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Behind the firewall 12

On their last legs? Sources report that DataCore and Stonefly are "ready to keel over." They say DataCore has slashed its pricing back so far that its margins are now too low to restock the company vending machine. StoneFly, sporting an IP SAN disk-to-disk backup look last time we checked, banked $12 million in funding a year ago, but what's it been doing with all that dosh? Has it finally run out of costume changes?

@exb

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What's going on with Quantum's SDLT 600 drive? Not a whole lot, it seems. One source tells us that ADIC has put a "stop-ship" on SDLT 600 because of quality problems, but that's not quite right, as ADIC has never actually announced the drive in any of its library models. Nor does ADIC have it on its schedule or price list, a spokesperson confirms. Going forward, ADIC plans to announce it has qualified the SDLT 320 drive for its Scalar i2000 library, which has thus far been an LTO-only product. Quantum, meanwhile, denies any quality problems, only qualification problems. "The drive has done exceedingly well quality-wise in the field," says Steve Berens, Quantum's senior director of product marketing and strategy. But other than Quantum, only Overland and Tandberg Data are shipping the drive. "The others have been slower in qualification than we had hoped," he says.
@exe

Are you buying storage outright? If so, expect the vendor to try and sell you the frame as empty as possible in order to guarantee itself some more revenue down the line in the form of a capacity upgrade. Planning on leasing your storage? Because most vendors sell their leases to technology financing houses, they'll be more inclined to sell you the frame three-quarters full.

EMC is working on some kind of reseller/OEM deal with BMC Software for systems management, sources say. The arrangement, likely to be announced soon, follows a series of integration deals between the two firms and supports EMC's strategy of broadening its reach into new markets. Last July, EMC acquired the rights to BMC's Patrol Storage Manager software and discontinued the product.

EMC is rumored to be requesting bill of material quotes from its suppliers even down to wafer costs, which is a closely guarded secret not much appreciated by the Taiwanese fabs, according to Wall Street insiders. Nonetheless, EMC is hell bent on squeezing more profitability out of its supply chain, as evidenced by its recent move to a hub model for HBAs.

Hewlett-Packard's storage free fall continues to impact its partners. Last month, Emulex announced fourth quarter revenues that fell significantly short of expectations ($85 million, or $.18/share, rather than $102 million, or $.25/share). The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of two large OEMs: EMC, which is fiddling around with direct/indirect sales models of Emulex products, and also HP, which is just plain failing to sell products.

Xiotech is quietly upping the clustering ante by expanding its Magnitude 3D line. Although the 3D has been touted as theoretically infinitely scalable with its "N-way" architecture, thus far the "N" has been limited to two--as in a two-controller configuration. But "N" will soon double, as Xiotech is about to begin a controlled release of four-controller systems for Microsoft server environments. This still leaves Xiotech more than a few paces behind on its original roadmap for the 3D. The company planned offer up to 16-way configurations by the end of this year.

Forget all that talk about EMC Clariion with ATA drives starting at $3/GB. Sources report that pricing is actually much more aggressive: less than $1/GB.

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 August 2004

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