The role of storage in IBM-Sun deal; The Planet launches cloud service

Headlines: Storage observers parse out what role storage would play in the potential IBM-Sun deal, and The Planet goes live with its Storage Cloud service.

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Storage channel news roundup for March 19-24, 2009

Storage role in potential IBM-Sun deal debated

With a potential buyout of Sun Microsystems by IBM on the table, storage observers are parsing out what role storage technologies might play in the deal. Storage is hardly the main driver of the talks, but if the deal goes through, it would let IBM consolidate the enterprise tape library market and extend the open-source model that Sun has embraced.

On the storage side, Sun still has the tape business it acquired with StorageTek for $4.1 billion in 2005, but its disk storage comes mainly from OEM partners -- Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) in the enterprise, LSI (also an IBM disk OEM partner) in the midrange, and Dot Hill Systems Corp. for entry-level systems.

Buying Sun would give IBM a lock on the enterprise tape market, but that shrinking market is unlikely the impetus for a multibillion dollar deal.

Read the full story on how storage technologies might have a role in a buyout of Sun by IBM.

The Planet expands cloud cover

Managed hosting service provider The Planet this week went live with its Storage Cloud service. The Planet first announced limited availability of the Storage Cloud network-attached storage (NAS) service based on a partnership with Nirvanix Inc. last fall. Today, the hosted service is generally available and The Planet is also opening up its cloud to non-hosted, storage-only customers.

Storage Cloud works as a Nirvanix node at The Planet's Dallas data center or one of its other four facilities -- two in the United States plus one in Germany and one in Japan. Customers access data through Nirvanix CloudNAS, Nirvanix FTP Proxy or an API.

Capacity-based pricing starts at $0.25 per GB on a remote node and $0.40 per GB on The Planet's local node for the first 5 TB; bandwidth costs $0.15 per GB for the first 10 TB transferred.

Check out our cloud computing cheat sheet.

Data Domain rolls out speedier midrange data deduplication box

Data Domain recently launched a new midrange data deduplication device based on quad-core processors, which the vendor says gives it a significant performance boost over its dual-core processor systems.

The DD660 is Data Domain's second quad-core system, following the enterprise DD690 that was rolled out last year. Data Domain claims the DD660 can dedupe data at up to 2 TB an hour, or at 550 MBps.

The DD660 base model includes 12 TB in a 2U rackmount chassis, and scales to 36 TB of raw capacity. Like the Data Domain DD690 quad-core enterprise system launched last year, the DD660 supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet as well as network-attached storage (NAS), CIFS, Symantec Corp. NetBackup OST or virtual tape library (VTL) interfaces.

Compare host-based vs. VTL vs. NAS data deduplication approaches.

EMC strengthens Iomega NAS

EMC is upgrading the StorCenter ix2 network-attached storage (NAS) system from its Iomega subsidiary, adding remote-access capabilities, direct torrent downloading, folder quotas, and support for jumbo-frames and Apple File Protocol (AFP).

EMC acquired Iomega last year, then launched the StorCenter ix2 last October.

Iomega COO Tom Kampfer said the company is scaling some EMC technologies to fit the prosumer and SMB market. Kampfer said Iomega will continue to "use EMC technologies that make sense" for the smaller markets throughout 2009.

Check out our NAS hardware topics page.

Seagate introduces BlackArmor NAS boxes

Seagate launched two new network-attached storage (NAS) devices this week to join a crowded field of consumer/prosumer storage products, including recent rollouts from EMC and Hitachi GST.

Seagate's BlackArmor NAS 420 and 440 are designed for ease of use and include encryption, but lack a connection with cloud storage services that some of the competition has.

The NAS 420 is a two-drive system in a half-populated four-drive bay, and the NAS 440 is fully populated with four drives. The products are aimed at shops with up to 50 clients, according to Naser Mgariaf, senior manager, product line management, Seagate consumer solution division.

Users can provision the system with up to four volumes, and share files from the devices via the Web. Management is also done through a Web interface. The NAS boxes support Windows, Mac and Linux hosts. However, there is no way to manage multiple boxes centrally.

Get advice for choosing between NAS, Fibre Channel SAN or iSCSI SAN.

Storage Guardian rolls out online backup services to VARs, MSPs

Storage Guardian is appealing to VARs and MSPs with online backup services that can be offered to customers under the reseller's own branding. The company says its service brings enterprise-grade backup to SMBs with features such as bare-metal restore and lifecycle management and the ability to handle more than 80 GB of data.

Storage Guardian's tiered storage function enables VARs and MSPs to manage their customers' data, moving rarely accessed data to less expensive storage. The company said this feature is optimized for VARs and MSPs because it requires an expert for deployment. VARs and MSPs also get a price discount on the service.

The service is available on a 30-day free trial basis.

Axcient launches hybrid on-premise/off-site storage services

Newcomer Axcient this week launched its pay-as-you-grow backup service for SMBs that it will sell through IT solutions providers. The service consists of an on-premise backup and replication appliance with offsite storage and services aimed at organizations with less than 500 workstations and 10 TB of data. Axcient provides data backup for laptops, servers and workstations; data retention for archiving and compliance; and disaster recovery services. For disaster recovery, it will ship a new appliance with the customer's data within 24 hours of a site failure.

Storage product news of the week

Check out SearchStorage.com's rundown of the week's product news, and find last week's storage channel news roundup here.

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