Storage Soup


June 23, 2009  2:54 PM

Caringo offers 4 TB free, plus ‘cluster in a box’

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Object-based storage maker Caringo Inc. has released version 3.0 of its CAStor software with new support for virtual machine clusters and a couple of freebies to sweeten the deal.

CAStor is created by the people who sold FilePool to EMC, which turned it into Centera. CAStor software can be installed on practically any machine with a processor – the Caringo guys have demonstrated it on a Mac desktop and an external hard drive at trade shows.

Version 3.0 can take advantage of multicore processors to offer a “Cluster in a Box,” in which each of the cluster nodes is a virtual machine attached to one processor core inside a single physical chassis. Caringo is also looking to take advantage of the highly dense storage servers on the market. Each drive inside the server chassis can be allocated to a different CAStor process.

With this release, Caringo is also making available free demoware called CloudFolder, a Windows application that lets customers drag and drop files into a folder on the Windows desktop. The files will automatically be added to a CAStor cluster, either internal to the organization or at Caringo’s own test cluster at its data center. If the data is sent offsite, it is sent without encryption, though Caringo says encryption is on the docket for future releases of the software.

Caringo is also offering a free 4 TB CAStor download from its web site, which requires registration and a multicore server to get started. Customers must buy a license to expand capacity.

Free or not, object-based storage systems such as Caringo’s as well as DataDirect Networks’ new Web Object Scaler (WOS) and EMC Atmos are battling to gain traction in the cloud. For now, many Web 2.0 data centers feature internally built storage.

June 19, 2009  5:11 PM

Emulex plans cloud HBA

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Emulex has confirmed it is working on a new product called Emulex Enterprise Elastic Storage (E3S), which it describes as “a transparent method for connecting block storage to cloud storage providers like EMC Atmos.” 

EMC’er David Graham spilled the beans about the product in a blog post yesterday “Moving from Block to Cloud: Emulex E3S” based on conversations he had with the connectivity vendor at EMC World. (Hmm, could this be the “unannounced OEM deal” Emulex has accused Broadcom of trying to cash in on?)

According to Graham’s post, which an Emulex spokesperson confirmed this morning is accurate:

Your hosts continue to process data to their respective storage targets as usual and the Emulex E3S device acts like a traditional block storage target (SAS or FC disks). As blocks are written to the E3S virtual disks, the E3S software virtualizes the changed blocks and compresses, encrypts, and re-packages the data into your chosen cloud storage protocol (e.g. EMC Atmos). In this way, you’re able to maintain consistent copies of data both in your local datacenter as well as in your private cloud. This is all well and good but what about recovering your data? Using the same process of encapsulation, the Emulex E3S can retrieve your data from your private cloud, unpack the meta-data and extents and present the original SCSI block data back to your hosts, all using traditional SCSI semantics.

Graham declined comment about whether an OEM deal is in the works, but the product is listed on EMC’s Atmos partner page. Amazon also uses the term Elastic Block Store with its EC2 cloud, but that doesn’t appear directly related to E3S.

It also doesn’t look like the product is generally available yet. Rich Pappas, VP of marketing and business development, Embedded Storage Products for Emulex sent over the following statement in an email this morning to Storage Soup:

Emulex has developed E3S as a proof-of-concept design illustrating how block storage can be easily bridged to cloud storage environments. Market research has shown that the most likely application for this technology is within existing storage solutions and Emulex is discussing with its partners the viability of the product concepts and timing for market entry.


June 19, 2009  7:00 AM

06-18-2009 Storage Headlines

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Stories referenced:

(0:25) TheInfoPro Storage Study finds firms save money through tiered storage, better utilization
(1:36) Cisco sees ratified T11 standard driving adoption of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)
(3:38) HP resizes its ExDS9100 scale-out NAS system; finds market broader than original Web 2.0 target
(5:09) Dell launches EqualLogic PS4000 iSCSI SAN for SMBs
(6:27) Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) expands thin provisioning with Storage Reclamation Service and Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning


June 18, 2009  6:24 PM

Symantec and CommVault tussle over TheInfoPro results

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Nothing like a good vendor fight to keep the week interesting. This time, it’s Symantec and CommVault who have been going at it in press releases and statements after TheInfoPro released its Wave 12 Storage Study on Monday.

CommVault put out a press release shortly after the study was released trumpeting the findings that were flattering to its Simpana product (as virtually all storage vendors do when reports like this come out). The statement that drew Symantec’s ire was this one: “CommVault garnered a top spot in attracting new customers from competing solutions, according to TheInfoPro™ Wave 12 Storage Study. Twenty percent of respondents reported they had switched to CommVault from another vendor in the past year.”

Symantec responded by firing off this statement to press through its PR agency:

The actual figure is 0.2%, since TheInfoPro’s sample size was 848 and only 2 had switched. Also, only 10 respondents mentioned Commvault. For comparison, 66 mentioned Symantec, 86 mentioned NetApp, and 194 mentioned EMC. The full report with a chart and list of vendors and customer sample size is available from TheInfoPro.

Roughly 5 out of the 66 Symantec customers reported switching to Symantec solutions.  Clearly, this is not an accurate comparison, or a valid statistic and CommVault seems to be clutching at straws in an attempt to seem relevant to the market.

Rowr! Saucer of milk, table two!

Responded CommVault VP of marketing and business development Dave West:

 

This study is indicative of what we are seeing in the market and reflects historic trends within our customer base. In addition to sustaining strong customer loyalty, CommVault is experiencing notable year on year growth. We continue to see strong Simpana software adoption by former customers of competitive offerings. In May we announced we surpassed 10,000 customers; more of half of these previously were Symantec customers.

 
I don’t know how many CommVault customers came from Symantec, but it’s worth noting CommVault’s revenues actually dropped a bit year-over-year last quarter although it did grow for its entire fiscal year.

As for the spat over TIP numbers, TIP spokesperson Bernadette Abel clarified in an email to Storage Soup:

The percentages noted on this data point are per vendor and not an overall comparison among all vendor mentions. 20% of current CommVault customers interviewed said that they switched to CommVault from a competing vendor.

The press release put out by the organization said that it garnered a top spot, not the top spot as based on the 20% conversion rate.

Bottom line? Regardless of the statistics, these guys are clearly under each other’s skin. CommVault has been aggressive about taking share from competitors, and it would appear it has at least succeeded in getting some attention from them. The real winners in all this should be end users, who stand to benefit from better pricing when competition is intense.


June 18, 2009  2:49 PM

HDS disk array failure suspected in Barclays outage; where’s the HAM?

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

According to reports out of the U.K. yesterday, Barclays ATM machines stopped working Tuesday because of a fault with one of its disk arrays.

The exact nature of the problem has not been specified, but the company is publicly known as a customer of Hitachi Data Systems’ (HDS) USP-V. HDS supplied a SAN subsystem based on its high-end USP-V hardware in February to bring capacity to 1 PB at a new 28,000 square foot Gloucester data center. That is the data center where the outage occurred.

Reached for comment, an HDS spokesperson wrote to Storage Soup in an email:

Not much to respond to as Barclays’ operations are now fully back online as of end of business day yesterday local time. Barclays and Hitachi Data Systems are investigating the cause of the problem. As a trusted storage partner to customers around the globe, it is our commitment to deliver on high standards of customer service and support excellence to Barclays and all of our customers worldwide.

U.K. storage consultant Chris M. Evans, who has worked with HDS products and customers, came to the vendor’s defense. He pointed the finger at the lack of redundancy of Barclays’ architecture.

What surprises me with this story is the time Barclays appeared to take to recover from the original incident.  If a storage array is supporting a number of critical applications including online banking and ATMs, then surely a high degree of resilience has been built in that caters for more than just simple hardware failures?  Surely the data and servers supporting ATMs and the web are replicated (in real time) with automated clustered failover or similar technology?

We shouldn’t be focusing here on the technology that failed.  We should be focusing on the process, design and support of the environment that wasn’t able to manage the hardware failure and “re-route” around the problem.

One other thought.  I wonder if this problem would have been avoided with a bit of Hitachi HAM?


June 16, 2009  4:28 PM

Bocada resurfaces, plans backup reporting updates

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

I’m still digesting all the vendor meetings I had last week at the BD Event. One of the company executives I met with last week was Nancy Hurley, CEO of Bocada Inc. for a little over a year now.

Hurley told me she spent most of her time since becoming CEO last May trying to get the Bocada’s house in order. “We went through our recession already,” she said, adding the vendor rebounded to reach profitability by the end of last year. Hurley said that was mostly the result of improving internal business processes.

Having completed its internal makeover, Hurley said Bocada will update its Bocada Enterprise software June 30 and again later this year. She hopes the two-phase approach to breaking up the monolithic software into a modular front end will help attract more channel sales and improve workflow within the product.

Bocada Enterprise 5.4 will add “policy mining,” which will allow the software to understand each policy for every backup server client, when that policy changed, and how that has impacted backup job failures or error reports. This version will also begin the modularization process by more clearly delineating the workflow between each of the services it provides, from healthcheck to problem management to change management. “Today we leave the customer to navigate the workflow themselves,” Hurley said. “They have to know where they have to go next. Our next update will move them through to the next step.”

The second update planned for later this year will separate the front-end into sections that can be sold and deployed separately, though the back-end will remain the same. The customers Bocada has in mind for this are service providers who may need to offer a combination of services to customers and issue service level agreements (SLAs) for each service. Advanced modules are also planned for generating SLAs and thresholding, i.e., “If this keeps happening, 30 days from now you might not meet your SLA,” explained Hurley.

Other products that began as backup reporting tools, such as Aptare’s StorageConsole, have broadened their capabilities to include storage resource management (SRM). But Hurley said Bocada plans to stick to its knitting in the data protection space. “To me, even addressing everything in data protection is hard — we don’t want to dilute that value by also having to go and look at how much capacity you have on Clariion,” she said.

Bocada may have picked a good time to re-enter the reporting software market; TheInfoPro’s Wave 12 Storage Study showed that capacity planning and reporting shot to #1 on the list of priorities for storage professionals during the economic downturn.


June 15, 2009  2:20 PM

Data Domain tells EMC to take a hike (or make a better offer) *UPDATED*

Dave Raffo Dave Raffo Profile: Dave Raffo

Not surprisingly, Data Domain management today recommended its shareholders reject EMC’s offer to buy the deduplication vendor “at this time” in favor of an offer from NetApp.

The reason it’s not surprising is that EMC’s June 1 cash bid of $30 per Data Domain share was unsolicited, and came more than a week after Data Domain’s board already accepted NetApp’s offer to acquire the company. NetApp has since increased its offer from $25 per share to $30 per share in a combination of stock and cash, which Data Domain’s board again accepted. NetApp’s offer is placed at $1.9 billion compared to EMC’s $1.8 billion, but EMC maintains its offer is better because it is all cash.

Data Domain shareholders can still vote to accept the deal without the approval of Data Domain’s board. However, there have already been rumblings that EMC will raise its offer, perhaps to $34 or $35 per share. Data Domain’s stock price opened today at $33.50, indicating its investors expect a higher offer.

“Our Board is committed to enhancing stockholder value and, after careful review with our outside advisors, determined that the $30 per share EMC Offer is not in the best interests of our stockholders at this time,” Data Domain CEO Frank Slootman said in a press release today. “We are pleased with the revised terms of NetApp’s acquisition offer and feel it will provide great value to our shareholders and customers.”

EMC CEO Joe Tucci also issued a statement today, repeating his claim that EMC’s offer is superior to NetApp’s. “EMC’s all-cash offer meets all of Data Domain’s stated objectives,” Tucci said. “We do not believe that Data Domain stockholders will approve the proposed transaction with NetApp. EMC remains committed to successfully completing this transaction. ”

The release said Data Domain’s board recommended saying no to EMC for several reasons. They include:

• accepting the deal would allow NetApp to terminate its agreement;

• Data Domain has not been able to negotiate terms of EMC’s offer because EMC hasn’t agreed to enter into a confidentiality agreement required by the Data Domain-NetApp deal;

• possible issues with the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust act involved with an EMC-Data Domain deal; and

• Data Domain would have to pay NetApp a $57 million fee if it terminates its agreement.

SEC filings previously released noted that NetApp offered Data Domain chairman Aneel Bhusri a place on its board and Slootman a management position. EMC has made no such offers, but has indicated it wants to keep Data Domain management in place.

EMC may have no choice but to increase its offer. By making its $1.8 billion bid public and going on the record with its praise of Data Domain’s deduplication devices, it could find it difficult to sell its own competing products based on deduplication software from Quantum.


June 15, 2009  1:43 PM

IDC: HDS market share numbers not accurate

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Last week, after meeting with Hitachi Data Systems at the BD Event in Boston, I posted about some of the things we discussed about HDS’s 2008 performance, which included some market share information they supplied, citing IDC as the source.

The problem is, IDC says HDS’s numbers don’t match its own.

This was the relevant graf in the original blog:

Schmidt said it was specifically EMC that HDS had taken market share from in 2008, citing an IDC study that showed HDS edging to just under 30% market share in high-end disk arrays in 2008 while EMC fell to just over 25%. Schmidt attributed the growth in sales in part to a sales reorganization in February 2008, when former Unisys vice president and general manager of sales and service Randy DeMont was promoted to executive vice president. (Schmidt left EMC, where he worked in the Centera product division, in September for HDS.)

IDC does not publish the data that would have supported this conclusion. It doesn’t break out market share according to “high end disk arrays” but rather by price bands. IDC research manager Natalya Yezhkova said that the Hitachi number given to me seems to be a combination of price bands 7 through 9 in IDC’s model, essentially systems over $300,000. HDS also included sales from OEM partners Hewlett-Packard and Sun as part of its own in the analysis, which is also not consistent with IDC’s methodology, she said.

In fact, calculating using IDC’s standard model, the market share numbers in price bands 7 through 9 look like this:

EMC 36.6%

HDS 17.7%

After the fact, here’s the statement HDS’s EJ Schmidt sent to me about it:

The share number provided is a combination of IDC proprietary data and an inclusion of Hitachi, Ltd./HDS high-end storage revenue contributions from its OEM partnership with HP and reseller relationship with Sun. IDC opts to track high-end storage marketshare by brand rather than by manufacturer, which leads to data that is non-representative of Hitachi’s public storage results. Hitachi’s public financial results include HDS’ sales to Sun and HP to reflect more accurate end-user pricing and end-user marketshare, and by virtue, a more accurate representation of share. This disclosure practice is similar to our peers in the storage market that benefit from indirect channels to market, as you are aware.

IDC doesn’t see it that way. According to Benjamin Woo, VP of storage systems research in an email to Storage Soup, “While we recognize that the title of the blog entry does read “HDS says …”, the sentence infers that this is factual and based on IDC research. In fact, IDC does not support this quote. More importantly, IDC does not have the data to verify the HDS claim.”

Moreover, IDC says HDS requested authorization to use these calculations in press briefings, and was denied. But this data was still presented to me without clarification during our meeting last week.


June 12, 2009  2:44 PM

06-11-2009 Storage Headlines

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

(0:23) Electronic medical records present challenge to healthcare industry

(1:12) Dell’s data deduplication strategy: partner for target and host dedupe products
EMC’s Tucci to Data Domainers: You’ll like it here

(2:56) Fujitsu adds DX60 and DX80 midrange disk arrays to Eternus line

(5:14) Isilon targets enterprise NAS with Backup Accelerator, N+2:1 parity

(7:51) New data archiving products focus on software-only delivery, cloud integration
VCs and IT execs discuss IT’s brave new world in Boston


June 10, 2009  11:26 AM

HDS says it beat up EMC in 2008

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

As a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) earnings and revenue numbers often get lost in its parent company’s extensive reports. But HDS execs strutted their financial stuff for press at the BD Event in Boston Tuesday, saying fiscal 2008 financial results show HDS taking market share from EMC, especially in the high-end disk array market.

Eric-Jan Schmidt, vice president of corporate marketing, said HDS grew revenue 1% to $672.8 million year over year last quarter while other large storage vendors declined. Storage software grew “in the high double-digits” year over year, high-end storage systems in the single digits, and modular storage was flat year over year, according to Schmidt, who did not give specific numbers for those products.
Total HDS revenue for fiscal 2008 — which ended last quarter — increased 11% to $2.864 billion.

Schmidt said it was specifically EMC that HDS had taken market share from in 2008, citing an IDC study that showed HDS edging to just under 30% market share in high-end disk arrays in 2008 while EMC fell to just over 25%. Schmidt attributed the growth in sales in part to a sales reorganization in February 2008, when former Unisys vice president and general manager of sales and service Randy DeMont was promoted to executive vice president. (Schmidt left EMC, where he worked in the Centera product division, in September for HDS.)

Schmidt added that HDS has seen increased success with its USP-V virtualization controller and storage software in this economy because they can be used to repurpose existing third-party storage. He said 15% of the 12,600 USP and USP-Vs in production so far have third-party storage virtualized behind them.

However, while HDS had a few things to crow about, Hitachi Ltd. did not fare so well, posting a record $8.1 billion loss for the year. That’s not a Hitachi-specific record – that’s the biggest-ever annual loss by a Japanese manufacturer, according to a report by the Associated Press. According to another report released Tuesday morning on the Dow Jones news wires, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services cut Hitachi Ltd.’s (HIT) ratings to below-average credit quality.

In the meantime, HDS may have something up its sleeve for the Hitachi Content Archiving Platform (HCAP) product based on its acquisition of Archivas in 2007. “Our archive platform will morph into something different over the next year,” said Asim Zaheer, HDS vice president, product and competitive marketing.

HCAP is already touted by HDS as a unified repository for multiple federated sources of content. HCAP uses a hierarchical file system, making it different from object-based or content-addressable storage (CAS) products, like Caringo Inc.’s CAStor or EMC’s Atmos or Centera. However, given the “federation” aspect of HCAP (also a hot buzzword at this year’s EMC World in discussions of cloud storage), my guess would be a scale-out system for active unstructured content in addition to where HCAP is already positioned, in secondary storage archiving. Zaheer would neither confirm or deny my suspicions.


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