SNW: Leftover Tidbits

Storage vendors don't let wet weather rain on their SNW product parade

April 8, 2006

7 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Unseasonably cool and wet weather in San Diego for Storage Networking World this week left little time for the beach and golf, and lots of time for talk.

Here are some of the best things we heard:

Sun Storage Update: Suns ship date for the Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) Open -- first talked about by StorageTek in late 2004 -- has slipped again, with no new target in sight.

“We’re still committed to it, but it’s being completely re-thought,” Sun chief marketing officer James Whitemore says of the missing virtual tape library (VTL) product.

StorageTek announced the product in October 2004, setting a delivery date for 2005. (See StorageTek Flexes Disk.) The ship date got pushed again after Sun acquired StorageTek last year, and last November Sun storage boss Mark Canepa said the product would be ready early this year with volume shipments by the end of 2006. (See Sun Sets on StorageTek and StorageTek Users Voice Support Fears.)But Whitemore says VSM Open will not be part of Sun’s May product launch, and its launch date is “TBD.”

StorageTek began shipping VSM for mainframes in 1998, but failed to master the technology for open systems, while a host of others has pushed into that space. It does offer an open VTL product based on an OEM deal with FalconStor but has been looking to replace that with an internally developed system. Whitemore says the VSM open and mainframe development teams are now under the same group, unlike at StorageTek.

StorageTek’s plans called for VSM Open to run on its FlexLine 600 disk systems, but that product’s future is in question, as Sun plans an overhaul of its midrange systems.

On the software front, Sun is differentiating its SRM applications. The AppIQ software that Sun sells through an OEM deal with Hewlett-Packard has been renamed Operations Manager and will handle traditional resource management. The Global Storage Manager (GSM) that StorageTek gained through an acquisition of Storability has been rebranded Business Analytics and will provide backup reports and other business metrics.

Symantec Readies Backup for PureDisk: As Byte and Switch previously reported, Symantec launched its NetBackup PureDisk backup software for remote applications at SNW. (See Symantec Dips Into De-Dupe.) Although PureDisk is missing features smaller competitors Asigra and Avamar already have, Symantec plans an aggressive roadmap to fill in the gaps. And it beats other large backup vendors like EMC, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM into the data de-duplication space.Symantec calls it PureDisk 6 to align with NetBackup's current version, but PureDisk is a first-generation product and a work in progress. Its roadmap calls for adding application support and tighter integration with Symantec's NetBackup enterprise backup platform over the next year.

"This gets us in the game," says Kris Hagerman, senior VP of Symantec’s data center management group.

The first release of PureDisk is designed primarily for servers at remote sites, although the software also runs on PCs and laptops. It supports files only and is limited to 32-bit Windows and Linux operating systems.

Later this year Symantec plans to add support of Exchange and SQL Server, as well as AIX, HP UX, and Solaris Unix operating systems, and 64-bit Windows and Linux. The drawing board also includes a PureDisk gateway similar to DataDomain's compression product in the first quarter of 2007 -- as part of the next NetBackup release.

IBM Calls Out Invista: IBM storage GM Andy Monshaw couldn’t resist tweaking EMC during his SNW keynote on using storage virtualization to manage data.Monshaw told the audience that network-based storage virtualization -- which includes IBM’s SAN Volume Controller (SVC) -- makes up 65 percent of storage virtualization implemented by customers. He says array-based virtualization, championed by Hitachi Data Systems with its TagmaStore, make up 35 percent, and switch-based virtualization such as EMC’s Invista “is still chartware.” (See Invisible Invista.)

When asked after his speech if he sees switch-based virtualization eventually catching on with customers, Monshaw said, “They have to touch it and feel it before they adopt it.”

To Page 2 A Wider Window on NAS: Microsoft hopes the release of Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 and new iSCSI features will extend Redmond's role in storage. (See Microsoft Laces IP SAN Boots and Microsoft Munches String Bean.) “This should bring Windows into many, many more devices and in more formats,” Microsoft storage division group manager Claude Lorenson says.

He pointed to blade servers, rackmount servers, and gateways that connect to SANs such as the LeftHand Networks SAN Filer 150. New features in R2 include single-instance storage that reduces the footprint of files, full-index tech text search to find files faster, and better file sharing and collaboration features in Sharepoint.

Startup Grabs NetApp SVP: NAS startup ONStor tweaked giant Network Appliance this week by hiring Jerry Lopatin as SVP of engineering and operations. (See Nokia Expands Services.) Lopatin had been at NetApp since 2000. He was responsible for the NearStor platform and moved up to SVP of engineering before bolting for ONStor.“They’re both good companies, but ONStor has more growth ahead of it,” Lopatin says. “What I really like doing is growing fast.”

Lopatin says he expects ONStor to maintain its strategy of selling only NAS gateways and supporting any vendor’s storage behind it. NAS leaders NetApp and EMC offer systems including disk or gateways that almost always connect to their storage.

“We provide file access and let other people do what they do best,” Lopatin says.

Changes Galore: Sun wasn’t the only vendor to either rebrand its software or change its positioning at SNW.

Creekpath is looking to move away from traditional SRM and ditched its CreekPath Suite in favor of CreekPath Acuity. (See CreekPath Tackles Biz Analytics.) CreekPath CEO Mark Davis pitches Acuity as a combination of IT asset management and service management for storage administrators. “We’re putting dollar signs to numbers of terabytes,” Davis says.Permabit is dropping the Permeon name from its product line. It will call its archiving appliance the Compliance Store, and its software modules for features such as replication and policy retention will be known as Dynamic Information Services.

Permabit originally launched its wares in 2003 to compete with EMC’s Centera content addressable storage (CAS) box, but new VP of product marketing Jim Geronaitis says the startup is looking to bundle its services with hardware supplied by partners. (See Permabit Steps on the CAS.) It’s also looking for longer-lived partnerships than the OEM deal it had with StorageTek last year. (See StorageTek Taps Permabit's CAS Act and StorageTek Rolls Its Own CAS.)

“If you’re going to buy storage, you’re not going to buy it from Permabit,” Geronaitis says. “We sell a software suite of services. Some are specific to storage, some to how you’ll treat information over a long time.”

Arkeia, which began as a backup application for Linux and open-source software, is trying to become a full-fledged data protection vendor. Arkeia launched its first Windows product in February -- Disaster Recovery for Windows. (See Arkeia Does Windows.) Perhaps its most significant move at SNW was showing up. Arkeia used its limited marketing resources on SNW and skipped Linux World in Boston, which ran at the same time.

“We’re trying to reach storage administrators now, instead of only reaching network administrators who use Linux,” Arkeia marketing VP Dave Elliott says.Another rebranding effort will come next week when McData founder Jack McDonnell relaunches Crosswalk. McDonnell’s self-funded startup came out of stealth in 2003, but struck out in its attempt to offer software that handled SRM and reporting. (See Jack McDonnell, Chairman & CEO, Crosswalk and Crosswalk.)

As Byte and Switch reported in January, McDonnell gutted his sales and marketing staff to realign its product platform. (See Crosswalk 'Realigns'.) McDonnell will officially relaunch the company Tuesday at its Westminster, Colo., office. The word is Crosswalk will take a stab at business analytics, perhaps a lower-end version to Onaro’s SANScreen or the new CreekPath Acuity.

— Dave Raffo and James Rogers, Senior Editors, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights