SNW: Some Wheat, Some Chaff

The show's a wrap, but some things we learned there will take a while to come to fruition

October 29, 2005

6 Min Read
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Although Wilma failed to hit Orlando with full force this week, there was plenty of chatter blowing in the wind at SNW. And we listened closely.

[Editor's Note: Just because the strongest gusts whipped through the J.W. Marriott lobby bar doesn't mean we got all our information there.]

Invista Invective: The adoption of EMC's Invista virtualization appears to be moving more slowly than many industry watchers anticipated when Invista launched in May.

Invista requires intelligent switches to provide virtualization, and Brocade and Cisco have switches ready. But EMC is apparently not ready with its software. Switch partner sources say Invista is still in the beta stage and has yet to become generally available.

EMC chief development officer Mark Lewis isn't conceding that anything's behind schedule. "Invista is going as expected and planned," he says. Since the target market is large enterprises, the testing process is thorough and conservative, he notes. "We don't expect production deployments until next year, and it will be 2007 before it's a major product."We can wait. Can you?

Switch Logic: Speaking of waiting, QLogic has virtual switch appliances ready to ship from its acquisition of Troika Networks, but it isn't rushing them out the door. (See QLogic Picks Up Troika.) QLogic marketing VP Frank Berry says his company will continue to sell the Troika hardware with StoreAge virtualization software through the channel. But he expects most of the sales to come through OEM deals with large storage vendors. And those vendors need time to port their software onto the appliances before selling them.

"We certainly aren't going to be a software reseller," Berry says.

NetApp Nets Georgens: Network Appliance hired former Engenio CEO Tom Georgens as EVP and GM of its Enterprise Storage Systems group. His primary job will be to look at acquisition possibilities, according to a source close to the matter.

Georgens left Engenio in August after LSI Logic decided not to spin off its systems unit into a public company. (See LSI Logic Reshuffles.) He is actually NetApp's second high-profile hire this month: The company brought former Brocade CTO Jay Kidd aboard to run a new emerging technologies group. (See NetApp Has Kidd for New Group.)McData's Mixed Bag: McData's intelligent switch module, originally anticipated in early 2006, might not be qualified by EMC until the third quarter of next year, according to McData marketing SVP Wayne Morris. And the McData product will have a new name. Previously called Virtualization Services Module (VSM), McData is now calling it the Intelligent Fabric Module (IFM), while continuing to search for an even better moniker. Feel free to post suggestions.

Chipping Away: Chip startup Aarohi might have more at stake than McData regarding the ship date of McData's virtualization module. The McData device uses Aarohi's chip and will likely represent the startup's first significant revenue.

But Aarohi isn't resting all of its hopes on McData. CEO Ameesh Divatia says he's still talking to other switch vendors Brocade is an obvious candidate – about supplying chips for their next-generation intelligent switches.

Aarohi also has a chip for a blade server switch module that allows connectivity to InfiniBand, 10-Gig Ethernet, and PCI Express gear. "We'll have design wins soon," Divatia says of his new chip.

Loop Switcheroo: When EMC upgraded its Clariion midrange SAN systems in August, a lot of people in the industry thought its new UltraPoint Technology included Emulex embedded switches. EMC denied that, saying UltraPoint was based on its own technology. (See EMC Cultivates Clariion.)Well, EMC was half right. The embedded switches aren't from Emulex, but they aren't homecooked in Hopkinton, either: They come from PMC-Sierra. During PMC's earnings conference call last week, CEO Bob Bailey divulged that the new Clariions use his company's loop switches and controllers. "That's right, if you look inside those new Clariions, you'll see PMC-Sierra," a PMC source says.

Snap-ing Back: Adaptec has no takers yet for its systems unit, but sources say would-be suitors have lined up. And former Snap Appliance CEO Eric Kelly is huddling with VCs to raise cash to buy back that end of the business. (See Adaptec Says Sayonara to Systems.) Snap, acquired by Adaptec in July 2004 for $100 million, forms the bulk of Adaptec's systems group. (See Adaptec's $100M Snap Decision.)

It wouldn't be the first time Kelly bought Snap from a larger company. He was part of a group that acquired Quantum's NAS business for $11.3 million in 2002 to form Snap Appliance. (See Quantum Evicts NAS Unit.)

Micro-Snub: Although Microsoft is making a push into storage management, the boys from Redmond never got an invition from IBM to join its Aperi open-source storage applications program. (See Aperi Appears Amid Questions.) Was the snub intentional?

"We just don't usually think of Microsoft and open source going together," snorted one Big Blue wise guy.More on Aperi: While we're at it, a few other big names – most notably EMC and HP - say they weren't invited to join Aperi, either. While IBM insists they were invited, sources say they were invited late and in a backhanded way. Further, the plans for Aperi were reportedly conducted with some in the know and others ambushed by the announcement at SNW – even though everyone involved was a member of SNIA.

IBM is distancing itself from the whole thing. "Aperi is not an IBM initiative, but it is an open community. Any company can join. They could join last week, this week, next week or thereafter," writes an IBM spokesman in an email today.

All CDP, All the Time: Just when you thought every storage company already had a continuous data protection (CDP) product on the market, SNW brought about a rash of new announcements. EMC started the ball rolling with its long-awaited CDP, but it was hardly alone. (See EMC Pulls Forward With Backup.) Availl, FalconStor, FilesX, Kashya, and StorServer all made CDP announcements this week. (See Availl Debuts CDP , FalconStor Accelerates Tape, FilesX Intros CDP On-Demand.) That means there were probably more companies launching CDP at SWN than there were customers who actually use CDP.

Not Ma's Kind of Storage: BlueArc founder Geoff Barrall confirmed a Byte and Switch story that his new startup Trusted Data received $6 million in funding and is developing storage for SMBs. (See 'Golden Boy' Returns.) Barrall didn't give much product info, except to say he's working on an alternative to RAID that will make storage simple.

"We want to sell storage for regular people," Barrall says. "My mother doesn't want to do split mirroring and RAID striping. Even I don't want to do split mirroring and RAID striping, and I know how to do it."— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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