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Vol. 3 No. 10 December 2004

Are cheap mirrors better than RAID?

Here's a question for you: If hard disk drives get cheap enough, will storage system vendors start to bypass complex, parity-based data protection schemes like RAID 5? It's an idea whose time may have come. Consider ExaGrid Systems, a network-attached storage (NAS) startup in Westborough, MA, which last month announced the general availability of Advanstor, a storage system that incorporates NAS, backup, automated data migration--aka hierarchical storage management (HSM)--as well as remote replication and disaster recovery, but forgoes RAID altogether. "It's not that there's anything wrong with RAID--there isn't," says Mark Kaufman, ExaGrid president and CEO. "But for us, it just added cost and complexity without adding much value." Instead of RAID within the array, Advanstor protects the data on its primary storage tier by mirroring it multiple times to separate, inexpensive storage nodes, "GRIDdisks" in ExaGrid-speak. GRIDdisks are 1U servers equipped with four 250GB SATA drives in a JBOD configuration, plus ExaGrid's ...

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Features in this issue

  • Tape price hikes looming

    by  Alex Barrett

    In the coming months, expect to pay more for tape cartridges.

  • Match snaps to apps

    Snapshots are key to most shops' backup and recovery plans. But implementing them requires application analysis to determine the best type of snapshots to use and how often to take them.

  • Stress-free firmware upgrades

    Firmware upgrades can be daunting, but you can take some of the fear and frustration out of the process by preparing detailed documentation of your storage environment.

  • Storage salaries edge up

    Storage's second annual Salary Survey finds salaries and bonuses inching upward despite a still sluggish economy. Even with hiring remaining flat, 2005 looks promising for storage salaries.

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