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Behind the firewall 9

IT Looks like Hitachi Data Systems is going to try and counter EMC's move into disk backup with a package of backup technologies. Through reseller and support agreements, the Santa Clara, CA, company will be able to bundle ADIC's tape products, and software from CommVault or Veritas.

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LeftHand Networks has signed a second OEM for its SAN iQ software, which turns generic Intel hardware into a clusterable iSCSI storage server. The first, Crossroads Systems, is marrying its multiprotocol routing software with the LeftHand intellectual property to create an iSCSI-to-Fibre Channel gateway that can be clustered for scalability and performance. Intransa, meanwhile, is reportedly working with IBM Global Services to put its IP SAN technology in rich media and digital surveillance environments. Also on the iSCSI front, FalconStor is reportedly set to announce an iSCSI storage server.
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Hitachi Data Systems is planning on offering Serial ATA (SATA) drives as an option in its Lightning and Thunder systems this summer, but HDS' top brass isn't convinced of the wisdom of this approach. "I'm not sure this is the right thing to do," says Hu Yoshida, HDS CTO, citing SATA reliability specs.

iSCSI fans, eat your heart out: EMC is rumored to be plugging together the components for an iSCSI storage appliance based on TCP/IP chips, host bus adapters (HBAs) and software from Xiran. More about this next quarter, sources say.

On the same note, Microsoft and Intel are expected to announce an iSCSI target next month using Microsoft Windows Server 2003 running on any server maker you care to name. People are apparently lining up around the block for this stuff.

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) made a lot of noise at last month's Storage Networking World about the 14 vendors that had qualified 108 products as compliant with its SMI-S Conformance Testing Program. But one vendor who participated described his company's involvement as "being a good citizen," and went on to say, "Sometimes standards have to emerge for demand to materialize. It's a chicken and egg thing." Whatever it is, it's hardly a rousing endorsement.

Speaking of SNIA, it rolled out its certification testing program at April's Storage Networking World conference, and going forward, plans to put its educational materials, study guides and certification tests online for free--a move that might disrupt the best laid plans of service providers who offer educational information for a fee. The SNIA Storage Networking Certification Program (SNCP) was developed to provide standards for measuring the storage networking expertise of IT professionals.

NetApp's plans to merge its OnTap operating system with the code it acquired from Spinnaker are being slowed by technical difficulties. For one thing, NetApp is committed to integrate common Internet file system (CIFS) code that it licensed from Microsoft. With OnTap written in Forth and CIFS in C, that's not trivial.

Did anybody ask Legato about this? EMC's new Clariion Disk Library, its ATA-based virtual tape library array, doesn't support Legato NetWorker DiskBackup Option (DBO), although other Clariion models do. NetWorker DBO is built on NetWorker 7.0's new advanced file type device, which allows for simultaneous accesses, as opposed to sequential access, so that you can backup a file while restoring from another.

Latest switch rumor: Cisco Systems will acquire storage networking specialist McData, in an effort to buy its way into substantial storage networking revenue. We've heard rumors like these before, but analysts seem to think that this one has some heft to it based on Cisco's stock price, McData's valuation and Cisco's less-than-spectacular storage revenues--about $150 million to date.

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 May 2004

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