Fusion-io to add software, SSD-based storage systems; EMC clusters Symmetrix high-end disk arrays

Headlines: Startup Fusion-io's strategy is to push into the SSD-based systems market with software features like snapshots; EMC's new V-Max Symmetrix system adds the ability to pool multiple modular systems under one management framework.

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Storage channel news roundup for April 9-15, 2009

Fusion-io plans to add software, SSD-based storage systems

Fusion-io Inc. CEO David Bradford said the startup will use its recent $47.5 million Series B funding round to develop software and expand from the components market into making solid-state-based networked storage systems.

Fusion-io previewed its ioSAN at SNW last week. The product adds a 10 GbE iSCSI interface to the ioDrive PCIe card it's already shipping. Multiple ioSAN cards can slot into servers, and multiple servers can be put together as a clustered NAS system.

Read up on what customers are looking for in SSD.

EMC clusters Symmetrix high-end disk arrays

EMC Corp. this week unveiled V-Max, a new modular version of its Symmetrix disk arrays with software-based performance improvements. The vendor also plans to add automated storage tiering software to the new system later this year.

The new Symmetrix V-Max follows the DMX-4 in the Symmetrix family, although the DMX-4 will remain on the market. V-Max has a virtual matrix or mesh architecture that connects multiple modular disk arrays, front-end and back-end director servers, and chunks of global memory to a high-speed interconnect similar to a switch. The interconnect protocol can be FICON, Fibre Channel (FC) or iSCSI. By contrast, the DMX-4 uses a direct-matrix architecture in which directors within the chassis are hard-wired directly to a backplane inside the frame.

As with the DMX-4, V-Max can flexibly move data around while hosts are connected using virtual logical unit numbers (LUNs). But the Symmetrix Enginuity OS sees storage resources differently in V-Max. It views and manages hardware assets, including ports and storage devices, in groups rather than as individual elements. V-Max includes new software wizards to make provisioning simpler with this release.

Hosted email archiving services meets SMB's growing needs

New York-based Needham & Company might be an SMB, but as CIO Chris Ricciuti has found, when it comes to records retention and email archiving, size doesn't matter.

"We're an investment bank regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and therefore, even though we only have 200 employees, we still have to retain, or archive, our email for seven years," Ricciuti said.

The Needham IT team had originally tried to do this task in-house, but quickly found that it was too taxing on their already stretched staff. "The on-premise approach was an administrative nightmare between the initial cost, installing the hardware and software, and assigning ongoing management resources," he said.

To alleviate the burden on his team, Ricciuti subscribed to Proofpoint Inc.'s email archiving Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Now he simply has an appliance on site connected to his mail server, which journals all email and sends it to the Proofpoint data center. He said the benefits were immediate: "Everything runs transparent to us, so I've freed up the person who used to spend a lot of time on the onsite archive and we've gotten a lot more stability and functionality."

Brian Babineau, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., said Ricciuti is not alone in turning to hosted email archiving.

Read the full story on hosted email archiving at Needham & Company.

Data Robotics automates RAID 6, thin provisioning for SMBs with DroboPro

Data Robotics Inc. announced at SNW last week that it's taking its self-healing consumer desktop storage device into the SMB market with DroboPro, an eight-bay device with beefed up data protection and management features.

DroboPro supports drives up to 2 TB in size. DroboPro offers a choice of Firewire, USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet iSCSI connections. iSCSI connections can be established automatically when the device is first plugged in to the network.

Other features Drobo added for businesses include dual-disk protection and thin provisioning.

Drobo has been shipping a four-bay desktop product for consumers since 2007. DroboPro lets customers mix and match disks of varying capacities from different drive makers in the same RAID group, automatically applying a combination of mirroring and striping to protect data without user intervention.

New Symantec CEO stresses product integration

Symantec Corp.'s Veritas NetBackup and Enterprise Vault will eventually share a common interface and policy structure, and most of the company's software products will be available as a service within five years, said new CEO and President Enrique Salem at SNW.

Speaking at a press luncheon on Tuesday, Salem said the company is still working to deepen integration across its storage and security product lines. Enterprise Vault and Veritas NetBackup have been able to share back-end storage hardware since 2005, but the two will eventually meld into one.

Check out details of Symantec's partner program.

SandForce seeks to improve SSD controllers

SandForce Inc., a silicon provider for solid-state drive (SSD) OEMs, emerged from stealth mode this week with a line of processors for SSD controllers it claims will improve the reliability and endurance of NAND Flash-based drives.

SandForce claims its SF-1000 SSD is compatible with all major single-level cell (SLC) and multi-level cell (MLC) Flash memory vendors. The SF-1000 features a 3 Gbps native SATA host interface that connects up to 512 GB of commodity NAND flash memory and delivers 30,000 IOPS and 250 Mbps performance while reading or writing 4 KB data blocks.

Read about flash-based solid-state disk vs. DRAM-based solid-state disk.

Atrato adds solid state, smarter software

Atrato Inc., which came out of stealth a year ago with self-healing Velocity1000 (V1000) storage arrays, is adding solid-state support and upgraded software to intelligently migrate data between tiers.

The V1000 will support four- and eight-pack solid-state drive (SSD) units within the controller for a maximum of 1.2 TB of capacity. Atrato will also support what it calls a just a bunch of flash (JBOF) system with 10 SSDs in a 1U container for a max of 1.6 TB. The V1000 supports single-level cell (SLC) and multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash or a combination of SLC and MLC.

Atrato's first SSD partner is Intel Corp. -- it will support Intel X25-E SLC and X25-M MLC SSDs -- but CEO and President Steve Visconti said Atrato has tested devices from Fusion-io, Micron Technology Inc. and STEC Inc., and will support more types of solid state down the road.

More storage product news

Find last week's storage channel news roundup here.

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