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  • Data Storage Management

    Drowning in an ocean of data? Use this guide to learn the latest in data storage management strategies and tactics. Read more about data provisioning and growth, the concepts of tiered storage and data classification, data compliance, best practices and buying advice.

  • Data Deduplication FAQ

    Will you be able to achieve the huge data reduction ratios that data deduplication vendors are touting? In this FAQ guide, analyst Jerome Wendt answers the data deduplication questions he's hearing most often. Jerome's answers are also available as an MP3 file.

  • Virtual Server Backup FAQ

    How much are virtualized server environments affecting backup processes? Mark Bowker, analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group, answers the most common questions about virtual server backup from storage administrators. His answers are also available as an MP3 file to download.

  • Advanced SAN School

    Storage area networking (SAN) has evolved to a highly specialized, fluid discipline in recent years. With data growing at alarming rates, SANs have been doing the heavy lifting to organize and store ever expanding information.

    In order to make sense of the potential and usefulness of the SAN of today, has put together a series of podcasts to address the state of the SAN. While the first SAN School focused on the nuts and bolts of SAN components, this series looks at how SAN has advanced.

    Leading the podcast series is Stephen Foskett, director of data practice for Contoural. Stephen, the highly rated Storage Decisions SAN School speaker and expert, has put together this series to give you a window into the challenges that go into architecting and managing current storage area networks.

    The SAN of today is rapidly moving beyond the Fibre Channel staple of five years ago. With IP and network attached storage (NAS) fully integrated into the networking mix, it's critical that storage managers keep up to date with the latest that SANs have to offer. This podcast series hopes to accomplish this in three concise yet informative talks.

    Lesson 1: Building a SAN
    Lesson 2: SAN architecture and topology
    Lesson 3: SAN management and security

  • iSCSI SANs

    By the time iSCSI became a standard protocol five years ago, most large enterprises had already adopted Fibre Channel as the network technology to connect their servers and storage devices. But iSCSI SANs are finding favor among businesses of varying sizes that resisted shared storage because of Fibre Channel's cost and complexity.

  • Best data storage products 2011

    2011 POY award logo

    As slow moving as data storage might seem at times, there’s a remarkable amount of innovation going on at a near non-stop pace. The Storage magazine/ 2011 Storage Products of the Year bear that out, as vendors once again demonstrated that cutting-edge technology can effectively and practically fit into environments and make short shrift of existing problems. (Want to find out what products and technologies won last year's awards competition? Read our 2010 Products of the Year guide.)

    From hundreds of product entries, our panel selected an exceptional group of 48 finalists. In turn, our 18 winners of the best data storage products were then selected from among the finalists based on innovation, performance, ease of integration, ease of use and manageability, functionality and value.

    With a mix of veteran storage vendors and relative upstarts represented, it’s obvious the data storage market is as vibrant as ever, with innovation coming from expected and somewhat unexpected sources. The constant infusion of “new blood” enhances the market’s DNA and helps account for the number of products that have been singled out for accolades. Our winners represent all the hot storage industry trends, including solid-state storage, cloud storage, object storage, scale-out systems and more.

    Congratulations to the best data storage products of 2011.

    How the Storage magazine/ Products of the Year works

    Storage magazine and invited enterprise data storage product companies to nominate new or enhanced products for the 2011 Products of the Year awards. For previously available products, the upgrade must have incorporated significant new features.

    Products could be entered in six categories: backup and disaster recovery (DR) software and services, backup hardware, networking equipment, storage management tools, storage systems and storage system software.

    Products were judged by a panel of users, analysts, consultants, and Storage magazine and editors. Products were rated based on innovation, performance, ease of integration into environment, ease of use and manageability, functionality and value.

    To find out the winners, just click on each of the category titles below.

    UPDATE: Get the results of our 2012 Products of the Year competition.

  • EMC World 2012: Big data, cloud services and VMAX shape the agenda

    The news team is on the scene at the EMC World 2012 show, providing live coverage and independent analysis of the annual four-day event where EMC showcases its roadmap and upgrades for new and existing products. Storage Media Group editorial director Rich Castagna (@RichCastagnaTT), senior news editor Dave Raffo and senior site editor Andrew Burton (@AndrewBurtonTT) are talking with EMC World 2012 attendees to get their views on the latest news from the EMC conference. Of course, every IT show needs a buzz phrase, and this year’s EMC World 2012 theme is “transformation.” In outlining themes for the show, EMC COO Pat Gelsinger highlighted the cloud and big data analytics as “transformative technologies.” For more coverage of keynotes and what the EMC community is saying about the show, check out our ongoing team coverage.

  • A guide to technology stack product bundles

    Every major storage vendor has an integrated technology stack -- storage, server and networking products consisting of their own products or a combination of their own products and ones supplied by partners. In this Special Report, we’ve outlined a sampling of the major technology stacks that include storage. Our list includes a description, or overview, of each stack -- and then offers details on crucial information such as vendor support, and suitability for specific IT shops. Find out how each vendor stacks up when it comes to crucial decision points such as flexibility and management, and determine how simple -- or not -- each technology stack is to purchase and install. Our converged infrastructure product list begins with Dell vStart and covers seven major vendors in all.

  • 'Big data' tutorial: Everything you need to know

    "Big data" is here to stay. Even technologists who might have previously disparaged it as a buzzphrase will now acknowledge that the term and its accompanying technologies are evolving into real-world enterprise offerings and data center strategies. This big data tutorial is designed to get data storage managers up to speed on the conversations shaping the decisions many IT managers are making about big data. An increasing number of data sources -- such as social media -- and a growing number of media-rich data types -- such as X-rays and video -- are fueling the challenges associated with big data at companies that might never have thought of themselves as big data customers. The divide between analytics and storage in the world of big data is narrowing as data storage managers find themselves tasked with designing and managing big data infrastructures. View the content in our big data tutorial to learn more about these high-transaction environments, new scale-out technologies, rising I/O demands and the latest news on Hadoop.

  • Jon Toigo outlines today's data management issues

    According to Jon Toigo, CEO of Toigo Partners International and chairman of the Data Management Institute, 2012 finds a majority of data storage professionals knee-deep in a 'storage infrastruggle' -- an expression he created to describe the mix of drivers and trends that create architectural and infrastructure options for IT planners and, in turn, shape the discussion and debate around them.

    Among the data management issues storage pros will need to deal with are unmanaged data, server virtualization, the use of hard disk to store everything, oversubscribed and underutilized storage hardware, value-add technologies and storage cloud hype. Adding to these technological challenges, according to Toigo, are the day-to-day issues that must be dealt with -- rising energy costs that impact the operation of the data center, the need to retain and preserve information to meet data compliance regulations, and the constant struggle to stretch the storage budget further and perhaps with fewer resources.

    The following video tips from Toigo will help storage pros focus on their issues and help them create a strategic data management plan for the future.

  • FCoE tutorial: Answers to your tech questions

    Data storage professionals continue to hear about the importance of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and incentives for using the protocol. Leveraging FCoE in a storage environment reduces the number of switches, cards and cables a data storage pro must place in data center racks, and can enable an organization to operate lossless Ethernet -- no dropped packets. Another chief benefit of moving to FCoE is that Fibre Channel follows an Ethernet roadmap; this is important because instead of having to travel from 4 GB to 8 GB to 16 GB and then 32 GB, the Ethernet plan calls for moving from 10 GB to 40 GB to 100 GB.

    But despite so much initial hype around the technology -- which promises a single, converged network infrastructure -- initial adoption rates were slower than expected. In the last two years, however, marketplace changes such as FCoE cards from vendors (including storage array vendors) are helping to make FCoE more common in the data center. Beyond that, the maturing technology means users can expect to see DCBx switches begin to supplant top-of-rack switches and gateways.

    In this FCoE tutorial, expert Marc Staimer answers key questions surrounding the protocols, switches and standards involved in FCoE technology.

  • An expert's guide to big data storage architecture

    Designing storage systems that can handle the requirements of big data applications is a task that many storage administrators are starting to tackle in their own environments. In this Ask the Expert guide, John Webster, a senior partner at Boulder, Colo.-based analyst firm Evaluator Group, answers some of the most frequently asked questions on big data storage architecture, including how to spec a storage system for use by big data applications, guidance on protecting big data sets, advice on selecting an object or scale-out file system to manage data, and what to look for when using the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). Whether you're concerned about using RAID or defining a data warehouse project, Webster's expert analysis offers practical insight into big data architectures and the technology that supports them.

  • iSCSI SAN configuration guide

    After 10 years of continued use in the data center, it's safe to say that iSCSI SANs are a legitimate alternative to Fibre Channel technology. Despite primarily being used by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) who place iSCSI's cost advantages and ease of implementation above Fibre Channel's availability and performance advantages, iSCSI has managed to find its way into enterprise-class data centers. A few key trends have led to the increased adoption of iSCSI, including the willingness of major vendors to build iSCSI into their product lineups; the ratification of the Data Center Bridging (DCB) standard, which allows for the convergence of Fibre Channel and iSCSI networks; and the emergence of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) networks that will bridge the gap between iSCSI and Fibre Channel performance.

    This SearchStorage iSCSI SAN configuration guide will help data storage administrators understand the current iSCSI market landscape, give practical advice for configuring an iSCSI SAN, examine the implications of virtual storage on iSCSI technology, and provide an assessment on the future of iSCSI technology by featuring interviews from premier experts in the storage industry such as Dennis Martin of Demartek and Marc Staimer of Dragon Slayer Consulting.

  • Data storage systems: 2012 Products of the Year finalists

    Fifty-two enterprise data storage systems products in six categories stood out among the hundreds of entries for the 2012 Storage magazine/ Products of the Year because they demonstrated technical innovation and offered solid value. The products provide practical functionality while performing well, and can integrate relatively easily with existing data storage infrastructures. And to top it all off, each product is notable for its ease of use and manageability.

    It's not easy for data storage systems to excel based on such demanding and diverse criteria under any circumstances, but emerging as a finalist for the 2012 Products of the Year awards is a particularly noteworthy achievement after a year that featured dramatic strides in storage technologies and practices related to cloud services, flash storage, virtual server and desktop environments, data protection and a rethinking of traditional storage array architectures. For a product to distinguish itself in such an active environment is no small feat.

    As in the past, our Products of the Year finalists represent all constituencies of the data storage market, with approximately one-third of them among the ranks of storage newcomers/startups and the rest representing firmly establish storage software and hardware companies. First-timers Maginatics, Tegile, Tintri, VeloBit and Virsto, for example, are joined by IT icons Dell, EMC, IBM, Symantec and other familiar names.

    Regardless of their maturity in the market, our data storage systems finalists share one common trait: they're solutions to problems that exist -- and need attention -- today. Finalists in the backup and disaster recovery (DR) software and services category, for example, deal with issues such as integrating on-premises backup with cloud backup services and backing up virtual server and virtual desktop data. Similarly, our storage systems finalists are in the vanguard of such new technologies as hybrid and all-flash arrays, and storage designed specifically for virtualized environments. Software to manage these new complex environments is also well represented, as are products that will help make the idea of software-defined storage a reality.

    Congratulations to all our finalists. Click on the 2012 Storage magazine/ Products of the Year categories listed below to read about the product finalists in each group.

    UPDATE: The 2012 Products of the Year awards have been finalized. Check out our guide to the best storage products of 2012 to get a listing of all the category winners.

  • Enterprise storage systems

    The Storage magazine/ 2012 Products of the Year enterprise storage systems category covers Fibre Channel and iSCSI SANs, network-attached storage, multiprotocol systems, direct-attached storage, hard disk drives, solid-state storage, disk controllers, caching appliances, storage virtualization appliances and cloud storage gateway appliances.

    This year's storage systems category winners are a multiprotocol array that can be used as an all-flash system, a storage system that delivers quality of service and a flash memory array that comes with a 10-year warranty for multi-level cell (MLC) flash.

  • Storage management tool

    The Storage magazine/ 2012 Products of the Year storage management tool category covers storage resource management and SAN management software, performance monitoring, configuration management and provisioning. This year, we're presenting only one storage management tools award.

  • Enterprise network equipment

    The Storage magazine/ enterprise network equipment 2012 Products of the Year category covers switches, host bus adapters, network interface cards, security devices, converged network adapters (CNAs) and virtual I/O products. This year, only one award was presented in the networking equipment category.

  • Storage system software

    The Storage magazine/ 2012 Products of the Year enterprise storage system software category covers file systems, volume management, storage virtualization software, security software, storage optimization applications and data reduction.

    Winning selections in the storage system software category include the latest version of Microsoft's server operating system, a software product that reduces virtual desktop infrastructure requirements and a server-based flash caching product.

  • Best data storage products of 2012

    As we have for the previous 10 years, the editors of Storage magazine and, more than ably assisted by a panel of consultants, analysts and users, have picked what we feel are the best data storage products of 2012.

    And each year, as we study the entries submitted to our storage Products of the Year awards program, we are reminded of the tremendous amount of innovation and technical achievement demonstrated by the scores of storage products that were either fresh out of the gate in 2012 or established products that received significant enhancements.

    This year, we chose 52 finalists from more than 160 entries, and eventually selected 14 as 2012's best data storage products. All the enterprise storage products were judged based on innovation, performance, ease of integration into an environment, ease of use and manageability, functionality and value.

    Congratulations to all our 2012 Products of the Year award winners.

    About the Storage magazine/ Products of the Year

    Storage magazine and invited data storage product companies to nominate new or enhanced products for the 2012 Products of the Year awards. For previously available products, the upgrade must have incorporated significant new features. Products could be submitted in the following six categories: backup and disaster recovery software and services, backup hardware, networking equipment, storage management tools, storage systems and storage system software.

    Products were judged by a panel of users, analysts, consultants, and Storage magazine and editors. Products were rated based on innovation, performance, ease of integration into environment, ease of use and manageability, functionality and value.

    Click on each of the blue highlighted category titles below to find out the winners.

  • Windows Server 2012: New features examined

    Microsoft MVP Brien PoseyMicrosoft MVP Brien Posey

    Adding new storage-related capabilities for the enterprise was a major focus for Microsoft Corp. when developing Windows Server 2012, and it appeared to pay off with the new software winning's Product of the Year award for the storage system software division. There are five Windows Server 2012 new features that data storage managers should know. The inclusion of native iSCSI target software, native deduplication, the Resilient File System (ReFS), Windows Storage Spaces and Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) offer advantages like consolidated management, more redundant and resilient files, and decreased CPU utilization for copy and move operations. To get an in-depth understanding of these new additions, reached out to Microsoft MVP Brien Posey to take a feature-by-feature look at how to install, integrate and optimize Windows Server 2012's new features. Take a look at each video tip below to view Brien's screencasts and read an excerpt from each presentation.

  • Top 5 VMware terms you should know

    Since VMware Inc. launched vSphere 5 in July 2011, the hypervisor vendor has grabbed a large chunk of market share and VMware terms commonly pop up when discussing storage. To help users grasp the most relevant terms, we compiled a list of the top five most-searched VMware definitions on our Storage Media Group sites. We explain each VMware term and a collection of up-to-date news and tips for these important aspects of VMware.

  • Windows Server 2012: New features explained

    The September 2012 release of Windows Server 2012 brought new storage features that were only available previously with dedicated storage products. Major functions in Windows Server 2012, such as deduplication, Resilient File System and Storage Spaces aim to improve availability, capacity and performance, while other aspects such as the dropped shared storage requirement offer greater availability of those features. But with more than 50 new storage capabilities in this product, it's easy for some to be overlooked. This guide will keep you from missing any of the important Windows Server 2012 new features and keep you informed with reviews from experts, a feature drill-down and a quiz to test your understanding.

  • FlexPod vs. Vblock: Comparing integrated stacks

    Companies considering an integrated technology stack -- a framework that combines server, storage and networking gear -- to support their server virtualization environments are likely to find themselves making the FlexPod vs. Vblock comparison. The components of these frameworks come from different vendors, but are pretested to work together as integrated stacks. When comparing FlexPod and Vblock, the biggest difference is that a Vblock stack is purchased preconfigured into one integrated stack, while FlexPod must be constructed post-purchase using NetApp guidelines. This FlexPod vs. Vblock guide compares the two integrated stacks by delving into product descriptions, use cases and market trends so you can determine which one might work better in your virtual environment.

  • EMC World 2013 spotlights software-defined storage

    EMC Corp. CEO Joe Tucci welcomed more than 15,000 attendees to the EMC World 2013 conference at his kickoff keynote and said EMC and its subsidiaries VMware and Pivotal would show how they intend to fit into the new software-defined data center. Speaking at the annual EMC World Las Vegas user event, Tucci set the stage for a conference focused heavily on ViPR, EMC's newest software product and the show's premiere product announcement. "The new buzzwords are abstract, pool and automate," Tucci said. "This is what the software-defined data center is all about at the highest level."

    SearchStorage senior news director Dave Raffo and senior site editor Andrew Burton reported live from the show, and SearchStorage has collected the top news and video coverage from the EMC World 2013 conference in this one-page guide. Learn what the experts are saying about ViPR, EMC's vision for software-defined storage, and how the company is seeking to make "accidental architecture" a thing of the past.