Surf, Sand & Storage

Vacationers aren't the only ones hitting the surf this time of year... Oscar has his tentacles into EMC Symmetrix, Maranti, and CDP

July 21, 2005

5 Min Read
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Its vacation time, but our intrepid octopus has been hard at work. He’s been lurking beneath the sea, overhearing private conversations among beach-going storage mavens.

He’s also been fielding messages in bottles from inquiring minds who want to know what’s going on in the SAN world this summer.

So without further ado, we hand the mike to our itinerant mollusc:

Dear Oscar:

When is EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) going to upgrade Symmetrix? We keep hearing Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) are gaining traction on the high end. What gives? -- Enterprise Ernie

Dear Ernie:

Don’t worry, the EMC hype machine is about to go into full gear. EMC will announce its new Symmetrix systems on or about July 25 and will probably follow with a midrange Clariion announcement in September.

From what we gather, the Symmetrix upgrades will consist of two new DMX systems on the high end to make the platform more competitive with Hitachi TagmaStore and IBM DS8000 (see Hitachi Struts Mr. Universal and IBM's New Shark Tale). The new Symmetrix will have 4-Gbit/s connectivity on the front end, with 2 Gbit/s on the back end because there are no 4-Gbit/s hard drives yet. Neither TagmaStore nor the DS8000 support 4 Gbit/s yet.

EMC is also expected to add mirrored cache, which Hitachi and IBM use in their high-end systems. Mirrored cache uses a second cache to store data as a backup in case the primary memory fails.EMC will also significantly bump up Symmetrix’s capacity –- sources speculate by as much as 33 percent -– by supporting more and higher-capacity drives. It will also double global cache to 512 Gbytes -- twice the amount for the DS8000 and four times as much as TagmaStore.

Dear Oscar:

Is Maranti Networks Inc. officially out of business? (See Clock Ticks on Maranti.)

-- Vic the Vulture

Dear Vic:Our spies say the employees have been sent packing, although at least two companies reportedly bid on the intellectual property (IP) –- EMC and Troika Networks Inc. EMC is said to be looking for IP to accelerate development of the next generation of its Invista virtualization platform (see EMC Unveils Invista). Troika is supposedly exploring running Maranti software on 4-Gbit/s intelligent appliances aimed at the midrange.

We hear Maranti engineers would like to see their software survive on the Troika hardware, but they fear EMC will end up with the IP and only use pieces of it. As for the engineers, sources say Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and other companies have been looking to give the newly unemployed workers a new home.

Dear Oscar:

So does that mean intelligent switches are dead?

-- Gary the Gravedigger

Dear Gary:

Great question! Not really. It means startups have been effectively shut out by the major switch vendors and their storage partners, even before the market has started up. Brocade, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) are waiting for EMC Invista to spark interest in intelligent switches, but they’re also looking to do business with other storage vendors. We expect IBM to make an announcement soon for an out-of-band switch based on software from Incipient Inc. -– a deal that has been long rumored. At least one major switch vendor would be a partner in that platform.

Troika and MaXXan are the surviving intelligent switch startups. Troika has partnerships with Engenio Information Technologies Inc. and Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) (NYSE: STK), while MaXXan Systems Inc. is looking for OEM deals to help it survive (see Engenio Certifies Troika, StoreAge , Troika, StoreAge Join StorageTek Alliance, and MaXXan Seeks CEO – and Sales).

Dear Oscar:

What’s happening with continuous data protection? It’s supposed to be an emerging market, but is anybody using it? -- Ted the Tapeworm

Dear Ted:

The CDP market hasn’t really formed yet, but a few events later this year should jumpstart it (see CDP: Calling It Right). The Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) Panther product and Microsoft Corp.’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Data Protection Manager (DPM) will drive interest in CDP (see Microsoft Closer to Disk Backup , Microsoft Backs Up on CDP Claim, and Veritas Uncages Panther). The Microsoft product isn’t true CDP, but will compete with Panther and other CDP products optimized for Windows applications. Panther and DPM are due out by the end of the year, and Microsoft claims more than 50,000 customers have downloaded its beta version.

But the real CDP catalyst could be an OEM deal between EMC and Mendocino Software, which sources tell us is already done but won’t be announced until late in the year. EMC could OEM Mendocino’s next-generation CDP product, probably as part of its Invista platform as well as in combination with its Legato backup software. And: “You can look for Mendocino to get at least one other major OEM,” says a source close to the company.

Other storage vendors are implementing CDP within their products. Kashya Inc. and StoneFly Networks Inc. added CDP to their replication products this week, and Atempo Inc. incorporated CDP into its backup software through a partnership with Storactive Inc. (see Kashya Uses CDP for DR, StoneFly Adds CDP, Snaps, and Atempo to Resell Storactive).— Oscar the Octopus, Byte and Switch

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