2001. The agreement, which was to expire at the end of 2004, will now continue until 2006. One of the main components of the agreement lets Sun resell some HDS products branded with Sun's StorEdge name. As part of the announcement, the companies touted the success of the agreement, which has seen sales of storage solutions totaling more than 5PB of storage capacity, and 900,000 Sun StorEdge 9900 series systems drives.

The agreement calls for Sun and Hitachi to collaborate on hardware, software, and services. This collaboration includes marketing, sales support, services, and joint customer support centers. Sun also announced plans to enhance Pirus Networks' software, which it acquired last year, to support HDS's Thunder and Lightning storage systems. Pirus Networks' software lets administrators combine a variety of storage devices to function as one storage system.

==== 3. Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: SAN Precautions

The voting has closed in the Windows & .NET Magazine Network's Storage Admin Channel nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Has your company taken any precautions when it comes to the security risks associated with SANs?" Here are the results from the 16 votes:

50%--Yes, my company is aware of the risks and is taking precautions. 6%--Yes, my company knows the risks but isn't taking any precautions. 44%--My company wasn't aware of the risks and isn't taking any precautions.

New Instant Poll: Corporate Attitude About Storage

The current Instant Poll question is, "Does your company believe that if backup and disaster and recovery plans are in place, there is no need to invest further in storage solutions?" Go to the Storage Admin Channel home page and submit your vote for a) My company won't invest beyond our existing plan, b) My company is investing beyond our existing plan, or c) My company hasn't even invested in an initial plan.

==== 4. Announcements ====

(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Find Your Next Job at Our IT Career Center

Check out our new online career center in which you can browse current job openings, post your resume, and create automated notifications to notify you when a job is posted that meets your specifications. It's effective, it's private, and there's no charge. Visit today!

Are You Ready for Exchange 2003?

With enhanced performance and security and an improved infrastructure, Exchange 2003 is poised for takeoff. Join Windows & .NET Magazine and NetIQ for this free Web seminar, and discover which migration method makes the most sense, the best security and management practices, and much more. Register today!

==== 5. Resources ====

Scripted Backups to CD-R

Forum member Fitzie wants to know whether anyone who has used Ahead Software's Nero product to schedule a backup to CD-R has found a way to schedule the backup and also handle any errors that might occur, such as "no media present" or "media is full." To lend Fitzie a helping hand, visit:

==== 6. 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!

==== 7. New and Improved ====

by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Purchase a Desktop NAS Unit

IEI announced the NAS-4030, a desktop Network Attached Storage (NAS) unit that features triple Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, an Intel Celeron 1.7GHz processor, 256MB of SDRAM, and three auto-sensing 10/100/1000 LAN ports. The NAS unit also features a maximum of 1TB of storage capacity. For pricing, contact IEI at 714-521-6888, 977-293-2000, or [email protected]

Know RAID Array Status

Advanced Computer & Network Corporation (AC&NC) announced that its JetStor III SATA RAID array features a new 64-bit RISC processor, a cableless backplane-based design, and storage capacities of more than 4TB. RAID monitoring and notification software provide instant access to the status of the RAID array and enable constant RAID monitoring and notification. For pricing, contact AC&NC at 412-683-9010 or 800-213-2667.

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

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]

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==== 8. Contact Us ====

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