Behind the firewall 10

EMC outsourcing ... NetApp NearStor mania.

An EMC employee tells us that the company has begun outsourcing its software quality assurance testing to India,...

and that Hopkinton-based employees are none too happy about it. Sources close to EMC say that the center is either in Bangalore or Poona.


Speaking of EMC, we also hear there's a rift between two sides of the EMC house: hardware and software, led respectively by Dave Donatelli, executive vice president of storage platforms operations, and Mark Lewis, executive vice president, open software. At issue is software "sales" and who is responsible for generating them. Initially, Lewis, an HP transplant, was assigned star status, our source tells us, but failure to produce has shifted power back into the Donatelli camp, and put Lewis on probation.

What's on Cisco's roadmap? This summer, we hear that it will announce new line cards for its MDS switch with an increased port count. Instead of 16- and 32-port versions, it will now offer them in 24- or 48-port configurations. We also hear that it will offer a new IP services card with 14 Fibre Channel ports and two IP ports that can run either iSCSI or FCIP.

Jack McDonald, the "Mc" in McData, has come out of retirement and founded a new storage software venture that is located literally across the street from his former company. Word is they're developing policy-based storage area network management software.

EMC has talked publicly for months about its intention to round-out its information lifecycle management (ILM) strategy with a full line of tape products. The six million dollar question is which tape company will it choose? The lucky bunny is likely to be StorageTek, a source says. EMC already resells Quantum's tape libraries, but it's been awfully quiet about this deal of late.

Brocade is reported to be scheduling a 20% reduction in force (RIF), otherwise known as a layoff, with the help of new board member Sanjay Vaswani, who has earned a reputation as a cost cutter. When asked, a Brocade spokesperson said it is company policy not to comment on rumors and speculation.

Has NetApp created a monster with its NearStore line? One of the company's larger customers has stopped buying anything but NearStore from NetApp because at only $1/GB to $2/GB, the performance is more than adequate for his needs. The software is the same as on NetApp's higher-end, Fibre Channel drive-based models and the customer is undaunted by NearStore's 12TB minimum.

Thanks, but no thanks? At the recent Storage Decisions Spring 2004 conference, more than 50% of the users in the audience at the "Rate the SRM Vendor's Panel" indicated they were looking beyond traditional storage providers to independent third-party software providers to deliver their storage resource management (SRM) solution.

The long-awaited low-end Clariion is almost here, sources say. Code-named Piranha, it may in fact already have been announced by the time you read this. But with a wimpy twelve disk drives, we have to wonder if Piranha isn't a bit of a misnomer ... kind of like calling your Chihuahua "Killer."

What are IBM's research scientists working on these days? Lots. IBM Fellow Jai Menon, who heads up IBM storage research at the Almaden Research Center gave journalists a sneak peak at a couple of its more promising research projects. For example, he showed off IceCube, a futuristic storage system that uses a 12-inch cube as a building block, and that may one day replace Shark. Another area where engineers are hard at work is on RAID schemes that can withstand multiple disk failures--one scheme is as efficient as RAID 1 (mirroring), but can protect against three simultaneous disk failures, Menon says.

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
This was last published in June 2004

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