UK Data Storage Buzz

February 24, 2012  5:19 AM

Storage and capitalism

Antony Adshead Antony Adshead Profile: Antony Adshead

I wrote this as a “From the editor” note for a newsletter and thought it was worth keeping on the blog as it’s a theme I may add to over time. File under “dangerously subversive” or “blindingly obvious; you be the judge …

Perusing this week’s selection of content on I am spurred to remark how the business of storage reflects the economy/society we live in. A few key facts of capitalist life pop out from the stories we feature.

Fact No. 1: Economic power consolidates and big companies tend to lord it over small ones and eventually absorb them or wipe them out. See Chris Mellor’s argument for why the big storage vendors will sweep the board in flash cache. Also see Symantec’s attempt to chisel some cash from (and fatally wound?) Veeam and Acronis in a lawsuit filed last week.

Continued »

February 22, 2012  10:25 AM

Greenbytes launches all-SSD array aimed at SMBs . . .

Antony Adshead Antony Adshead Profile: Antony Adshead

Greenbytes has launched an all-SSD iSCSI storage array aimed at virtualisation users at SMEs.

The device — called the Solidarity — offers a dual-controller unit with inline data deduplication and compression. Its aim is to speed access for virtual server and desktop infrastructures with an architecture that comprises high-performance RAM drives as a front-end buffer that retain the hottest data in front of 1 TB MLC flash drives.

The device’s capacity ranges from 3.5 TB (15 TB effective) to 13.5 TB (60 TB effective), and it can deliver 120,000 4K IOPS. The Solidarity has four 1 GbE ports and two 10 GbE ports.

Greenbytes claims a better cost per gigabyte of storage than traditional arrays that use 15,000 rpm Fibre Channel drives. With deduplication and hardware compression, the claimed cost benefit is 10x and 150x in performance.

As befits an SMB-targetted product, the Solidarity has a wizard-based interface to provision iSCSI LUNs and file systems and carry out monitoring.

The Solidarity is one of a new breed of storage devices aimed specifically at virtual server implementations, such as those from Nutanix, Tintri, NexGen, Starboard and Tegile.

What bothers me at the moment is that this must be a very niche market. Continued »

February 22, 2012  10:17 AM

. . . and Virtual Sharp targets a similar niche

Antony Adshead Antony Adshead Profile: Antony Adshead

Virtual Sharp makes software that orchestrates the disaster recovery process. The software runs from the DR site and tracks the configuration of virtual machines; vMotions that have taken place; and middleware, application and service dependencies, all via a system of snapshot copies of the components of the primary environment.

Using these snapshots in its “DR sandbox,” it can test recovery processes as often as desired, will effect recovery in the correct virtual machine boot order, test processes at the heart of application services and can report on the whole process in metrics understandable by the business. Continued »

January 30, 2012  9:50 AM

Tintri and a new breed of VM storage

Antony Adshead Antony Adshead Profile: Antony Adshead

A new breed of storage device is appearing, driven — as are many things right now — by the needs of server virtualisation and, specifically, the need to speed up I/O to and from the drives.

These are the VM-optimised storage devices from the likes of Nutanix and Tintri, the latter of which I spoke to last week.

Tintri puts everything you need for VMware virtual server storage into one box (except the physical server, which Nutanix includes). Tintri comprises multicore CPUs, 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) network connections, data deduplication, flash drives and SATA spinning disk.

There are a couple of key methods Tintri uses to optimise its kit for VMs. Continued »

January 11, 2012  9:01 AM

New Dell dedupe box and 64-bit Compellent OS

Antony Adshead Antony Adshead Profile: Antony Adshead

At the first Dell Storage Forum in Europe, held in London this week, the Texas firm has announced the DR4000, a disk-to-disk data deduplication backup appliance. The DR4000 is aimed at the SMB and branch office market segment. Customers can purchase the DR4000 with 3.6 TB raw (2.7 TB after RAID), 7.2 TB raw (5.4 TB post-RAID) or 12 TB raw (9 TB post-RAID). It features inline deduplication and compression that result from Dell’s acquisition of Ocarina, plus deduplicated replication. Dell is claiming dedupe ratios of up to 15 times.

Dell also announced an upgrade to the Compellent OS, Storage Center, which will now move to Version 6.0. The upgraded controller OS will be 64-bit and will feature greater integration with VMware’s vStorage APIs for Array Integration, support for Site Recovery Manager 5 and vSphere storage management plug-ins. The 64-bit architecture will allow up to 16 exabytes of addressable storage.

January 11, 2012  8:38 AM

Dell storage: ‘Big hat, no cattle’?

Antony Adshead Antony Adshead Profile: Antony Adshead

It’s Dell’s first Storage Forum in Europe here in London, which — in these recession-hit times – is a move borne of confidence for the future.

At the morning keynote Darren Thomas, vice president and general manager of Dell’s storage division, sought to underline that confidence with a narrative of Dell’s transition from EMC reseller to storage vendor with its own technology.

Thomas expounded a vision of the future of “fluid data” and a seamlessly integrated product portfolio. At one point he told the audience of a Texan aphorism — “big hat, no cattle” – when making reference to competitors.

But what exactly does Dell have in the storage stockyard right now?

Continued »

November 3, 2011  6:30 AM

SNW Europe: EMC’s project with no name

Antony Adshead Antony Adshead Profile: Antony Adshead

Talking to Mika Kotro, EMC Germany-based sales and partner development manager, at SNW Europe, I was told of an unusual-sounding project in development. The idea is this: to utilise spare processing power on EMC storage controllers to serve critical applications.

It’s an idea that has some overlaps/parallels in other developments in storage, where numerous ideas aimed at lessening the distance between processing and media are emerging. Continued »

November 3, 2011  6:28 AM

SNW Europe: SNIA’s ‘green’ storage initiative yields practical results

Antony Adshead Antony Adshead Profile: Antony Adshead

Three years ago, everyone (well, everyone in the world of storage marketing hype, that is) was talking about “green” storage. For a while, all sorts of products were framed in terms of their green-storage crendentials. Entire product categories built their pitch on that basis; remember MAID (or massive array of idle disks, currently residing in the “Where are they now?” file)?

At the time, however, there was one apparently practical and useful initiative being talked about by the industry/vendor body SNIA. Continued »

November 2, 2011  12:20 PM

SNW Europe: An Emulex formula for convergence, and v2.0 of its monitoring tool

Antony Adshead Antony Adshead Profile: Antony Adshead

I recently blogged about QLogic’s new converged 16 Gbps Fibre Channel and FCoE network adapter, while a reader helpfully pointed out Brocade had one of these too.

I observed that these moves showed a hedging of bets for QLogic over the likely winner in the data centre between Fibre Channel and Ethernet as a main storage network transport. Talking to Emulex at SNW Europe in Frankfurt this week demonstrates it is also maintaining “a parallel track”. Continued »

November 2, 2011  12:16 PM

SNW Europe: Avere’s ‘edge NAS’ product

Antony Adshead Antony Adshead Profile: Antony Adshead

Continuing the centripetal/centrifugal theme, an interesting example of a product I saw at SNW Europe that is quite happy to be good at one thing — OK, maybe two things in a quite unusual combination — is Avere Systems. Continued »

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