Feature

Behind the Firewall 2

With EMC being the first big disk player to announce a commercially available ATA-based block storage disk array, you have to figure others will soon follow. But maybe not Hewlett-Packard: Sources tell us that it will bypass ATA and will do a sweetheart deal with Seagate for serial SCSI disks. But you can expect ATA offerings from the rest of the pack within the next six months.

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One large Midwestern company is having huge problems trying to get from EMC's ECC (EMC Control Center) 5.0 to 5.1. There's been a technical person onsite for more than a month trying to iron out the issues. Another site--in the great state of Texas--required a full week to get the software up and running. Other users complain that EMC has gotten into a Microsoft-like cycle where each patch fixes the old bugs, only to add some new ones.
@exe

A little bird told us that Hitachi Data Systems is feeling mighty cocky about its high-end 9900 system vs. EMC's new DMX in terms of raw performance, now that HDS users are trialing the DMX in their shops.

IBM's Shark has quietly become a rock-solid platform. Users are happy with the stability and reliability, and really only complain about the management tools. Performance is clearly good enough. I don't hear any complaints about it.

We bet by the time you're reading this, Legato will have been purchased, probably by EMC. The long-standing rumor is finally looking like it will take flight. We hear Veritas and Microsoft just missed the bid, although Veritas supposedly stuck it to EMC by rebidding to drive the price up. There's reportedly a crew of finance and engineering people scouring the books and the code to ensure everything is up to snuff. Will one of those guys go after CommVault now? Microsoft tried unsuccessfully last year, but perhaps it will take another run.

Cisco has eaten a little humble pie. They now are playing a little nicer, realizing that the Fibre Channel switch decision is really based on the storage OEM, not their own networking marketing muscle. EMC is the last partner to avoid a Cisco deal, but that will have to change. Cisco reps are actively trying to be good partners by bringing deals to the people who resell the MDS line--HDS, IBM, and HPQ.

We also hear EMC will buy the patent portfolio of MTI, which owns many of the RAID patents. MTI will then become an EMC reseller and service provider. This is a good move if you ask us, because MTI still has thousands of sites that need to be migrated to someone's disk platform.

Ken Hendrickson, former CEO of switch maker Ancor, has reappeared as chairman of the board and CEO of Xiotech. Xiotech was recently spun out of Seagate and judging by the morale boost at the company, the move was positive.

If you heard a rumor about FalconStor pertaining to selling certain restricted technology to certain restricted countries--that has proven to be false. The company, it seems, is quietly moving more and more software through the ranks. We've also heard that its snapshot and replication software is being well received by some big customers.

Have you noticed how well McData is doing in the face of a brutal economy and a giant like Cisco entering their market? It goes to show you that having solid reliability in the core of a storage network really means something to people.

Behind the Firewall is written by a team of industry insiders who, for obvious reasons, prefer to remain anonymous. If you have tips, send them to btf@storagemagazine.com.

This was first published in April 2003

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