SD '04: Roundup of news from Day One

Microsoft, EMC, Cisco and a raft of other vendors took the wraps off new products at Storage Decisions, some a little more tangible than others.

CHICAGO -- Throughout the day at Storage Decisions 2004 conference, vendors jostled for the attention of over 500 storage users, touting new products, features, roadmaps and partnerships that offer a taste of what's hot in storage over the next few months.

Here's the lowdown, in alphabetical order to prevent any fights:

Cisco Systems Inc. introduced two new products: the MDS 9216i fabric switch and the MDS 9000 Multiprotocol Services Module. Both offer 14 Fibre Channel ports (1 GBps or 2 GBps) along with two IP ports that can be configured to support either Fibre Channel over Internet Protocol (FCIP) or iSCSI. A new version of the MDS operating system -- SAN-OS 2.0 -- provides hardware-assisted compression, FCIP tape acceleration, hardware-based IPsec encryption and extended Fibre Channel buffer credits, which Cisco said makes SAN extension for business continuance and disaster recovery more affordable and secure. And just in case that isn't secure enough, Cisco has partnered with storage security specialist Decru to encrypt the data once it reaches the disk system.

EMC Corp. unveiled a package for its channel partners to sell called Express Solution for E-mail. The bundle includes a Clariion mid-tier storage array with FC and ATA drives, Legato EmailXtender archive edition software to expand user mailbox sizes while moving and compressing old e-mail to lower-cost drives, Replication Manager/SE software that automates Clariion-based replication, and lastly an Exchange Accelerator Service that offer users design and deployment guidance for EMC products. The first package, which is for Microsoft Exchange e-mail only, starts at $120,000 list and goes up to $370,000 depending on the size of the configuration.

Falconstor Software Inc. announced IPStor WORMLock option for NAS, which facilitates archiving and retrieval of files based on the increasingly popular write-once-read-many standard (WORM), and can attach a hidden digital signature to uniquely identify each file and protect it from being changed for a specified period of time. Also new, a Capacity-on-Demand option assists users in creating an information lifecycle management (ILM) process by automatically performing real-time disk space provisioning based on policies.

Isilon Systems presented a new case study of its IP-based clustered storage system, which has been deployed by the University of California Santa Barbara's (UCSB) Alexandria Digital Library (ADL) to store one of the world's largest geographically referenced data libraries. ADL collections, which include maps, satellite and other imagery, are used by researchers, engineers, governments and conservation organizations worldwide to visualize and track the physical world. Some of the ADL collections include digital elevation maps and graphics of the United States, imagery from more than 800 expeditions by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and world maps from the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

Microsoft Corp. did its usual thing of pre-announcing a product that won't actually be available for another 12 months. Said product is a disk-based backup appliance called Data Protection Server (DPS) and is aimed at small businesses looking to improve their data recovery by lessening their reliance on tape. For more details on this story click here.

Meanwhile, Veritas Software Inc. executives held their own during a roundtable on the same subject of data protection, despite barbed comments from the press over its lack of participation in Microsoft's DPS announcement. Veritas currently backs up over 50% of Windows servers in operation today, but was noticeably absent from Redmond's shopping list of DPS partners. "We are already doing data protection. NetBackup has been able to do disk-based backup since its inception," said Robert Maness, senior director of marketing at Veritas. "We don't want to be part of a Microsoft 'vision' when we are already offering this capability today." Fair point.

In the SRM corner, Storability Software announced that it has added more device coverage, business analytics and reporting tools to its products as well as making it easier to install. Imagine that, a product with a feature that tells you what tapes are available for backup purposes. It doesn't sound all that exciting, but at $60 a tape, in a large organization with thousands of tapes, that's a nice little saving.

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