Commentary
Content posted in February 2010
Double-Take Takes Disaster Recovery To The Cloud
Commentary  |  2/26/2010  | 
I've spent a lot of time developing disaster recovery plans for mid-size companies with 200-2000 users and 10-100 servers. These companies don't have the multiple data centers and dark fibre that the big boys use to enable array-to-array replication. They make do with servers at a co-lo site and use host or application replication. Double-Take Cloud has extended host-based replication and application recovery to Amazon's public cloud.
How Hot Is Automated Tiering?
Commentary  |  2/26/2010  | 
Last week, a CEO at a large storage manufacturer predicted that automated tiering, the process of moving data between different tiers or classes of storage, was over-hyped. The executive's comment quickly brought responses from other storage manufacturers claiming the contrary. Most vendors position automated tiering as a "must have," and as is often the case with this type of topic, a digital food fight broke out.
Does WLAN Management Really Need To Be In The Cloud?
Commentary  |  2/25/2010  | 
After talking with vendors over the past year, I can't say I am completely on board with the notion of WLAN management tools as a software as a service (SaaS). The premise of cloud management is simple: instead of deploying yet another server in the data center, redirect the enterprise wireless controllers and access points at a vendor-hosted solution. WLAN management services have all the trappings of the current cloud hype.
Do SMBs Need More Fiber Connections?
Commentary  |  2/24/2010  | 
Good news/bad news. The good news is a growing number of companies now are able to connect to telecommunications service provider via fiber optic lines. However, the bad news is the carriers have focused on meeting the needs of large enterprises at the expense of small and medium businesses.
The Services Of Storage Replacement
Commentary  |  2/24/2010  | 
Last year, I was working with a user through the process of a storage replacement. They basically had run up against a wall with their current storage, and our team was helping them through the selection process. One of the areas that simply amazed me was how ill-prepared some of the vendors were when it came to guiding the customer through the replacement. They had about 30TBs of storage on the old platform and none of the initial proposals gave any consideration to guiding the customer through
Cisco Delivers Redundant Arrays Of Independent Datacenters: The New RAID
Commentary  |  2/23/2010  | 
On February 8, Cisco announced the introduction of new products that are part of an industry-wide continuum of cloud infrastructure development. One Cisco product, Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV), stands out by dramatically simplifying the deployment of Layer 2 connections between datacenters to form Redundant Arrays of Independent "Datacenters" (RAID).
Doing IT On The Cheap
Commentary  |  2/23/2010  | 
I was having a chat the other day with a senior exec at one of the cloud storage vendors. He said they were closing a big deal with a service provider to OEM their services as the service provider's other option, which involved a major vendor's private cloud hardware. I started wondering how it was that a huge service provider, with lots of smart engineers and the economies of scale of building a multi-petabyte system couldn't get their costs down to competitive with a third party, who is of co
Break The Storage Racket
Commentary  |  2/23/2010  | 
The storage industry has carved out a lucrative space for itself by forcing customers to purchase from approved equipment lists and qualified vendors and VARs.Vendors argue that storage is so sensitive to latency, jitter, and packet and frame loss that equipment qualification is needed to ensure the SAN fabric works.
IronMountain Buys Archive Appliance Maker, But The Future Is Online
Commentary  |  2/22/2010  | 
IronMountain announced today that it will pay $112 million for Mimosa Systems, which makes archiving appliances for e-mail, SharePoint and files. The purchase gives IM Digital both a premises archiving product as well as a SaaS-based e-mail archiving service. The SaaS archiving offering uses technology from Mimecast, a UK-based company.
Rich Get Richer in Ethernet Switch Marketplace
Commentary  |  2/22/2010  | 
Consolidation has been the watchword in the Ethernet switch market. With growth rates slowing and competition increasing, vendors have been trying to gain size in order to weather the changes. Such an outlook is being made for good reason. Market research firm Delloro Group found that revenue for giants Cisco, HP, and Juniper increased $600 million in the last quarter, leaving few leftovers for the remaining suppliers.
SSD Reliability Isn't An Issue
Commentary  |  2/22/2010  | 
Why is there ongoing concern about SSD reliability? I know of several vendors who have this concern, but more often than not, this worry is due to lack of experience and a lack of understanding about SSD. SSD reliability shouldn't be an issue anymore, especially if you are using enterprise-class memory.
HP & Cisco: It's All Fun And Games Until Someone Loses A Partnership. . . .
Commentary  |  2/19/2010  | 
The battle for the hearts, minds and most importantly, pocketbooks of data center managers, escalated yesterday as HP announced they were OEMing a couple of Qlogic fiber channel switches and Cisco ceremoniously booted HP from their premier reseller program. Tensions have been growing ever since Mark Hurd and the rest of HP management decided to stop treating ProCurve like a red-headed stepchild, and Cisco entered the server market with their UCS.
Intel And Microsoft Overhaul iSCSI For The Enterprise
Commentary  |  2/19/2010  | 
I recently attended a webcast where Jordan Plawner of Intel and Suzanne Morgan of Microsoft described how the combination of Intel Ethernet Server Adapters, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and Intel Xeon processor 5500 series-based servers are integrated to optimize iSCSI performance and scalability. I came away from a follow-up briefing with Jordan and Suzanne impressed with the potential benefits to large data centers, as well as the breadth of integration between Intel and Microsoft products
Deduplication Replication - CommVault
Commentary  |  2/19/2010  | 
CommVault was one of the first enterprise back-up software vendors to integrate deduplication into their product offering. While it wasn't a surprise that they did this, it was a surprise that they were able to add the ability to deduplicate to tape. In my most recent regular blog post on Network Computing, I covered the trend to deduplicate on media other than traditional disk-based systems. CommVault's hybrid approach is a unique compared to how others perform deduplication, and worth examinin
NASuni Turns Object Cloud Into Endless NAS
Commentary  |  2/19/2010  | 
After almost 30 years in the business, needless to say, I have become a bit jaded. Pitch me a left-field idea like holographic storage or even Fibre Channel over Ethernet and it will take more than a good PowerPoint presentation to get me to buy in. So I was surprised at my own reaction when the folks from NASuni explained that their virtual appliance would cache public cloud storage and make it usable as an SMB or ROBO NAS.
Workhorse Smartphones Put To Pasture
Commentary  |  2/19/2010  | 
With Mobile World Congress taking place in Barcelona this week, the announcements from wireless carriers, handset manufacturers and operating system makers are coming at a fast and frantic pace. Two of these announcements, however, stand out in terms of the impact of IT consumerization and the changing face of enterprise mobility. The first and most dramatic, of course, is Microsoft's announcement of Windows Phone 7 Series. The second is Research in Motion bringing Blackberry Enterprise Server E
Practical Analysis: The Storage Stockholm Syndrome
Commentary  |  2/18/2010  | 
Bleeding your customers dry rarely works as a long-term business strategy. So something's gotta give.
Shockwaves In The Fibre Channel Switching Space
Commentary  |  2/18/2010  | 
Earlier this week I saw an article from the Motley Fool advising investors to be bearish on Brocade (to sell), highlighting the competitive challenges facing the company. Then, this morning I saw the challenges only get worse for Brocade, as HP and QLogic announced an OEM pact for Fibre Channel edge switches.
Full Nelson: Mobile World War Breaks Out In Barcelona
Commentary  |  2/17/2010  | 
Mobile World Congress has generated far too many new platforms for corporate IT organizations to consider.
Snapshot Caveats On VMware VI4
Commentary  |  2/17/2010  | 
A typical morning in IT: The phone rings first thing in the morning and a mail server is down. Since e-mail is the lifeblood of every organization, this is the type of problem that can seriously ruin your day. The cause: A VMware ESX snapshot gone awry and the disk files have used up all available space on the datastore. On powering up the virtual machine, I was greeted with an error message that the "RedoLog" was corrupt and the machine needed to be powered off. My subsequent investigation into
Deduplicating Elsewhere
Commentary  |  2/16/2010  | 
Deduplication technology discussions usually center on deduplicating the backup target. That makes sense, as this is where the biggest payoff is for the technology. Increasingly, the discussion is moving more to using deduplication as a part of archive disk or primary storage. Deduplication, however, is also branching out beyond standard disk, and there are areas to consider whether applying the technology is worth the investment.
WAN Link Aggregation
Commentary  |  2/16/2010  | 
Is the high cost of bandwidth from Tier-1 providers crushing your operating budget? Fight back with some value engineering in the form of WAN Link Aggregation. It wasn't that long ago that I was shopping for a 10Mbit internet pipe for a small company in a well wired urban center. I had a budget that I thought was relatively fair in order to acquire the bandwidth I needed. Boy, was I wrong. I got a few budget busting quotes back that were simply not going to fly.
Enterprises Need to Pay More Attention to Data Privacy
Commentary  |  2/15/2010  | 
Many enterprises are still under the delusion that they can do more or less what they want with individuals' personal information. The European Union, many states (including California with its data breach law), and now Massachusetts are attempting to disabuse them of that notion. But this situation is not only about how to achieve compliance with disparate laws; it should also be a wakeup call informing enterprises that they now have to manage information for more than what they consider to be
Cloud Storage Enabled Applications
Commentary  |  2/12/2010  | 
CommVault's recent announcement of enabling cloud storage as an additional backup target for their application created a bit of buzz in the cloud storage community. As it should. CommVault along with Atempo, Symantec and others that are making cloud storage just another button to click will go a long way in its adoption. I think what is more interesting is the use of cloud storage by Independent Software Developer's (ISV) that are not your typical storage guys.
Holographic Storage And Other Science Projects
Commentary  |  2/12/2010  | 
There's been a lot of news over the past month or so about the fringe data storage technologies I think of as science projects. You know, holographic memory, 35TB tapes, 10 layer 200GB Blu-Ray disks, optical tape, isolinear data rods and data crystals. Oh wait -- the last two are science fiction, for now. The biggest news was the Colorado Department of Revenue seizing the assets of InPhase Technologies after it was shuttered last week. InPhase, a 10-year-old Bell Labs spin-off, has been demons
Ground Rules For Mobilizing Users
Commentary  |  2/10/2010  | 
Last week, I discussed rolling user-owned mobile devices into your mobility plans. While letting the users pay for their own wireless access may be a boon to the company's bottom line, it can also snowball into a nightmare for administrators dealing with supporting a slew of new devices. A little advanced work and planning can help thwart the dark side of mobility: the threat of unending calls to help desk, security threats and general chaos. First and foremost, you'll need to set some ground r
Inside HP's Converged Infrastructure
Commentary  |  2/10/2010  | 
Our interview with Gary Thome, chief architect of HP's Infrastructure Software and Blades group, who talks power and cooling like you've never heard it before. Plus, why he thinks Hewlett-Packard's data-center play tops Cisco.
Unified Communications Platforms: The Big Crunch Theory
Commentary  |  2/10/2010  | 
The communications universe has exploded outward in a Big Bang that now includes billions of people creating and accessing data from mobile phone applications, internet applications and corporate documents. Our inability to efficiently share and correlate all this raw data has slowed the acceleration of human productivity. As acceleration slows, the technology will experience a Big Crunch, the collapse into unified communications platforms.
SSDs Making The Meek Powerful
Commentary  |  2/10/2010  | 
Often when we discuss Solid State Disk (SSD) there is a tendency to focus on the very high-end systems with demanding databases or thousands of simultaneous users. However, one of the benefits of SSD is the ability to enable mid-tier systems to deliver performance that matches that of high-end systems with hundreds of mechanical drives. The mid-tier is often overlooked and that could be a mistake. One of the powerful capabilities of SSD is that it can improve performance of just about any system
Wave Systems Rides The Wave Of Self-Encrypting Disk Drives
Commentary  |  2/9/2010  | 
Protecting the confidentiality of data on mobile devices is an increasingly critical issue. For example, the loss or theft of laptop computers has led to numerous breaches of data privacy laws for exposing confidential information, such as Social Security and credit card numbers. Public admission of such a data breach is not only a matter of embarrassment and direct costs, such as notifying individuals of the thefts, but may also subject the company to fines and other sanctions.
Converged Network Savings Less Than Expected
Commentary  |  2/9/2010  | 
The proponents of converged data center networks, especially those in the FCoE camp, take it as an article of faith that their new network architecture will be less expensive than separate data and storage networks. When I sat down to figure out the real cost of connecting a server to the data center network, I was surprised that my FCoE configuration was just $300/server, or 5 percent, cheaper than using separate 10Gb Ethernet and 8Gbps Fibre Channel networks.
Internet Access Options Grow
Commentary  |  2/8/2010  | 
Broadband has evolved so it means more than just a cable modem or Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connection. Now, companies are able to use optical Ethernet links to provide their employees with network access. Market research firm, DellOro Group, expects interest in broadband connections to increase, with new optical Ethernet connections being very popular.
Can You Afford 384GB of RAM? Or How Much is Too Much Memory?
Commentary  |  2/5/2010  | 
When Cisco announced its UCS last year, I was impressed by the fact that the double-width blades could hold a whopping 384GB of memory. Now it's budget time here at DeepStorage Labs, and I'm figuring how much we're going to have to shell out for the pair of Nehalem servers we're adding to the lab in next few weeks. Turns out if you try to even get close to 384GB, you'll end up paying several times as much for memory as for the rest of the server.
CommVault Delivers A Cloud-Enabled Platform
Commentary  |  2/5/2010  | 
Everybody wants to go to heaven someday, but nobody seems to want to go now. Why so? Perhaps it's mere uncertainty. If we substitute the cloud for "heaven," the same seems to be true today. That is why it is so important for vendors to create products and services that can actually get clients to the cloud today while still keeping their feet on the ground. With that in mind, CommVault's ability to effectively extend its data management platform into the cloud provides a positive illustration th
Banning iPhones Leaves Money On The Table
Commentary  |  2/5/2010  | 
Like many others, I spent a couple of hours last week scanning through the gadget websites and feverishly refreshing my browser to get all of details of Apple's latest wonder, the iPad. Despite some critical panning from the pundits, gadget-friendly consumers will no doubt stand in line for hours to buy one when it ships in couple of months. For those talented folks in IT, the iPad release day will bring with it a chorus of users asking a single question: "Can I get my work e-mail on it?" While
We Still Need Storage Hardware Vendors
Commentary  |  2/5/2010  | 
Let's face it, most storage hardware vendors are now really software vendors or at best integrators. They take their software stacks, buy storage hardware from an OEM and then integrate the two together. There are a few storage vendors that are adding additional value in custom ASICs, and some are customizing their software to take advantage of the hardware that they OEM. Most, though, are just loading their software on what is essentially an Intel server with external drive expansion capabiliti
Deduplicating Replication - Atempo
Commentary  |  2/4/2010  | 
Enterprise Backup Software manufacturer Atempo has entered the deduplication marketplace, as have a growing list of other software manufacturers. Hopefully, we can cover all or most of them in future entries. Atempo has integrated deduplication as part of its Time Navigator agent software that is installed on a server to be backed-up. Atempo deduplication is source-side, meaning not only does it reduce the amount of data stored on disk, it also reduces the amount of data transferred across the n
E-Mail Encryption Goes Mainstream
Commentary  |  2/4/2010  | 
Fess up, have you ever emailed your credit card number or Social Security number to a friend, family member, or even to a third party? I have, and yes, I was a bonehead for doing it. In the business world, you need to make sure your employees aren't doing it either. Why should you care? New state mandated data privacy regulations are changing the rules of the game when it comes to emailing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in cyberspace. Simply stated, it's bad business, and it's becomin
I Want You For My Server Survey
Commentary  |  2/3/2010  | 
In my quest to get a handle on where servers are headed in 2010, I've spent time thinking about architectural innovations from Intel and AMD. I've also been serially interviewing the server vendors themselves (see my new piece on HP). Now comes the next step--I'm pulling together a survey for InformationWeek Analytics. And I'm asking for your help.
IT Managers Have Had Enough
Commentary  |  2/2/2010  | 
We're just now beginning to sort through the data from our annual salary survey, which drew more than 20,000 respondents. You'll find a preview of responses from some 850 information security professionals. Our annual salary survey indicates that security pros aren't getting a sufficient sense that their work and expertise are valued.
NAS Commoditization
Commentary  |  2/2/2010  | 
Does basic office productivity application data like spreadsheets, word processing and presentation files belong on a purpose-built NAS? Most NAS systems are now tuned to deliver high-performance storage I/O for applications like VMware, Oracle and large processing type of environments. Most are well worth the expense if the increased I/O can increase productivity or response time for customers but often are overkill for basic office productivity data.
Is D2D2C The Next Big Thing In Backup?
Commentary  |  2/2/2010  | 
Today CommVault announced that their Simpana integrated backup and archiving software can now use public cloud providers in addition to local disk and tape as a data store. I hope that CommVault is, as they were with deduplication, leading a new wave of disk-to-disk-to-cloud (D2D2C)backup and archive solutions. While I firmly believe that there's a lot of life left in tape, especially for long retention archives with relatively low access rates, 25 years of consulting to organizations has taught
A Private Cloud Is Called IT
Commentary  |  2/2/2010  | 
The title of this blog comes from a sentence penned by Steve Duplessie in Why the Cloud will Vaporize, and it's a sentence that really speaks to me. Duplessie writes an evocative article about the cloud market, but he made a few points on the benefits of cloud services and then wrote that little nugget, which I want to expand on. Whether you call it private cloud or a data center, the automation technologies and processes that are being developed for cloud services will trickle down into your da
Deduplicating Replication - NetApp
Commentary  |  2/1/2010  | 
NetApp made headlines last year in its attempt to purchase Data Domain. While the story of that not working out has been very well documented, NetApp also had two other deduplication technologies. One leverages the ability of OnTap (the NetApp OS) to do deduplication and the other is available with their VTL solution. This entry will focus on the former.
Dedupe Everywhere Changes Economics
Commentary  |  2/1/2010  | 
With the new versions of Backup Exec and NetBackup due Monday, Symantec's finally joined CommVault, IBM, Atempo and most of their other backup software competitors by integrating data deduplication into their mainline backup software. Now that you can dedupe data your media server of your choice we have to ask the question "Where is the most cost effective place to dedupe backup data?"


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