Commentary
Content posted in April 2010
If Interop Is An Indicator, Business Is Picking Up
Commentary  |  4/30/2010  | 
After a being stuck in the press room doing briefings back to back for four days at Storage Networking World, I'm glad to be back in Vegas for the week of gambling, drinking and technology that is Interop. While the hordes of tech hungry geeks waiting for the doors to open promptly at what for those of us who indulge in those activities that should stay in Vegas is the unconscionable hour of ten a.m. were small compared to those at Comdex, or even Interop in their 1990s heydays. The show floor w
More Storage Doesn't Mean More Jobs
Commentary  |  4/29/2010  | 
Q1 earnings are in and for the most part the news is good, and in some cases very good. There were a few misses, but overall it looks like Q1 was a solid quarter. More importantly, most suppliers are giving upbeat guidance for the rest of the year and into 2011. Indications are that users are beginning to ramp up their storage buying, but there is little evidence to suggest that is going to come with increased head count. In short, the "do more with less" IT staffs are going to become the "do ev
Interop: Weaving New Fabrics
Commentary  |  4/29/2010  | 
I sat down and said, with a grin, "Infiniband is dead." Asaf Somekh VP of marketing and Christy Lynch, director of corporate communications for Voltaire, took the shot well, but my comment framed the conversation in a way that was useful. Over the last few days at Interop, the differentiator--the long term differentiator--in Ethernet switching is not going to be speeds and feeds. Network performance will always improve, sometimes in baby steps, sometimes in leaps. The differentiator is services,
Interop: Session Round-Up, 4/28
Commentary  |  4/29/2010  | 
As mentioned in my previous blog, since we can't make all of the sessions ourselves, we have some reps out there doing the legwork for us, and we have a round-up from the yesterday's sessions by Jay Sumresh Bhansali, Ashutosh Tusharbhai Bhatt, Paridhi Nadarajan and Benson Mathews Poikayil.
Virtual And Converged I/O At Interop
Commentary  |  4/29/2010  | 
Since I'm scheduled to speak about I/O virtualization here at Interop on Wed, I spent Tuesday morning tracking down new IOV and converged networking stories and products. In no small part so I could avoid looking like an idiot by describing last month's technology as cutting edge while someone from the audience shouted that a new vendor on the floor was had even better vaporware.
Interop: Dog Fooding IT
Commentary  |  4/28/2010  | 
Interop is like a box of chocolates and my chocolates are filled with nuts. I spend the better part of my day talking with vendors about their product plans and what I see happening in IT and the market. My view doesn't always jibe with what they see in the market. Whether it's Cisco who still hasn't deployed NAC too deeply, HP who is crowing about their all HP data center, or F5 who was also bitten by McAfees dat file debacle last week, It's also good to remember that these companies are themse
SSD's New Role: Operational Efficiency
Commentary  |  4/27/2010  | 
Thanks to the decreased cost of Solid State Disk (SSD) its role within the enterprise continues to evolve. As we discussed in our last entry (http://www.networkcomputing.com/backup-recovery/ssds-new-role---power-efficiency.php) this is leading SSD out of the realm of being used to solely solve the performance demands of the fringe use cases and more into mainstream. Beyond the power utilization improvements that SSD can bring there are also operational improvements to consider.
Server Den: Cisco Turning UCS Into Server Battleground
Commentary  |  4/25/2010  | 
John McCool, general manager of Cisco's Data Center group, talks about the networking powerhouse's Unified Computing System strategy as well as the increasing enterprise impact of virtualization and video.
Primary Storage Data Reduction Heats Up
Commentary  |  4/23/2010  | 
Things have been heating up in the primary storage data reduction market as a management change at Storwize has made them a lot more aggressive, leading to a whole new round of tweets, white papers and the like arguing the merits of fast LZW type compression vs. the hot and sexy technology of data deduplication. While they've been fighting with Ocarina, EMC and NetApp for the enterprise Nexenta, GreenBytes and HiFn have brought primary storage deduplication to the masses.
Primary Deduplication Not Good For Backup
Commentary  |  4/23/2010  | 
As an industry, we have fallen into the trap of thinking of data deduplication as a single technology. When NetApp and EMC were in their bidding war for Datadomain, some analysts were wondering why EMC, which had deduplication technology in Avamar, would want Datadomain's technology. Now that data deduplication is gaining traction in the primary storage market, I thought I would point out that a deduplication system designed for primary data may not be as effective with back-up data.
Tandberg Data: AccuGuard Server
Commentary  |  4/23/2010  | 
We continue our look at the source-side dedupe market with Tandberg Data's AccuGuard Server software, a solution designed specifically for the SMB market place. The Tandberg solution bundles deduplication software with their NAS appliances to provide a turnkey backup solution for that market.
IBM Adds Punch To LTO 5 Tape
Commentary  |  4/23/2010  | 
Along with other vendors, IBM is announcing the latest generation in Linear Tape-Open (LTO) tape technology--Ultrium 5 tape drives. This new generation is attractive to IT organizations that either use or may be planning to use LTO tape technology in terms of feeds and speeds that follow the typical high-technology, evolutionary path of providing "better, faster, cheaper" capabilities. But IBM is also offering two new differentiating capabilities that add extra punch to its announcement.
Practical Analysis: Unified Communications' Day Has Arrived
Commentary  |  4/22/2010  | 
It seems that all those studies on collaboration along with a couple of years of Web 2.0 messaging have had their effect on us.
SSD's New Role - Power Efficiency
Commentary  |  4/22/2010  | 
I've seen several research reports lately that indicate storage spending is going to increase for the rest of 2010. While budgets are loosening, I don't think we are going to see a return to the "ready, fire, aim" strategy of storage purchasing. As I discussed in a recent blog on Information Week, the investment is going to be in new systems that use capacity more effectively. Users are repeatedly telling me they are looking for solutions that take up less space, use less power and simply cost l
Interop Data Center Chair Jim Metzler On Networking
Commentary  |  4/22/2010  | 
We caught up with Jim Metzler who is the track chair of both the Networking track chair at Interop. He is also track chair for Application Delivery 2.0, as well. A lot is changing in Ethernet beyond "just faster," such as new standards for multi-pathing Ethernet and doing away with spanning tree, lossless Ethernet and better flow control. All of these feature will impact how you design networks.
Server Virtualization 3.0 And Load Balancing
Commentary  |  4/21/2010  | 
If you don't have hands-on experience, you might find it difficult to sort out what infrastructure will most effect your server virtualization deployment because even printer ink suppliers are claiming to make your virtual environment work better. But there are some products that, with tighter integration, can make a big difference. Best-in-class load balancing systems from Cisco, Coyote Point and F5 are great examples.
Shouldn't Auto-Tiering Also Auto-Optimize?
Commentary  |  4/20/2010  | 
Automated tiering, the ability to move data between different types of storage within an array, is quickly becoming a popular feature of advanced storage systems. While there is a focus on how these systems will lower costs and increase performance, there is one feature that is missing: the ability to auto-optimize.
Interop Data Center Chair Jim Metzler On Application Delivery
Commentary  |  4/20/2010  | 
We caught up with Jim Metzler to discuss his plans for the Interop Application Delivery 2.0 track. Application delivery has always been important, but new demands are being made on IT to delivery applications to user where ever they are on what ever device they are using. Users are getting spoiled by ubiquitous bandwidth and more powerful computing devices like netbooks and PDA's. Getting the app to the user efficiently and securely is a challenge. Where that application resides such as a data c
Mobile Applications Really Do Matter, Especially On The iPad
Commentary  |  4/19/2010  | 
My review of Apple's iPad, recently posted online, quickly met with some criticisms. The comments either deemed it flawed, pointing out that the tablet was not meant to be a laptop replacement, or basically implied that I really didn't understand the use cases for the device. And of course, there was the comment that I was a dinosaur, stuck in 1990's thinking about mobility.
A Cautionary Tale
Commentary  |  4/19/2010  | 
As Robert burns famously wrote "The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray." As we moved the lab from SUNY to our new digs in beautiful New Jersey a series of failures convinced me that he was right, and that Edsel Murphy PhD had come to visit. First, we discovered that the power supply in one of our key VMware hosts, a Dell PowerEdge 2950, didn't survive the trip. Since the lab isn't a production environment, we didn't equip it with redundant power supplies, which turned out to be a bigg
SNW Summary
Commentary  |  4/15/2010  | 
What were the key themes of the Spring 2010 Storage Networking World? Well there are two sides of SNW. There is my side, where I spend all day in briefings with suppliers of the technology, and there is the user side where other individuals spend their time in sessions and hands on labs.
SMBs Loosening Purse Strings
Commentary  |  4/14/2010  | 
Downtrodden would be an apt way to describe small and medium businesses during the recent economic downturn. However, hope is emerging: a Spiceworks survey found that these companies plan to increase their IT spending by nine percent this year, compared to a measly one percent jump in 2009.
SNW And Thoughts On Deduplication
Commentary  |  4/13/2010  | 
As predicted last week one of the first topics of discussion at Storage Networking World was deduplication. Our first briefing was with Sepaton, who had a panel on the topic. As part of my conversation with Sepaton (for hourly updates on our briefings at the show please go to our blog), we had a broader discussion about the future of deduplication as part of the backup process.
Fumble Your MPLS Handoff: Shaping And Policing
Commentary  |  4/13/2010  | 
Getting maximum performance from an MPLS network that is managed by the carrier and delivered via an Ethernet hand-off can be a challenge for your network if you don't take some additional steps to utilize it effectively. We see performance issues in these topologies on a regular basis. Think about this: how do you know if you are dropping traffic or your traffic is being slowed down considerably in some virtually bottomless queue across the MPLS cloud? Hopefully, your only feedback mechanism is
Storwize Focuses On Optimization Without Compromise
Commentary  |  4/12/2010  | 
As the embers of the last decade slowly faded away, Storwize - a Massachusetts-based, storage optimization company - quietly planned for the start of a new decade with new executives and a plan to leverage the leadership of its CEO, Ed Walsh. At the start of 2010, I noticed the press release stating that storage analyst and EMC-veteran Steve Kenniston had joined the company as vice president of Technology Strategy. I know Steve from past work experience with EMC and found him to be a great guy a
Iron Mountain Sets Its Sights High
Commentary  |  4/12/2010  | 
When we hear the term "information technology" (IT), most of us think of digitally generated information, yet physical information, such as paper documents and printed photographs, still play a large role in our lives. Iron Mountain is a unique IT vendor in that its spans both the physical and digital information worlds, as well as the hybrid territory that links the two. That is significantly different from traditional hardware, software, and services vendors, so it should come as no surprise t
RDX Automation, A New Twist On The VTL
Commentary  |  4/12/2010  | 
This week BDT announced plans to build robotic libraries for ProStor's RDX removable disk cartridges. Assuming it presents a VTL interface to applications, it would be an interesting twist, a real library moving disk-cartridge virtual tapes around. While this is intriguing, as an industry we have to shift from treating disk like tape to leveraging the advantages of disk for backup and archive applications. Either way, it will make for cool YouTube videos.
Clearing Up Cloud Confusion
Commentary  |  4/9/2010  | 
One of the complaints about cloud storage is that it is not very neatly defined. The reality is that I don't think it ever will be. There are too many use cases and let's face it, the term "cloud" is being used for everything, not only on the storage side but also on the compute side. As we discussed in our article "What is Cloud Storage" there are many sides to the term. Ideally, we should have reserved the term for providers of storage that you access through the public Internet, for which you
iSCSI Watch: EMC and Emulex Do 10Gb
Commentary  |  4/9/2010  | 
On April 8, Emulex announced that its OneConnect Universal Converged Network Adapters for 10Gb iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) are now available through EMC Select for use across the Connectrix, CLARiiON, Celerra and Symmetrix product lines. What stood out to me was that this marks the first 10Gb iSCSI connectivity solution available through EMC Select. Emulex hit three birds with one stone by tapping into the fast growing markets for iSCSI storage and 10Gb Ethernet (GbE), and by se
Interop Data Center Chair Doug Washburn On Data Center Strategy
Commentary  |  4/9/2010  | 
It's no secret that the recession has had an impact on IT, but business demands march on. The longer IT projects are put on hold, the increase in that pent-up demand is going to force companies to move plans forward anyway, but with limited funds, says Doug Washburn, an analyst at Forrester Research and the chair of Interop's Data Center conference track. Whether you are consolidating data centers, building a private cloud, interested in cost savings and green IT or simply keeping current on new
Making The Case For Mission Critical WLAN
Commentary  |  4/8/2010  | 
Historically, wireless LAN networks have creeped into enterprises in one of two ways, either as part of a broader solution, such as warehouse management, or as point products, providing convenient access for conference rooms and the like. Going forward, however, if your organization has not already moved to pervasive, mission critical WLANs throughout your locations, now is the time to make wireless a focus in your infrastructure planning.
VMware Workstation Out; Sun's VirtualBox In
Commentary  |  4/7/2010  | 
My on-going process to investigate a good, stable personal virtualization strategy that will let me consolidate all the computers I use on a single hardware platform has taken me to VirtualBox. Taking a queue from my Twitter clan (four votes for VirtualBox, one for Ubuntu and KVM, and no votes for VMware Server), I installed VirtualBox and I am running my VMs in there. I had a few minor bumps along the road, but spent all of five minutes reading the documentation. At first blush, I am hopeful.
Source-Side Deduplication: Symantec
Commentary  |  4/7/2010  | 
With the combination of NetBackup and Backup Exec, Symantec has a market dominating 43 percent share. Many of the target-side appliance systems consider support of Symantec's OpenStorage (OST) an important capability as we discussed in our series on target-side deduplication. Symantec's latest move is to integrate deduplication capabilities into NetBackup and Backup Exec.
The Cloud Won't Be Like ILM
Commentary  |  4/6/2010  | 
The best thing about comments to blogs is that sometimes they require a response that is so long it becomes a blog itself, or in the case of DanB's latest response to my SNW Blog, it can become two or even three. It was a great comment and underscores some of the mistakes that we in the analyst/media make when it comes to a subject like cloud storage. Dan's first point and the focus of this entry was that clouds sounded like the next ILM (Information Life Cycle Management). By that I take it tha
LSI: The Building Block Supplier For Storage And Networking
Commentary  |  4/6/2010  | 
What large multi-product IT vendors do is hard to describe in a few words, and LSI is no exception. Saying that LSI is a storage and networking solutions company is a good start. Saying that LSI is an IT infrastructure component building block supplier helps define it a bit further. LSI views itself as delivering the foundation for innovation in IT infrastructure, and although IT organizations may not know it, they probably could be called (with apologies to Intel) "LSI Inside," embedded as part
CORAID - A Disruptive Technology In The World Of Storage
Commentary  |  4/5/2010  | 
On March 23rd, CORAID - a California-based storage provider - announced availability of their new EtherDrive SRX Series storage arrays and extended family of Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) for high-speed Ethernet SAN connectivity for Windows, Solaris and Linux environments. With the announcement, CORAID delivers compelling price/performance characteristics that most certainly make its technology a disruptive entry in the storage market and an attractive offering for users who need connectivity and spe
Dedupe Ratios Do Matter
Commentary  |  4/5/2010  | 
A recent blog post by CommVault's Dipesh Patel has reopened the argument over the value of higher deduplication ratio. He, like others that claims that dedupe ratios don't matter, and points out that a dedupe ratio of 10:1 reduces the size of your data by 90 percent, reaching the zone of diminishing returns since a 20:1 dedupe ratio will only get you another 5 percent reduction. To me that argument sounds an awful lot like Lucy Ricardo explaining how she saved a lot of money on the new living ro
You Still Have Time To Catch Up With 10GbE
Commentary  |  4/1/2010  | 
We're all hurtling toward the next generation network in the next few years, and this is reflected in vendor marketing. But IT lives in the moment. Before we start looking to the future, let's spend a little time reviewing where we are. I took a quick sample of 109 analytics engagements over the past four months and decided to find out where those organizations are on this path to the future. Specifically, I wanted to see if the drive to 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) is as pervasive as it would seem


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