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Storage for the Consumer

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is rife with products delivering networked storage for consumers, and a good chunk of it looks like a safe bet to eventually move into the enterprise.

Product introductions at the Las Vegas show include a new IP-SAN platform, a 1-Tbyte hard drive, products for managing digital content across networked devices, and security for optical storage:

  • Zetera unveiled a new platform that makes it easier for partners to scale systems up to 12 bays by plugging multiple cards into a chassis. (See Zetera Breaks Out New Platform.) The new platform is built on Marvell's Orion system on a chip (SOIC) that supports SATA-2 drives, and also supports PCI Express. Zetera also says it its Z-SAN technology will support computers running the Mac OS X operating system around the middle of the year. Zetera currently only supports Windows.
  • Hitach Global Storage Technologies (HGST) said it will start shipping 1-Tbyte hard drives to retail customers this quarter. (See HGST Drives to 1-Tbyte Disk, Short Ride to 1-Tbyte Drives and Dawn of the Tbyte Hard Drive.)
  • Seagate launched several storage products that go beyond hard drives, including FreeAgent Pro, a pocket-sized device ranging from 80 Gbytes to 750 Gbytes with software that lets users transfer and synchronize files across PCs. (See Seagate Targets Digital Content.) It also includes a service giving users access to online storage. The device's software tracks passwords, email, and other system settings.

Seagate also unveiled Storage Management Module (SMM) software that supports chipsets from Marvell, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments used for mobile phones, IPTV set-top boxes, personal media players, and other devices. SMM includes a power manager that saves battery life by reducing the time the drive spends in active mode, integrated flash manager for solid state memory, and a proprietary file system.

  • Axentra launched HipServ software for managing, backing up and sharing digital content across home networked devices. HipServ will be sold through OEMs and service providers.
  • Nero announced SecurDisc, which provides password protection to optical media and will be sold by LG Electronics as part of a DVD rewriter product. (See Nero's SecurDisc Debuts.)

As for enterprise candidates, 1-Tbyte SATA drives are certain to find their way into SANs later this year. Zetera is also determined to move its non-standard IP-SAN platform beyond the consumer market into the enterprise, but that will take time.

The new platform did win Zetera two new partner deals. NetGear, the first to sign on with Zetera, says it will deliver a system that can be networked based on Zetera's Z-SAN technology to go with the single-box it already sells. Also, Choiceway Technologies of China will use Zetera for systems targeting industrial, surveillance, mapping, and government verticals under the Vicount brand name. (See Choiceway to Sell Zetera.)

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