Much of the news in technology this week came out of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas from Monday to Wednesday. Among the highlights for storage consumers were a new home network attached storage (NAS) system from Cisco Systems Corp. subsidiary Linksys and a product package from Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) called the HP MediaSmart Server.
The Linksys product, dubbed the Network Storage System NAS200, includes two 3.5-inch SATA drive bays, two universal serial bus (USB) slots for additional storage capacity, a Web-based management utility and one-touch backup. HP's product is based on the new Windows Home Server operating system and will ship this fall with up to four hard drive bays containing 7,200 rpm SATA disks. With 750 GB hard drives in all four bays, the server can hold up to 6 terabytes (TB) of data.
Another hot issue at CES this year was the religious war between Blu-ray and HD DVD in the optical storage market. Warner Bros. came out with a new hybrid disc that combines the two formats, called TotalHD, which it said will be supported by various retailers. The Blu-ray Disc Association and the HD DVD Promotion Group also used CES to announce partnerships for content creation and authoring systems. HP, which previously announced PCs with HD DVD-ROMs, announced Blu-ray optical drives for its Pavilion PCs.
Finally, next week will see another consumer/small office storage announcement not attached to CES. Imation Corp. will be announcing the general availability of two products: Odyssey removable hard disk cartridges, a lower end version of its Ulysses disk-in-tape cartridges and a rebranded version of ProStor Systems's RDX-format removable disks (ProStor's cartridges are also rebranded by Dell Inc. as part of the new PowerVault RD1000 product and resold by Tandberg Data Corp.).
In conjunction with this announcement, Prostor Systems Inc. has come out with a new 160 GB version of the cartridge, which is compatible with the earlier versions of its drive dock. According to Prostor's CEO and president Steve Georgis, the RDX format, which includes features that make it as rugged as a tape cartridge, was conceived and designed by Prostor, but the product's resellers actually manufacture the disk. Georgis added that Prostor's recent reseller wins point to disk as the future of removable storage, especially in the consumer and small and midsized business (SMB) markets.
"It's a theme," Georgis said. "We've seen music go from cassettes to the iPod and video go from VHS to TiVo. This is a natural extension of that phenomenon."
Georgis said his company also has plans to scale the product up to include enterprise storage features, such as encryption and WORM capability. By 2009, according to Georgis, the company will be offering its removable cartridges in up to 500 GB capacity.
Imation's RDX cartridges -- currently in 40 GB, 80 GB, 120 GB and 160 GB capacities -- are generally available now and the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) starts at $130 per cartridge. Imation's Odyssey, which is packaged with EMC Corp. Retrospect software, is available now at an MSRP ranging from $249 to 349, based on capacity, for an external USB docking station and Odyssey cartridge.
Rumbles of doubt on Wall Street about Brocade, McData merge
During an earnings call in November, Brocade Communications Systems Inc. said it expected Federal Trade Commission (FTC) clearance "soon," and that its merger with McData Corp. would close by this month, but FTC clearance has not been forthcoming, leading some Wall Street analysts to speculate as to whether the $713 million deal is on the up-and-up. The FTC has been slow to clear the deal due to concerns about a lack of competition in the Fibre Channel switch market. However, most storage industry experts predict that the deal will go through, if a little late.
U.S. Army deploys 3PAR
3PARdata Inc. announced that the U.S. Army has selected 3PAR Utility Storage with 3PAR Thin Provisioning and 3PAR Remote Copy to support its Distributed Learning System (DLS) training program for soldiers. The program provides distance learning via the Web for soldiers in the field who need to update their training.
Decru, NeoScale announce financial customers
Decru Inc. announced that Regulus Group, the largest independent bill presentment and remittance company in the U.S., has selected its DataFort encryption appliances to protect Fortune 50 clients' data on both its storage area network (SAN) and tape backups. In a separate release, NeoScale Systems Inc. announced that J.B. Hanauer & Co., an East Coast regional brokerage firm with more than $10 billion in assets, has selected its CryptoStor appliance for its backup tapes.
Storix touts new Linux, AIX backup software
Storix Inc., which markets a product called System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin) for Linux and AIX operating systems, announced version 6 this week. New in the product are bare-metal restore capability, encryption with key management and Oracle database integration.
Lucid8 announces Exchange recovery tool
Lucid8 announced the general availability of DigiScope, a tool for copying, searching, and recovering individual mailboxes, messages, folders, attachments and other email elements within Microsoft Exchange Server without the need for a live database or preindexing. The software is capable of scanning snapshots, images and backups of Exchange 2000, 2003 and 2007 databases for search terms and can also perform nested searches for e-discovery purposes.
Isilon patents file system
Isilon Systems Inc. announced that it has been granted U.S. Patent 7,146,524 for its "Systems and methods for providing a distributed file system incorporating a virtual hot spare." This data protection feature of Isilon's OneFS operating system software dynamically recreates data in the free space of an Isilon IQ storage cluster.