Commentary
Content posted in December 2009
Year End Transitions
Commentary  |  12/23/2009  | 
While I'm usually a "Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night" kinda guy I'm feeling a little Grinchy as the end of the year brings more news from the walking wounded of the storage vendor community. I've already written about MAID pioneer Copan's slide, but this week brings unpleasant news from Verari and the long beleaguered pair of Overland and Adaptec, with a ray of hope coming from Exanet who had looked pretty dead the last time we looked.
Are Storage Vendors Learning At Your Expense?
Commentary  |  12/23/2009  | 
I was on a call the other day with a vendor who made a statement recalling their Solid State Disk (SSD) rollout that almost made me spray Mountain Dew all over my computer screen. They said, "We learned a lot about SSD when our customers started using them in our systems." Does that strike you as wrong? Shouldn't they know? What else are storage vendors learning at your expense?
Deduplicating Replication - SEPATON
Commentary  |  12/22/2009  | 
Sepaton is a pure VTL solution, meaning it is not available to backup to a NAS target like some of the other companies we have reviewed thus far. Sepaton is focused on enterprise data sets, which should be able to handle the challenges of a fibre attached backup device. They are also a grid or clustered based system, scalable to 16 nodes. Each node can perform deduplication as well as replication.
The SMB Impact Of Avaya Completing Its Nortel Enterprise Solutions Acquisition
Commentary  |  12/21/2009  | 
Steve Hilton, bMighty columnist and analyst at Analysys Mason, explains what Avaya finalizing its purchase of Nortel's Enterprise Solutions (NES) operation means for small and midsize businesses.
'Twas The Day Before Audit
Commentary  |  12/21/2009  | 
'Twas the day before audit, and all through the net, all the sniffers were sniffing, the ACL's were all set. IDSs were tuned to cut out the noise, to catch hackers and crackers and steal all their toys. The servers were hardened and code all inspected while programmers fretted over SQL injected. Management hung around micromanaging us, while PCs where patched using WSUS.
Citrix Receiver On Android: Your Desktop Anywhere
Commentary  |  12/17/2009  | 
Citrix's Receiver for Android is available as a Tech Preview (beta, don't use in production, etc) and runs on Android 2.0. Receiver, which Citrix expects to be out of Tech Preview and generally available by Q2 2010. Receiver is the company's universal client for desktop and mobile devices, providing a seamless remote application experience to end users regardless of where they are and what device they are using. Receiver on Android is surprisingly usable, given the Droid's relatively small scree
Gridstore Puts Scale-out NAS In Reach Of SMBs
Commentary  |  12/17/2009  | 
I've always been partial to scale-out storage systems based on the RAIN (Redundant Array of Independent Nodes) model. If data grows faster than predicted, and it always does, I can just add another node or two to the cluster (or grid, cloud, fogbank or whatever the vendor wants to call it), and I never have to fire up the forklift for an upgrade. Now, an Irish startup, Gridstore, is taking the idea downscale by bringing the per-node cost of their SMB NASg to just $400.
Will They Make It? The Perfect Presentation
Commentary  |  12/17/2009  | 
I heard this question twice yesterday, once from a CIO and once from a financial analyst: "Why won't they just tell me what their product does?" It's not the first time I have heard that plea, and I'm sure it won't be the last. One of the ways to tell if a company will make it is how quickly can they get you to understand why they exist and what makes them different.
Deduplicating Replication - Data Domain
Commentary  |  12/16/2009  | 
Data Domain is the next up in our re-interview blogs. As I have said, the deduplication method used will have impact on how replication will work in the environment. Data Domain is an inline only system. That means as data comes in, it is deduplicated on the fly. As a result, the replication process should be able to start sooner. Data Domain has been delivering replication capabilities for a while, and their product has some advanced capabilities.
Automated Storage Tiering: EMC Is Moving FAST!
Commentary  |  12/15/2009  | 
EMC has just launched the maiden version of its FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering) software that will run on all of its main storage platforms, Symmetrix, CLARiiON and Celerra. FAST addresses a key question for modern storage systems: in what tier should the data be placed within an array? That issue has been complicated with the recent addition of solid state disks (SSD) in the form of flash memory drives (say Tier 0) in addition to Fibre Channel (FC) drives (Tier 1) and high-capacity SATA
Harnessing vSphere Performance Benefits For NUMA: Part 2
Commentary  |  12/14/2009  | 
In my last post I talked a great deal about native support for NUMA in vSphere on enabled Opteron and Nehalem processor platforms. NUMA is a strong technology in and of itself, but it really starts to shine when teamed with other supporting technologies. In this post, I'm going to cover the details of integrating next generation networking and interrupt technologies to improve storage and networking performance. I'll focus on MSI-X, but future posts will cover VMDq, RSS and Multiple Queue's in m
My Views On Market News
Commentary  |  12/14/2009  | 
Last week brought the news that two more storage vendors, Copan and Exanet, are standing with one foot in the grave. It also brought an announcement that Dell was going to resell Qlogic's FCoE CNAs. Journalists and bloggers jumped on the news with some solid analysis and some overreaction. Curmudgeon that I am, I felt I had to throw my two cents in as well.
Extreme Catching Up On Enterprise WiFi
Commentary  |  12/13/2009  | 
The switching business is tough, and Extreme Networks has faced its share of hard times recently. With the departure of CEO Mark Canepa in late October and with the announcement of a sizable layoff, it would be easy to assume that Extreme Networks has lost momentum against the big players like Cisco and Juniper, but Extreme is far from down and out. Read on to hear about some interesting news with respect to Extreme's enterprise WiFi strategy.
EMC Delivers On FAST 1.0 - Call Me When v2 Is Ready
Commentary  |  12/11/2009  | 
This week EMC made a big splash, announcing that they're actually delivering the first version of the FAST (Fully Automated Storage Tiering). Now owners of the latest EMC kit can automatically migrate LUNs from one tier of storage to another. While that's a lot better than rocks for Christmas, it's really just a down payment on the best present ever. EMC is promising more later, and I don't even think they're keeping track of who's naughty or nice.
Converged Networks: Another Interesting Week - Who Is Verari?
Commentary  |  12/10/2009  | 
With nearly all the Tier One OEM providers now supporting native FCoE on their servers and storage systems, it's pretty clear which connectivity protocol they are betting on going forward. They all see the move to network convergence as a big shift and the cost benefits it brings to users.
Disk For Archive Is Not Dead
Commentary  |  12/10/2009  | 
In his recent blog "Copan's MAID Fades away," 3PAR's Marc Farley predicts that MAID is dead and that we can forget about disk for archiving applications. I usually agree with Marc but this time not so much. I believe that MAID is not dead and more importantly, neither is disk for archiving.
Practical Analysis: 802.11 -- The Blu-Ray Of Wireless
Commentary  |  12/10/2009  | 
While useful, 802.11n is unlikely to be game-changing technology in most enterprise settings.
Brocade M&A Fire Still Burning
Commentary  |  12/10/2009  | 
Considering the recent maelstrom of speculation surrounding the possible acquisition of Brocade, the timing of the take-out provision in their Form 8-K is the smoke that tells us Brocade's M&A fire is still burning.
Data Protection Workflow
Commentary  |  12/8/2009  | 
I was speaking with Bocada and Tek-Tools last week about their focus on helping customers solve their data protection challenges. If you think about it there is no shortage of solutions to protect your environment, and I am encountering more than a few data centers that have the same data set protected four or five times. Ironically, they don't feel anymore comfortable about recovery. The problem is a lack of process or workflow to all these point solutions.
Detailing Deduplication's Replication Mode: ExaGrid
Commentary  |  12/8/2009  | 
My next re-interview in our ongoing series on dudupe is with ExaGrid. This is a target appliance that looks to your backup software as a network mount point. As the name implies, ExaGrid leverages a grid or clustered storage foundation to provide scale. The advantage is that as data grows, the performance or capacity of the backup is not gated by a single controller or system.
Intel Posits Cloud On Chip
Commentary  |  12/8/2009  | 
Network Computing readers were the first to learn about Intel???s efforts to pack a data center onto a single chip, via my recent interview with Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner. Now, the chip behemoth has taken things one step further, formally announcing its single-chip cloud research project.
10GigE Tipping Point Reached - Problems Remain
Commentary  |  12/8/2009  | 
In shopping for new 10gig Ethernet switches for the lab I've realized that 10gigE pricing has reached the tipping point where the purchase price of two 10gigE connections for a server is about the same as for the six 1gigE ports I frequently need. Unfortunately with the DCB/CEE/DCE standards not yet ratified and the 10gig connector/optical module situation bringing truth to the old saying "I love standards - there are so many of them," the decision isn't as easy as I hoped.
Your Dedupe Sweet Spot
Commentary  |  12/8/2009  | 
Running out of storage space? Running out of money? I feel for ya, buddy. Most of us are in a rough spot in the real world looking for a place to cram all our stuff; half the programming on cable channels seems to be about folks de-cluttering their homes, getting rid of stuff they don't need and culling the crap they do keep (10 teddy bears gone-hubby gets to retain one childhood keepsake... belt-buckle collection sold at garage sale- wife gets to keep her 1st place rodeo buckle... you get the i
New Importance In Metadata Collection
Commentary  |  12/7/2009  | 
Metadata has been around for a long time but is garnering new attention in the eDiscovery world. Metadata contains information about the creation and editing of electronic documents. E-mail, word processing documents, spreadsheets, database records - all of these and more will have some level of metadata attached to it. Basic metadata includes information on the document's creator and modifiers and the date and times that it was created and acted upon. Metadata matters in eDiscovery because it g
Data Center Consolidation Drives Need for High Speed Connections
Commentary  |  12/7/2009  | 
Centralization has once again become the watchword in the data center. To simplify management, businesses are collapsing autonomous devices into central products. As this occurs, companies find themselves with more information stored in select locations and need fast network links to move that data. While many IT market segments have been struggling lately, high-speed data center connections have shown dramatic growth, according to market research firm DellOro Group.
Harnessing vSphere Performance Benefits for NUMA
Commentary  |  12/5/2009  | 
Non Uniform Memory Access or NUMA is becoming increasingly commonplace on the next generation of very powerful servers. What does this mean for virtualization applications on the latest VMware incarnation? Serious performance increases for NUMA equipped systems.
What Goes Around Comes Around: Google's Recursive DNS
Commentary  |  12/5/2009  | 
Google's announcement about their DNS service is naturally making waves among the Interneterati. Some think it's risky (no, encryption won't help). Some think it's good for DNS in general. It's neither of these things. It's a DNS service that Google thinks will make browsing better and a potential research tool.
Rebooting Drives
Commentary  |  12/4/2009  | 
I was speaking to a drive manufacturer the other day that again made the statement that when they get supposedly failed hard drives back from storage system vendors, a high percentage of them (80 percent as I recall) work just fine. All they needed was a power cycle and they came back to life. Of course, the remedy for hard drive failure is the same remedy we use for our desktops when something goes wrong. Reboot.
Updating ESX To vSphere 4
Commentary  |  12/4/2009  | 
It's no secret that the latest version of VMware's virtual infrastructure is bigger, better, faster and more capable than ever, but along with the new feature set comes a whole load of complexity. vSphere 4.0 has a ton of features designed to bring system performance to the next level, but it requires a little tweaking to get the most out of them.
EMC: Accelerating The Journey To The Private Cloud
Commentary  |  12/3/2009  | 
Howard Elias, president and chief operating officer of EMC Information Infrastructure and Cloud Services, extended and expanded the discussion on the private cloud. The move to the private cloud will be a multi-year journey. The focus is to make IT more OPEX-based (operational expenses) rather CAPEX-based (capital expenses).
Questioning Microsoft's Cloud Data Migration Patent Application
Commentary  |  12/3/2009  | 
On the cusp of launching its Azure cloud computing service, Microsoft has filed a patent application for migrating data to a new cloud. But is their proposal new, novel, or even patentable?
Detailing Deduplication's Replication Mode - FalconStor
Commentary  |  12/2/2009  | 
Our first interview was with FalconStor. The way you perform deduplication will affect the way you replicate that data. FalconStor uses what they call concurrent deduplication. Basically data is streamed to disk first and then the deduplication process occurs, but they can begin that process as each backup stream closes.
Backup Adminstrators' Best Practices
Commentary  |  12/1/2009  | 
A peer of mine at another organization is stuck in a time warp. Every day at 5PM he must shuffle tapes back and forth, deal with long back-up windows and deal with restore issues due to the complexity of his environment. If you're not adapting your backup strategy to the times, you're putting your organization at risk.
Will They Make It? Part Two - Focus
Commentary  |  12/1/2009  | 
Developing a focus is hard for any organization, but it is probably the most important thing to the emerging technology company. As I stated in the first part of this series, determining if the emerging technology company you're looking to partner with is going to make it is never an exact science. There are many variables to consider, but one of the most important is their ability to focus.


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