Commentary
Content posted in January 2010
Predictions For 2010: Starting With Vendors Begining With "E"
Commentary  |  1/30/2010  | 
So, after some holiday time off and taking care of some unexpected family business, it's time to get back into the swing of things for 2010. I thought I'd kick off the new-year with a set of predictions. But rather than do an all-encompassing set of industry predictions, I've decided to start with companies starting with an "E" first and then move on from there. Here is how I see things unfolding for three "E" vendors in the IT space in 2010. We can match them up to actual events at the end of t
Opternity Knocks
Commentary  |  1/29/2010  | 
You probably haven't heard of Opternity, a start-up company that promises a new "laser" tape technology for enterprise space that increases the capacity of a tape cartridge by nearly an order of magnitude, or 10 times, that of existing tape technology for the same media cost while at the same time dramatically increasing the tape's shelf life to fifty years. Why is this important? Consider first all the predictions about the continuing deluge of data. To paraphrase Mark Twain on the weather (and
A Different Cloud Storage Risk
Commentary  |  1/29/2010  | 
When talking about the risk of storing data in the cloud, the conversation quickly turns to encrypting data, both during transport and at rest. The problem is that all the encryption in the world isn't going to help you if your encrypted data disappears because of sloppy data protection or data loss. What is your cloud storage provider doing to make sure that your data is going to be there when you need it next month, next year or in the next decade?
Broadcom Unveils Converged Network Adapter
Commentary  |  1/29/2010  | 
Broadcom Corporation officially entered the converged network adapter (CNA) war on December 15, 2009, at their analyst day event. At the event and in independent lab tests, the company demonstrated a 10 gigabit Ethernet adapter simultaneously running TCP/IP, iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet traffic on a single port. With multiple LAN and SAN protocols running on a single port, Broadcom leap-frogged the capability of its competition that must separate different types of traffic on different
Do We Need 35TB Tapes?
Commentary  |  1/28/2010  | 
Last week IBM and Fujifilm announced that they've developed a new tape technology that could hold a whopping 35 TB on a DLT/LTO size cartridge before your data supposedly compresses 2:1 to put 70TB in the palm of your hand. While I'm impressed with the technical feat, I'm wondering what we would use a 70TB tape for.
The iPad Is Not A Kindle Killer
Commentary  |  1/27/2010  | 
This is a bit off-topic, but indulge me. In the lead-up to Apple's iPad launch today, many folks are making comparisons to Amazon's Kindle, claiming that the iPad will be a Kindle killer. No, it won't, and here's why. Kindle is a single-purpose device devoted to e-reading, and it does that very well. The iPad is more than a eReader. It is closer to a netbook without the fold-out screen and physical keyboard. It's also a lot more expensive and comes with a fairly pricey data plan, whereas Kindle'
Data Security Is A Federal Issue Now
Commentary  |  1/27/2010  | 
Just when you think you have dodged the data security bullet, here come the Feds. My view on data security of late has been that those who thought they needed to secure information have done it, and those who didn't were not in a big hurry to do it. Times are changing. The Federal Data Breach Notification Law that recently passed through the house is now on its way to the Senate and then on its way to you.
Juniper and Polycom Team Up To Take on Cisco
Commentary  |  1/25/2010  | 
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. That ancient proverb is proving true in the network equipment market where Cisco combatants Juniper Network and Polycom have joined forces to integrate their network and video conferencing products.
Riverbed's Cascade 8.4 Improves WAN Peformance Monitoring
Commentary  |  1/25/2010  | 
The upgrade gives Cascade users the ability to monitor Wide Area Networking peformance for end users and in WAN-optimized environments.
SAN Cloud Storage
Commentary  |  1/21/2010  | 
As we discussed in my last entry, the use of cloud storage for primary data has become more practical, especially for NAS-based use. It is going to require more work but there are some pocket use cases already. What about the other extreme: using cloud storage for SAN based data? The first challenge is probably why would you want to do that, anyway?
Infoblox Opines On Infrastructure 2.0
Commentary  |  1/21/2010  | 
The evolution of the data center and of the enterprise network will be the hot button issues of 2010. As virtualization explodes and networks continue to sprawl, there'll be an impetus to rein in complexity. I believe that the desire to more capably manage the technologies at issue--or, more precisely, to fit everything under an easy-to-grasp intellectual umbrella--is behind the emergence of marketing-inspired monikers such as unified computing (Cisco), integrated infrastructure (HP) and dynamic
The Do's And Don'ts Of Virtualizing Database Servers
Commentary  |  1/21/2010  | 
Virtualization conveys numerous benefits to traditional x86/64 bit server environments, but everybody knows that virtualization and heavily utilized databases don't tango; at least that's the consensus. By utilizing some simple best practices and taking advantage of smart features in vSphere, you can harness the flexibility, load balancing and high availability features of virtualized database servers.
Tight Squeeze: EMC Joins The High Density Storage Brigade
Commentary  |  1/19/2010  | 
Back in the Twentieth century the increase in disk drive bit density allowed us to keep up with growing data sets by periodically replacing disk arrays with ones using drives that hold 4-8 times the data in the same space. Lately the data we have to store has been growing faster than disk drive capacity, and as a result, vendors have been experimenting with high density arrays packing more drives in the same space. This week EMC threw their hat in the ring with a double-deep rack for Clariion mi
Deduplicating Replication - Quantum
Commentary  |  1/19/2010  | 
Quantum's deduplication method is called adaptive inline deduplication. This means that they will automatically adjust between inline deduplication and post-process deduplication as needed. Basically, if the system thinks it is getting too throttled down by the deduplication work, it will shift into a post process mode for as long as needed. If needed, the post-process deduplication can be forced by enabling a backup window in order to defer the deduplication process - it's called the deferred m
Verizon Rolls Out Business Bundles
Commentary  |  1/19/2010  | 
New SMB-oriented packages of high-speed Internet, phone, and TV services are available to customers of Verizon, and some of them come with bonus features.
The Cloud As Primary Storage
Commentary  |  1/19/2010  | 
To this point and for the foreseeable future, cloud storage will largely be isolated to use as an archive or as a backup destination. At some point, however, cloud providers are going to start offering cloud storage as a primary storage location. What needs to happen to get there and how close are we? This differs from the discussion about primary storage that a software as a service cloud (Saas) provider will use. As I wrote about in this blog last year, these solutions will require the typical
Avaya Maps Out Migration Plan for Nortel Customers
Commentary  |  1/19/2010  | 
Whats next? IT managers often ask that question once an acquisition takes place. Nortel customers, who have been twisting in the wind for more than a year, now have a few answers to what Avaya plans to do with customers networking gear, some of which they will like and other they may not.
Compellent Makes A Strong Case In Midrange Storage
Commentary  |  1/18/2010  | 
Compellent Technologies is a player in the midrange storage market that does not get the recognition that it deserves. The reason for that is simple: When customer attention turns to storage, their first focus is on the large players, such as EMC, HP, IBM and NetApp, whose market presence and mind share, wide product diversity and strategic visions tend to dominate (and rightfully so) any discussions of how the storage market is being shaped. Next come startups and emerging companies that focus
Intel Versus AMD: Servers Straining For Architectural Differentiation
Commentary  |  1/15/2010  | 
Sifting the server tea leaves for the new year, one sees clear signs of both the market doldrums lifting and of renewed vigor on the architectural front. The upshot is that 2010 will be an exciting year. Spurred by processor innovations from Intel and AMD, we'll see a pitched battle for market leadership among IBM, HP and Dell. So-called niche players could also have an impact. I'm thinking in particular of Sun, which will reposition itself by refocusing on its high-end offerings, after it has b
Time - The First Casualty Of Lack Of Storage Analytics
Commentary  |  1/15/2010  | 
In IT, time is no longer on your side. Staffs are stretched too thin, new products and capabilities are coming at you too fast and requests for additional storage performance or capacity never stop. The problem is that there is a limited amount of time available to you to examine what is causing a performance bottleneck or how much capacity an application really needs. The current trends of virtualization, tiered storage and infrastructure consolidation make diagnoses even more challenging.
Sometimes Atoms Are Faster Than Bits
Commentary  |  1/14/2010  | 
Even though it seems a bit old fashioned sending data from one place to another on physical media, like a USB hard drive or tape cart, can be a lot faster than your wide area network. To point this out, one of my early mentors used to say "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of tapes." Announcements last week from Compellent and Amazon point this out as each adds the option of using USB hard drives to load data at a remote location.
Last Day To Comment On FCC Rules; Don't Be Swayed By EFF FUD
Commentary  |  1/14/2010  | 
Last day to comment on the FCC network neutrality rules. But yet again, an organization is trying to wrongly conflate an unrelated issue with network neutrality. I suppose I should expect better from the EFF. The organization does, after all have an agenda to promote and while I think the organization has done some good work in protecting civil liberties and freedoms, they are wrong on the FCC proposed rules and their claimed loophole allowing the proposed rules to not apply to copyrighted work
Netgear Introduces SMB-Size Wireless Network Management
Commentary  |  1/13/2010  | 
Over the next several months, networking provider Netgear will be rolling out a new line of ProSafe wireless management solutions, meant to make it easier for small and midsize businesses to set up and manage wireless networks.
Don't Rush To Cloud Computing
Commentary  |  1/13/2010  | 
What's more fun than being called out to a public debate? My colleague Bob Evans and I often see the challenges faced by IT organizations very differently. Bob's a visionary who has spent nearly three decades watching the evolution of IT and imagining how it could be done better, and I respect that. I spent the first 15 years of my professional career in IT, and tend to take a more conservative view on how IT should evolve, and he seems to respect that. Yet I wasn't surprised when Bob asked if h
A Pretty Good Disaster Recovery Plan
Commentary  |  1/13/2010  | 
Symantec just released its 2010 State of The Data Center Survey. In the survey, respondents were asked to rate their disaster recovery plan and only 12 percent rated it as excellent. Even if you add in the 27 percent who thought their plan was "Pretty Good," that means more than half thought that their plans were less than pretty good. Still, the choice of "pretty good" struck me. Who wants to execute a recovery from a "pretty good" DR plan?
Cisco Video Thrust Telegraphs Bandwidth-Bandit Strategy
Commentary  |  1/12/2010  | 
You gotta be impressed by Cisco's persistence. For most businesses, that line about using an economic downturn to positioning oneself for the rebound is just a meaningless mantra repeated from a motivational playbook. However, for Cisco CEO John Chambers, the recession has indeed been an opportunity -- a consumer opportunity -- that's come knocking on the networking powerhouse's door, and he's answered the call.
Ecessa Aims To Improve VoIP Reliability
Commentary  |  1/12/2010  | 
Mission critical data is no longer limited to data applications. Increasingly, companies rely on voice and video connections to get their work done. Increasingly, this information flows over IP links, which are often subject to issues, such as jitter and latency. Ecessa wants to help small and medium businesses solve that problem.
What Should I Use In The New DeepStorage Lab?
Commentary  |  1/11/2010  | 
The powers that be have decreed that it's time to move the DeepStorage lab. While our data center is minuscule compared to one at Google, or even the average Fortune 500 company, the fact it's a testing lab means we're performing MACs (Moves, Adds and Changes) much more than a well-run user organization should. As we move into the new lab I'm looking to include all the gadgets and software tools I can afford to both simplify the process of reconfiguring the lab to test some amazing new storage
1 Million IOPS: A Small Step For Networks, A Giant Leap For Converged Network Adapters.
Commentary  |  1/11/2010  | 
Today, Emulex announced that its OneConnect Universal Converged Network Adapters (UCNAs) doubled the performance of best-in-class 8Gb Fibre Channel HBAs and 10Gb Converged Network Adapters in side-by-side testing with competitive products from Broadcom, Brocade and QLogic. One of the standout statistics in the CNA performance test series was the 919,268 IOPS generated by a single port of the Emulex's OCe10102 card during the FCoE IOPS run. Considering the OCe10102 has just come out of the chute
Deadline On FCC Net Neutrality Rules Closes Soon; Go Comment Now
Commentary  |  1/11/2010  | 
The comment deadline to weigh in on the FCC's proposed rules on Network Neutrality is coming to a close on January 14th, 2010. Pro or con, if you care about network neutrality, you only have a few days left to file a comment with the FCC. For a refresher on the proposed rules, can read them here.
Should An Expectation Of Employee Privacy Exist?
Commentary  |  1/8/2010  | 
Continuing our previous discussion on U.S. Supreme Court case on a data privacy issue related to whether or not an employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy for personal messages sent on devices owned by an employer, we have to ask, does it matter that employees know that personal information will be captured and monitored by employers?
Keys To Cloud Storage Success
Commentary  |  1/8/2010  | 
There are more than a handful of providers offering you the ability to store your information in the cloud today and there will be many more this year. What should you be looking for in a cloud storage provider to have confidence that they are going to be around in the years to come? Before going over the capabilities list of perspective providers, understand what you are going to use the cloud for. Is it for the storage of production real-time data, for collaboration on a data set, for the dist
The Best Acquisition Of The Decade
Commentary  |  1/8/2010  | 
Yesterday I saw a Wall Street Journal article that lists the tech companies that acquired the most VC-backed companies since 2000 (Cisco led with 48, and IBM finished second with 35). The story got me wondering about all the tech purchases made over nine years, startups or otherwise, and which one had the greatest impact on the buyer and the tech markets as a whole?
Will The U.S. Supreme Court Provide Clarity On Employee Privacy?
Commentary  |  1/7/2010  | 
The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to accept a case on a data privacy issue related to whether or not an employee has a reasonable expectation of privacy for personal messages sent on devices owned by an employer. The legal question revolves around whether or not such personal messages are protected under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Ostensibly, this is about a narrow situation where a public employee had his pager messages trans
unRAID But Not Unprotected
Commentary  |  1/7/2010  | 
One of the things I like best about this job is discovering hand crafted software that elegantly solves the problem its designer had in mind while putting a new twist on familiar technology. Looking for a reliable and yet expandable place to store the media for his home theater PCs Lime Technology's Tom Mortensen came up with unRAID; which lets users build parity protected data stores from drives of different sizes and add capacity on the fly.
Should Your Company Be Girding up for Telepresence Services?
Commentary  |  1/6/2010  | 
The popularity of HD video services could have a ripple on your small or medium business. Carriers, such as Verizon and France Telecom, and Cisco, the industrys leading networking company, are preparing new telepresence services that eventually could make it possible for companies to conduct lifelike virtual meetings.
Google's Nexus One Smart Phone Improvements Are Incremental
Commentary  |  1/5/2010  | 
Google just announced their new phone, the Nexus One. Google is claiming that the NexusOne is a new class of smart phone called a "superphone." Well, I'm not sure it is overly super, if super denotes a move from a smart phone with fairly limited computing power like a Treo or BlackBerry. In that case, the iPhone was the first phone that was super. Eye candy aside (and there is a lot of eye candy), the Nexus One is phone that has incremental processing power over the Motorola Droid, the other new
Tell Me The Price
Commentary  |  1/5/2010  | 
An entry I wrote a couple weeks ago, "The Perfect Presentation", sparked a lot of interest. One of the points of debate was my comment about listing the price on the opening slide of a presentation. The outcry of course came from companies where their price needs to be "justified." Let me explain why price needs to be there no matter how much the solution costs.
SEPATON: Playing A Key Role In Enterprise-Class Disaster Recovery
Commentary  |  1/5/2010  | 
One of the significant technologies for improving data protection for basic risk management that has emerged and evolved during the past decade is disk-based backup. At the enterprise-level especially, disk-based backup is typically represented by virtual tape libraries (VTLs).While smaller companies have been able to use disk-to-disk and some limited-capacity VTLs, only a few VTL technologies provide the performance and scalability that enterprise organizations need. One of the companies to lev
Smartphone Virtualization: Useful Or Useless?
Commentary  |  1/4/2010  | 
The virtualization industry has been on fire with news of VMware's latest experimental venture: Smartphone Virtualization. The technology has been targeted at the mobile professional who currently carries two phones, one for personal and one for business use. VMware touts that with a real hypervisor on board, our prototype telecommuter of tomorrow will be able to switch seamlessly between two different installed operating systems on the same phone. With Gigahertz processor cell phones on the mar
Western Digital Out First With 4K Sectored Drives
Commentary  |  1/4/2010  | 
In a move planned since the turn of the century, Western Digital's latest Caviar Green drives use 4K data sectors rather than the 512 (and occasionally 520) byte sectors that have been the norm. The larger sector size both boosts the formatted capacity and enables better ECC that can correct larger errors than today's drives could. Since today's operating systems and RAID controllers are expecting 512 byte blocks, the Caviar Green does 512 byte emulation, but as most of us would suspect, there a
Will Desktop Virtualization Break-Out In 2010?
Commentary  |  1/4/2010  | 
We've been covering Desktop Virtualization ad nauseam at Network Computing and for good reason. As a technology, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) has the potential to change the way we deliver an operating environment to our users. Unfortunately, broad acceptance of VDI has been hampered by vendors' inability to stream graphically intensive apps over remote viewing protocols like RDP, ICA, and others. If the lofty promises of the leaders in the virtual desktop computing space hold true, 201


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