Author
 David Hill

Profile of David Hill

Network Computing Blogger
Blog Posts: 153
David Hill is principal of Mesabi Group LLC, which focuses on helping organizations make complex IT infrastructure decisions simpler and easier to understand. He is the author of the book "Data Protection: Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance."
Articles by David Hill

Lessons Learned from SNW 2013

4/30/2013
I picked up on two important trends at SNW 2013, including the role that IT can play as an internal broker for public cloud services, and the reasons enterprises are moving cautiously on emerging technology.

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May the Power Be With You

4/17/2013
Companies such as Power Assure are helping data center operators uncover hidden capacity by accurately measuring energy consumption and finding ways to run systems more efficiently.

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Encrypting Backups Requires Key Planning

4/2/2013
Some enterprises are adopting an "encrypt everything" policy to address the confidentiality and security of data, including on backups. A new backup product from Sepaton separates encryption from key management.

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IBM Pulse 2013: Lessons Learned

3/27/2013
Three compelling themes emerged from IBM’s annual gathering: the continued diffusion of the data center, the need for open cloud standards and the rise of data-driven IT intelligence.

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Symantec 4.0: A New Strategy

3/13/2013
Symantec has announced a new initiative, Symantec 4.0, that will revise both its product and corporate strategies. We'll look at what it means for the company and its customers.

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Gamification Goes To College

2/7/2013
EdX, the online learning platform, uses gamification to facilitate learning. Gamification may transform how this emerging market attracts and motivates students, and could have lessons for IT as well.

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EMC's Storage Strategy

12/27/2012
The rise of non-structured data and the demand for flash-based storage have rattled the storage market. I’ll look at how EMC has responded to these trends.

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A Holiday Wish: Smart Books

12/19/2012
We've only scratched the potential of e-books when it comes to reader engagement. Here's a wish list for developers and publishers on how to expand the capabilities of e-books to improve learning.

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The Rise of Data-Driven Intelligence

12/5/2012
An emerging concept called data-driven intelligence is a model for a new perspective on gathering insight from a vast pool of data. I’ll contrast data-driven intelligence with more familiar application-driven intelligence models.

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DataCore's Storage Hypervisor: An Overview

11/6/2012
DataCore's SANsymphony-V software provides a host of storage features, including auto-tiering, replication, and the ability to remove physical disks without disruption, that can be run on a variety of storage hardware.

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Shall We Play a Game?

10/9/2012
Gamification is moving from the consumer Web into the enterprise as employers seek to influence employee behavior. Startups such as Badgeville are ready to play.

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The Role of Storage in IBM’s New PureSystems

4/26/2012
In the PureSystems launch, we saw the opening salvo in IBM’s use of expert integrated systems to reduce IT complexity and reduce costs. PureSystems strengthens an already strong bond between the company’s system "horse," which does the CPU pulling, and the storage "carriage," which carries the information payload.

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Virsto’s Storage Hypervisor Enables Storage to Play Nicely with Server Virtualization

4/5/2012
On the whole, server virtualization has been a blessing due to physical machine to logical machine consolidation that leads to better system and CPU utilization and attendant improved IT cost economics. But servers are only part of broader interlocked “systems” of hardware components (including networks and storage) and software (including operating systems and applications) that must work in harmony together. And any change in one component (in this case, servers) may cause complica

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WWPass: Only The Just May Pass the Authentication Test

3/22/2012
Security has many facets, but the one that is most familiar is the username/password authentication process that allows users to login to a protected application or Website. For some, that may simply seem to be an inconvenience, but the authentication process helps reduce possible security exposures.

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IBM Pulse 2012: A New Storage Hypervisor

3/15/2012
IBM is promulgating a storage management concept that it calls a “storage hypervisor” though the final product name has not been determined. The company claims the technology will offer benefits – such as better storage utilization – leading to better storage cost economics, and data mobility – leading to increased flexibility, such as non-disruptive storage refreshes – and parallels the acceptance of server hypervisors and virtualization. But there are also b

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Kaminario’s K2 Climbs the SSD Storage Performance Mountain

3/9/2012
One of the most exciting development areas for the ICT (information and communications technology) industry is in the attempt to address the I/O gap challenge, whereby servers are often frustrated in their attempts to read and write data as fast as they would like from traditional storage. Various approaches using solid-state devices (SSDs) are targeting the problem. Innumerable smaller companies have been attempting to address the I/O gap, and more recently large IT vendors--notably, EMC with i

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Dell Adds AppAssure to Its Storage Portfolio

3/4/2012
Dell recently announced the acquisition of AppAssure, which it describes as a next-generation data protection solution because it deals not only with physical IT assets, but also with virtual and cloud environments. Dell plans to integrate the AppAssure software product with its Fluid Data architecture. AppAssure is the first acquisition that Dell has made since the creation of its new Software Group and will be part of its enterprise storage and software portfolio. This acquisition is another s

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PerspecSys: Removing a Key Security Barrier to Public Cloud Adoption

2/23/2012
Several months ago, an IT trade publication (which will remain nameless) published an article whose title stated that public cloud security remains "mission impossible." While the article was well-reasoned and backed off from the title's hyperbolic assertion, the damage had already been done. Actually, the title should have been something more like, "Public cloud security is mission possible, but proceed cautiously."

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EMC VFCache: Project Lightning Strikes

2/13/2012
EMC's recent announcement of the culmination of the code-named Project Lightning resulted in the new VFCache solution, a server-based flash cache, which may be used as a complement or alternative to flash storage that appears as if it were a disk drive. This lightning strikes twice, though not in the same spot. The first is dramatically improved I/O performance for customers and the second is the challenge that VFCache brings to competitors trying to distinguish their own flash storage solutions

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dinCloud: Making a Big Impact in the Cloud

2/3/2012
Have you reached the saturation point yet on the cloud? The endless cacophony of cloud messages seems to have transformed into white noise, where trying to distinguish and differentiate among competitive cloud offerings can leave one in either a state of decision-making paralysis or trusting that familiar vendors know what they're talking about without, perhaps, the full measure of due diligence that is appropriate. Enter dinCloud, which plans to break through the droning blather and show how it

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Scale Computing: New Twists To Scale-Out Storage For The Mid-Market

1/26/2012
Startup Scale Computing delivers scale-out, unified storage for the mid-market, meaning users can access SAN/NAS resources from the same, scalable pool of disk storage. Scale Computing is by no means alone in doing this, but the company goes beyond just delivering storage in a box to delivering a data center in a storage box. And that is very interesting.

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Dell Moves Ahead Fluidly in Storage

1/20/2012
The IT industry is always adapting to new trends, from client-server and the PC revolution of the '80s and '90s to cloud computing and big data today. These trends inspire successful new vendor entrants, but they can also be problematic for established IT vendors. Over time, some leaders don't adapt and die (see Digital Equipment Corporation), while others swoon and survive in a reduced state by being acquired by larger saviors (see Sun Microsystems).

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GridIron Systems: Mining Big Data 'Gold' in a Flash

1/12/2012
Trends in the IT industry sometimes resemble gold rushes as vendors pan for revenue "nuggets." The use of solid state devices (SSDs)--most notably, flash memory--is the central point of one of these, but just as with the real 19th century gold rushes in California and Alaska, not all prospectors (that is, vendors) will be successful. Where the claims are staked can make all the difference in the world, and GridIron Systems is staking one with a focus on accelerating big data analyses.

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iWave Raises The Flag For Storage Automation

12/27/2011
One of the fascinating things about the IT industry is its role as an ongoing incubator of innovation that impacts the lives of individuals, organizations and society. Now, if Raymond Kurzweil is to be believed, that trend will continue with no foreseeable end in sight. One hotbed of IT innovation is automation, particularly storage automation. And iWave plans to be a trend setter in storage automation.

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IBM's STG Is On Track With Smarter Computing

12/20/2011
IBM's Systems & Technology Group (STG) represents, among other things, the hardware heritage of IBM, such as the mainframe, open systems servers and storage. But STG is deeply aligned with the company's software and services capabilities. IBM's annual STG analyst meeting is designed to bring industry (not financial) analysts up to speed on the group's strategy and direction.

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Crossroads' StrongBox: Securing the Future of Data Archiving

12/9/2011
If you were asked which storage product--hard disk drives (HDDs) or tape--would decline precipitously in market share during the next five to 10 years, you would probably be one of the vast majority of people who said tape. You would also be wrong. Winning storage technologies have to excel on at least one dimension, either performance or capacity, and tape excels on capacity.

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IBM's Broad, Deep Data Protection And Retention Portfolio Strategy

12/2/2011
That there is a data explosion is well-known. However, it is not simply an increase in volume for existing data and applications; it also involves new types of data for new applications. The resulting mix does not support all the same data protection and retention requirements businesses are used to, so a comprehensive portfolio of data protection and retention products and services is necessary to cover all requirements. IBM is one vendor that offers such a comprehensive portfolio.

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NexGen: The Next David to Battle Midrange SAN Goliaths

11/29/2011
Small vendors, especially startups, often tend to follow baseball great Willie Keeler's advice of "hit 'em where they ain't" by targeting a market niche that has potential, but where larger vendors either don't play or have a very small footprint. NexGen, with its NexGen n5 Storage System, does just that but with a more direct twist. And that makes it very interesting.

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EMC's Unified Storage Division Is Focusing on Customer Requirements

11/17/2011
Storage plays a vital role in such glamorous and revolutionary IT trends as virtualization, cloud and big data. While these are fun to watch and comment on, one should not forget the importance of product evolution. Day by day, customer requirements change. Storage products have to evolve to meet these specific needs, as well as be able to deal with the larger trends. EMC's Unified Storage Division illustrates how one vendor is keeping its eye on the customer requirements ball while also partici

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Red Lambda: Security Revolution Or Just Evolution?

11/13/2011
Security statistics are depressing. The bad guys seem to be overwhelming the good guys, even when the good guys are well-known security vendors. So when an emerging company, such as Red Lambda, claims to have software that significantly improves the odds for the good guys, you need to pay close attention.

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IBM's IOD 2011: A Cornucopia of Solutions

11/4/2011
IBM titled its Information on Demand (IOD) 2011 conference in Las Vegas "The Premier Forum for Information and Analytics." IOD featured innovation and a cornucopia of products and services that act a litmus test and checkpoint as to where the IT industry is and where it is going.

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IBM Continues To Drive Storage Efficiency

10/17/2011
In its fall storage announcement, IBM continued to emphasize the efficiency of its storage products. Efficiency is always a good thing, as it has been defined by the late revered management guru Peter Drucker as "doing things right," and everybody wants to do things right. But saying that you want to do things right is easier than doing it. Continual improvement is the prime ingredient, and that is well-demonstrated in the latest IBM storage announcements.

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How The BlueArc Acquisition Tightens HDS' Storage Strategy

10/3/2011
On the one hand, the recent acquisition by HDS of BlueArc simply affirmed the symbiotic relationship that the two companies have. But in another sense, it represents tighter integration, such as for product development plans and resources allocated to their implementation, as a key piece of HDS' greater storage strategy. And understanding that strategy will hopefully shed some light on where the storage industry is going as a whole.

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IBM Storage Systems Research Envisions the Future

9/14/2011
What is the future of storage and storage management? While all crystal balls are partly cloudy at best, one of the best bets would seem to be in IBM’s vision. Whether particular technologies make the grade or not--and, if so, when--is uncertain. However, the company’s general direction seems clear, and there are many important and exciting changes ahead. Let’s take a look at some of the developments that IBM Storage Systems Research is working on to bring about the future of s

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VMware: Driving IT Innovation and Disruption

9/9/2011
The big picture that VMware continues to emphasize is that a trio of disruptive trends is simultaneously transforming IT: infrastructure renewal, applications development and end user computing. Understanding these trends is necessary not only to comprehend what new products and services can do today, but also to get a better perspective of what is likely to happen in the future.

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Astute Networks - Attacking Server Virtualization I/O Bottlenecks

8/26/2011
For cash-strapped IT organizations, server virtualization has many compelling benefits, such as better use of IT assets and energy savings. But at some point, as the number of physical servers drops and the percentage of virtualized workloads and applications rises,application service-level performance suddenly goes to hell in a hand basket. I/O bottlenecks are the problem here, and Astute Networks has a solution in the form of a flash-memory-based appliance.

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Horizon DataSys' Rollback Rx Is A Prescription for Personal Logical Data Protection

8/16/2011
There is a critical need to provide data protection for personal computing devices--notably, desktops and laptops. That protection has tended to be in the form of backup, either locally or over the Internet. While that is useful, there is also a need for safe recovery from logical data protection problems, such as restoring crashed systems to a working state. Rollback Rx, Horizon DataSys’ snapshot software product, is designed to provide that level of data protection.

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Oracle Places Its Storage Strategy Bets

7/13/2011
Key Oracle executives—President Mark Hurd, Executive VP of Systems John Fowler and Senior VP of Storage Phil Bullinger—unveiled the company’s storage strategy a day after the official announcement of Oracle’s acquisition of Pillar Data Systems. Although that deal is noteworthy, it should not distract from Oracle leveraging its traditional product strengths to strengthen its overall storage position.

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Scality: Climbing The Cloud Storage Heights

6/23/2011
The traditional storage business models of NAS and SAN have been worthwhile for many enterprises, but the question remains: Is NAS or SAN best for cloud computing environments? Scality, a storage vendor, asserts that, in many cases, the answer is no. Scality's RING "organic storage software" is, according to the company, the first object-based storage platform to provide the levels of performance necessary for robust Web-based applications.

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IBM's Century Of Achievement And The Next 100 Years

6/16/2011
IBM is proudly celebrating its 100th year of existence, and with good reason. Set aside any factional differences or carping about the warts that any organization has over its lifetime, and take into account the bigger picture. In that larger perspective, all of us owe IBM a debt of gratitude, not only for what it has done for us individually, but for what it is likely to do for us even if we do not regard ourselves as IBM customers.

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NetApp Plans to Continue Scaling To New Heights

6/9/2011
At its recent meeting for industry analysts, NetApp not only trumpeted its most recent successes in the market and demonstrated its current wares, but executives also revealed the vision and strategy that they believe will allow the company to continue on its yellow-brick road of growth.

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HP: Not All Quiet On The Western Storage Front

6/6/2011
Do not confuse being quiet with being inactive. With a few exceptions, HP has been generally quiet to industry analysts on what it is doing and where it is headed, since the CEO transition from Mark Hurd to Leo Apotheker occurred last year. But at least in the storage arena, the company is becoming more public as indicated by a recent teleconference for analysts on its HP StoreOnce deduplication software.

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EMC World 2011 Stresses Both The Cloud And Big Data

5/25/2011
IT trade shows or vendor events act as a barometer of the IT industry in two ways. The first is to measure the current state of the health of the industry, and the second is to point out the trends that will affect the future of the industry. Based upon the recently concluded EMC World 2011 in Las Vegas, the IT community is alive and well today and the future is very bright, but with a number of challenges. Hey, IT wouldn’t be worth living if there weren’t ongoing challenges.

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IBM's Spring Storage Announcements

5/18/2011
IBM has just made its spring storage-related announcements and, since the company has a very broad and functionally-rich storage portfolio, the enhancements, upgrades, and new products cover a lot of ground. And, unlike Paris spring fashion shows, which are about style, business announcements are about substance, as customers care much more about functionality than they do aesthetics.

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Tape Summit Predicts Tape Renaissance

4/25/2011
Summing up the recent Tape Summit in Nevada, the basic message was that tape is not only about to see a resurgence but rather a renaissance. This would seem to be counter-intuitive to many, but the claim has merit. Let's explore that and see why, since IT will be the major benefactor if the claim can be proven.

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IBM Pulse2011 Conference: Helping Enterprises Get Smarter

3/23/2011
Yogi Berra is quoted as saying, "This is like deja vu all over again," and that is what last week's IBM Pulse2011 conference in Las Vegas felt like. The event had the same title, "The Premier Service Management Event," and the subtitle, "Optimizing the World's Infrastructure," as last year's conference. This year's conference also had essentially the same message, with some exceptions, such as an emphasis on Smarter Computing. But that is not a bad thing. As was noted many times during Pulse2011

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FTI Technology: Running Rings Around e-Discovery

3/17/2011
That information is an enterprise asset is well-known. That it may unfortunately be a liability is also true, even though we would like to have that concern go away. Enterprises must know how to deal with the liability side of their information when civil litigation arises. As a result, the e-discovery business has risen among IT vendors that hope to help enterprises manage their litigation/liability issues. FTI Technology, with its Ringtail software, is at the forefront of improving the product

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IBM's Watson: 'Think' Of The Implications

3/1/2011
"Think" has been a watchword of IBM for a very long time. Until recently, that simple word applied only to IBM employees and the customers that would embrace the principles behind it. With the success of IBM's natural language computer system Watson in last week's "Jeopardy!" matches, "think" can now be applied to one of its computer systems, as well. However, it's the future of Watson that we would now take into account.

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ZL Technologies: A Unified Approach To Active Archiving

2/25/2011
Even though the "cloud" occupies much of the dialogue about transformative processes in IT, the place of archiving in that transformation is still poorly understood by many IT organizations and needs to attract more attention. Therefore, we should welcome any light that can be shed on the subject, and ZL Technologies' unified archiving approach is particularly luminous. Let's examine what the company is doing, but first, we should discuss the need for active archiving in general.

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IBM's Watson: A Watershed Event For Information Technology--And For Society

2/17/2011
On the surface, Watson, IBM's "Jeopardy"-playing computer system, is impressive in its ability to answer complex, ambiguous questions expressed in natural language. In fact, Watson will likely be a centerpiece for IBM's centennial celebration in June. But Watson is more than just an impressive computing system. In fact, in the future, after Watson's technology is used and deployed in multiple ways, we expect this week's Jeopardy matches will be seen as a historic event in information technology

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EMC Sees Big Opportunity In Big Data

2/14/2011
According to an EMC-sponsored IDC report, the amount of data amassed by consumers and businesses is expected to increase by 44 times in this decade. A lot of that information will be what many, including EMC, call big data. Obviously, big data requires storage and other products and services that the company provides, so it should come as no surprise that, in its recent blizzard of announcements, EMC targeted big data as one of its key markets. Let's try to understand big data and what it means,

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Code 42: Who Are You?

2/4/2011
Although Code 42 Software provides consumer-based backup software for desktops and laptops, its focus from a money-making perspective is providing that same capability to organizations with a software/hardware appliance or services. What is intriguing is that Code 42 is a self-proclaimed "most expensive" solution, yet continues to grow rapidly. How can that be?

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EMC Takes The Offensive In The Storage Wars

1/25/2011
With its January blizzard of announcements, EMC has launched an across-the-board offensive. By doing so, the company is broadening its horizons as a wide spectrum information infrastructure company. That does not mean it has neglected its storage roots--far from it. Announcements at both the enterprise-class and midrange storage system levels have opened new fronts for EMC to contend against competitors.

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CA Technologies Steps Up Its Focus on Security

1/20/2011
CA Technologies has long had a strong presence in security; its CA ACF2 and CA Top Secret solutions for the mainframe world (z/OS) immediately come to mind. However, the company is making a notably strong push in security with a vision of Content Aware Identity and Access Management (IAM), as well as a focus on securing virtualized environments. Of course, CA Technologies is not unique among its competitors in evolving the security market, but what CA Technologies is really doing is illustrative

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IBM Systems And Tecnology Group Growth Strategies

12/8/2010
At its recent industry analyst event in Rye Brook, N.Y., IBM's Systems and Technology Group (STG) unveiled its five-year growth strategies for 2011 through 2015. As the guardian of the hardware and software that exploits that hardware to maximum benefit, STG is one of the recognized foundations of IBM, with a wide range of servers (including x86, Unix and mainframe systems) and storage products, as well as the IBM Research labs that support those efforts. Understanding what IBM STG is doing is i

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NetApp's Practical Path To A Future Data Center Infrastructure

11/24/2010
Although storage announcements occur all year long, fall appears to be a good time for vendors to mount storage "fashion shows" in order to highlight new solutions and initiatives, and NetApp is no exception to that trend. The company's recent announcement of new products and capabilities gives it a lot of good talking points to share with IT organizations planning for 2011 IT purchases.

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IBM Pushes The Migration Of Oracle To DB2

11/15/2010
IBM's recently concluded Information on Demand 2010 event in Las Vegas covered a tremendous amount of ground on numerous topics. One of the most intriguing was the dedicated push that IBM is making to have Oracle database customers migrate to its own DB2 solutions. Given that migration from one database to another has been described by many analysts as "heart surgery," how can IBM possibly expect customers to willingly embrace so difficult and potentially risky a procedure? In the immortal words

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CommVault's Simpana 9: Making Information Governance Actionable

11/11/2010
IT organizations are becoming more and more aware of the need for information governance but if their concerns only result in collaborative planning efforts there is no mechanism to actually put the plans into execution. However, there are solutions designed to help overcome this hurdle. The information management side of CommVault's Simpana 9 turns the planning exercise into actions that can achieve measurable results in such areas as eDiscovery and compliance.

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Iron Mountain's Underground -- Past, Present, and Future

11/9/2010
If your enterprise (either private or public) really needs to make sure that physical documents, objects and electronic information are safely preserved and protected economically for as long as you wanted (even thousands of years), where would you put it? You may know of a better place, but my choice would be the Underground, Iron Mountain's facility in western Pennsylvania.

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IBM's DS8800: Latest Flagship Enterprise-class Disk System DS8800

10/29/2010
The last blog covered the new Storwize V7000 midrange storage system. This blog covers the enterprise-class disk system announcement that IBM made at its recent New York City storage announcements, the DS8800. The new system introduced at the New York City event represents the 4th generation in IBM's DS8000 enterprise disk platform which began in 2004. Now while their sheer size makes disk enterprise disk systems appear visually and viscerally as hardware devices, they are actually tightly integ

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Greenplum: EMC's Latest Plum?

10/25/2010
In late July, EMC announced the acquisition of Greenplum, the company's entry into the data warehousing and analytics market. Greenplum uses a massively parallel processing (MPP) architecture and Scatter/Gather Streaming technologies to help computing keep up with ever larger data flows.

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Storwize V7000 IBM's Brand New Midrange Storage Array

10/20/2010
IBM recently held a fall storage event for press and analysts at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Although a number of updates were discussed, the focus of the event was around the two biggest announcements: the introduction of a new midrange storage product, the IBM Storwize V7000, and the latest model in IBM's enterprise-class disk storage systems, the DS8800. This blog will cover the Storwize V7000.

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Digital Reef Offers Virtual Governance Warehouse For E-Discovery

10/7/2010
Change has always been a constant for IT organizations. Information management, which relates to content and decision-making relationships for information throughout its life is and will be a major area of change because enterprises need to know what and where their data is at a very fine level of granularity, such as the contents of a particular e-mail and how that document relates to other e-mails. The still-exploding requirements for eDiscovery have been a primary driver in this change. And t

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Continuity Software Sets The Bar High For Disaster Recovery Testing

9/23/2010
After a major IT operational problem or even a disaster, getting applications working again with the data they need is vital to any enterprise (public, private or government). Yet how many enterprises could honestly raise their right hands in response to the question: Are you very confident in your business continuity plan? Those enterprises that use Continuity Software's RecoverGuard solution (and maybe a few other enterprise solutions) could honestly answer in the affirmative.

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