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SNW: Day one roundup

Users look to learn more about virtualization and tiered storage, while vendors announce 4 Gbps products, data migration software, backup and replication upgrades.

PHOENIX -- Users appeared to be lost in a sea of vendors at Storage Networking World Tuesday, but we found one or two willing to talk about their storage needs and what they hoped to learn this week.

Laurie Graham, infrastructure architect at NCCI Holdings Inc., is at the show to check out virtualization technology. "We've made lots of piecemeal storage buys, which makes us a good candidate for virtualization," she said. NCCI has Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) and IBM storage and is in the process of buying an EMC Corp. Symmetrix and Clariion. "We could go with any of these for virtualization, which is why I am here to find out more," she said.

Jason Glauch, network operations director at semiconductor manufacturer, Kyocera America Inc., talked during a session on storage for small and midsized businesses about implementing his company's first SAN. Glauch was struggling with more than 100 DAS devices connected to 30 servers, and working on the weekends to restore data loss due to drive failures. The company went with an array from Compellent for its virtualization features and ability to boot from the SAN. Glauch chose the startup over Hewlett-Packard Co.'s EVA and EMC's Clariion largely for pricing reasons. "EMC will kill you with consulting fees even if you just want to add a server," he said.

On the flip side, some users are buying into the notion of cheaper storage from EMC. "We are considering the Clariion … we've always bought Symmetrix, but we're keeping all our data on it, which is expensive, so we're looking to create tiers with the Clariion," said an IT spokesperson for MGM Grand.

Back in vendorville, there were a handful of announcements from replication, and backup and restore players worth noting.

Heeding the call of the midmarket, Advanced Digital Information Corp. (ADIC) launched a new disk-backup appliance for the midsized data center. The Pathlight VX 450 provides 4.2 terabytes (TB) of usable disk capacity and 0.5 TB per hour throughput, which can be dynamically divided between up to 20 virtual drives. It provides integrated tape support for ADIC Scalar libraries, the company said.

Is five the magic number? EVault Inc. unveiled Version 5 of both its EVault InfoStage online backup and recovery software, and the EVault Protect managed service offering. EVault also announced a new reporting suite as well as new versions of its desktop agent and e-mail archive offerings.

Getting into the e-mail game, Asigra Inc. announced that its backup software, Televaulting for Enterprises, now provides message-level restore (MLR) for Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes/Domino and Novell GroupWise. With MLR, users can protect and restore individual or group e-mails, at the mailbox level, without interrupting the e-mail server.

Don't forsake Linux and Unix. Disk-based backup and recovery provider, LiveVault Corp., announced that the company is shipping LiveVault InControl, backup and recovery for remote offices, to customers running Linux and Unix (Sun Solaris) servers. When LiveVault introduced LiveVault InControl in February 2005, it was exclusively for Windows platforms.

It takes two to replicate. NSI Software Inc. announced it has partnered with Internap, a provider that improves performance of applications over IP networks, to jointly market their products. The companies claim that the partnership will offer users continuous data protection with NSI's DoubleTake software and accelerated network performance with Internap's Flow Control Xcelerator that is up to 10-times faster than standard connections.

Meanwhile, on the storage networking front, Cisco Systems Inc. added Fibre Channel (FC) network address translation (NAT) functionality to its MDS SAN Directors and switches. FC NAT allows devices in different fabrics to communicate when those fabrics have addressing conflicts. Cisco's FC NAT capability is offered in conjunction with the Inter VSAN routing feature in its switch. McData Corp. and Brocade Communications Systems Inc. also provide this capability, but on a separate device. "Fibre Channel NAT is becoming important as large companies build additional data centers and require these fabrics to communicate and share resources with older data center SANs," said a spokesperson for Cisco. Mergers and acquisitions are also driving the requirement for interoperability between disparate SANs, the company said.

As expected, 4 Gbps FC products were the order of the day. The standout came from Engenio Information Technologies Inc., which unveiled its 4 Gbps FC array with OEM deals already under its belt from StorageTek Corp. and Silicon Graphics Inc. Engenio's 6998 with 4 Gbps support is the industry's first shipping FC array to support the new protocol. Word has it IBM will announce its rebranded version of the product later this year when it upgrades its entire line with 4 Gbps support.

Sprucing up its HiCommand storage software suite, HDS announced Tiered Storage Manager that lets users move data between arrays without having to stop the application and also keeps the attributes associated with that data, after it is moved. "If a piece of data with RAID-5 protection is moved to an array with RAID-1 protected data, it will automatically adjust the storage to the right level," said Jack Domme, vice president of storage management software at HDS.

Quick to point out that this capability is nothing new, Softek Storage Solutions issued a press release Tuesday saying that since 1996, it has sold heterogeneous data migration software (Softek TDMF and Softek Replicator) that enables data movement that is nondisruptive to applications.

Perhaps with HDS promoting this functionality now, Softek might not need to worry quite so much about its own visibility.

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