Feature

Behind the firewall 13

A few months back, we reported that Microsoft was on the cusp of unveiling iSCSI target code for Windows 2000, which would make it possible to turn any Windows server into an iSCSI disk array. Apparently, that rumor was the result of wishful thinking on a now defunct start-up's part, as Microsoft has flat out denied this rumor. Sorry, folks.

@exb

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There's no such thing as a stupid question, but apparently EMC thinks there's such a thing as too many questions. The EMC account manager for a large Midwestern firm recently called the storage administration team to tell them they were placing too many "question calls" to the EMC Software Assistance Center (SAC). An example of a question call--as opposed to a "break-fix" call--might be, "How do I replace the HBA in a zone without recreating the zone?" The account manager reportedly called back the next day to apologize, saying that the excessive number of question calls placed had been a "misrepresentation." But nevertheless, he informed them that question calls would be responded to within 24 hours, and not the two-hour response times they were used to.
@exe

But iSCSI is still the focus of senior Microsoft executives' view of how Exchange will be deployed. That's despite the company's announcement earlier this year that it would enable Exchange to use Windows Storage Server, a total about-face from its prior position of no support for Exchange on NAS. Microsoft's plans for iSCSI include a new round of iSCSI drivers next year, which will include support for multipath I/O.

Another persistent rumor--that IBM is about to re-enter the low-end NAS market with a product based on Microsoft Windows Storage Server--has also been quashed by IBM itself. IBM discontinued its Windows-based NAS products in 2003.

Do software vendors seem difficult to do business with as of late? An executive at one storage software company says that Sarbanes-Oxley is really putting the squeeze on how companies can report income, and gone may be the days of creative bundles, "free" maintenance, etc.

EMC sales reps are pushing Clariion over Symmetrix DMX in a big way. A consultant tells us that they told a customer to buy a DMX rather than a Clariion for second-tier storage so they wouldn't have to keep two separate sets of scripts for mirrors and replication. Also, the price difference between a DMX RAID5 and a Clariion with RAID1 was insignificant. When EMC got wind of this, they cut the Clariion pricing in half, and raised the DMX price! It seems margins and sales commissions for Clariion are just better, the consultant offers.

Ever wonder where EMC salespeople learn to be so devious? Straight from the top. The Boston Globe recently reported that EMC founder Richard Egan has personally contributed the maximum amount allowed by law--$2,000--to Ralph Nader's presidential campaign. Egan, meanwhile, is the Bush campaign's finance director for Massachusetts.

Will Engenio IPO, or No? Yes, is the word on the street, just not now. Engenio, spun out from LSI Logic last year, had planned an IPO for last month, but shelved it due to poor earnings announcements and "market conditions." But when the climate gets better, watch for storage IPO fireworks, observers say.

Sepaton--the "no tapes" spelled backward company--says its climb from startup obscurity was boosted by a recent Wells Fargo order for five of its D2D backup devices. Sepaton CEO Mike Worhach says software will be a key focus for the company, starting with a synthetic backup application it unveiled at the Veritas Vision conference. Also in development are end-user restore and remote replication applications.

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 September 2004

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