Sun claims open storage traction; will Oracle approve? VMware vSphere 4's thin provisioning interest

Headlines: Sun makes incremental updates to its Amber Road NAS appliances and claims the open storage product line has amassed 800 customers in six months. But will Oracle Corp. approve its future? Storage management is a challenge in virtual server environments, but beta users of VMware vSphere 4 look forward to its thin provisioning and other improved storage features.

Storage channel news roundup for April 29-May 6, 2009

Sun claims open storage traction; will Oracle approve?

Sun Microsystems Inc. is boosting the capacity of its Amber Road network-attached storage (NAS) appliances, which the vendor says has more than 800 paying customers in the six months since its release. However, Amber Road's future depends upon Oracle Corp. once the firm completes its $5.6 billion acquisition of Sun.

Graham Lovell, Sun's senior director of open storage, said approximately 8,700 people have downloaded the "simulator" demo version of the FISHworks/Amber Road software since last November. The software includes CIFS, NFS and VMware integration, as well as automated provisioning of solid-state storage in some models and performance analytics.

Sun is adding capacity to two of its Amber Road appliance models today. The entry-level Sun Storage 7110 system's maximum capacity doubles to 4 TB with the addition of 300 GB SAS disks. The Sun Storage 7210 midrange model now supports two expansion disk trays, bringing its total capacity to 142 TB with 1 TB SATA disks.

Check out our collection of resources on the Oracle-Sun deal, "Oracle-Sun convergence: What VARs need to know."

VMware vSphere 4 beta users like thin provisioning for virtual disks

Thin provisioning for virtual disks is the most eagerly anticipated storage feature in VMware Inc.'s VMware vSphere 4, according to a sampling of beta testers.

VMware officially launched its next-generation enterprise virtualization product suite last month, although it remains in beta. VMware customers contacted by SearchStorage.com said storage management remains one of the biggest challenges in virtual server environments and they look forward to vSphere 4's improved storage features.

"One of the things we've been very clear about in deploying virtual servers is that storage is something we have continued to stay focused on," said Brad Blake, director of IT at Boston Medical Center, following the New England VMware User Group (VMUG) spring meeting in Newport, R.I., last week. The hospital has 500 TB on several EMC Corp. Clariion CX3 Model 40 arrays, 200 TB of which stores virtual machine data.

Many storage arrays offer thin provisioning that would allow capacity to be overallocated before being presented to the virtual server. However, before this VMware release, the virtual server itself would still demand full allocation for virtual disks and leave space unused.

Read the full story on the VMware vSphere 4 beta.

Symantec launches Managed Backup Services for NetBackup customers

Symantec Corp. last week launched Managed Backup Services, an "out-tasking" offering meant to find middle ground between in-house data management and Software as a Service (SaaS) for enterprise Veritas NetBackup customers.

Customers who sign up for the Symantec service would pay a monthly subscription fee starting at $37 per server per month. They can sign up for monitoring eight hours per day, (users can select the specific hours of the day), 16 hours per day, or 24 hours every day. Symantec personnel would do incident management and performance of restore requests from Symantec's network operations centers (NOCs).

Read our Hot Spot Tutorial on managed backup services, featuring stories on the pros and cons, various approaches and best practices, plus a podcast on the top five reasons to move your customer to managed backup services.

Data Domain improves data replication features with Replicator upgrade

Data Domain is expanding its data replication capabilities with an eye toward making its data deduplication backup devices more useful for large enterprises.

The main additions to the Data Domain Replicator software upgrade released this week are support for full system replication mirroring and 90-to-1 remote site fan-in.

Full system replication mirroring lets customers replicate an entire system mirror at once instead of replicating a single file or directory. Data Domain Vice President of Product Management Brian Biles said full system replicating is the fastest method for replicating data.

"It's simpler and faster because it just sends data as it arrives," Biles said. "As soon as a file shows up, it becomes available for restore."

By expanding Replicator's maximum fan-in from 50-to-1 to 90-to-1, a Data Domain DD690 can support more remote sites.

Get advice for choosing among remote data replication approaches: hardware- vs. host vs. backup-based replication.

Emulex issues hostile rejection to Broadcom's unsolicited $764M bid

Emulex Corp. on Monday issued a hostile rejection to Broadcom Corp.'s hostile takeover attempt.

The Emulex board turned down the $764 million offer Broadcom made for the host bus adapter (HBA) and converged network connectivity vendor, claiming the chipmaker was looking to cash in on unannounced OEM deals secured by Emulex and take advantage of its depressed stock price in "unprecedented" economic conditions. Emulex executive chairman Paul Folino also accused Broadcom of misrepresenting the poison pill Emulex enacted following Broadcom's offer in December.

Read the full story on Emulex's rejection of Broadcom's bid.

IBM bundles up data protection for smaller companies

IBM Corp. is packaging up a new hardware-software bundle for its FastBack continuous data protection (CDP) software meant to give SMB customers a turnkey approach to data protection.

The new bundle, dubbed the Comprehensive Data Protection Solution (CDP-S) is priced starting at $10,000. It includes FastBack software, based on IBM's acquisition of CDP vendor FilesX Inc. last April, as well as a System x3550 server to run the application and the user's choice of IBM's DS3000 Express, DS4000 Express or DS5000 storage systems.

Find info about data protection services on our Data Protection and Backup Services topics page.

BakBone acquires continuous data protection partner Asempra

BakBone Software Inc. has acquired its Windows data backup and continuous data protection (CDP) partner Asempra Technologies Inc. in a mixed cash and stock transaction valued at just under $2 million.

BakBone said Monday it will issue 3.8 million shares of its common stock to Asempra's stakeholders, including investors who pumped more than $36 million into the company before it ran out of capital and failed to raise more funding. Asempra had fewer than 100 customers, who will now be offered support through BakBone.

BakBone already sells Asempra's Business Continuity Server (BCS) branded as BakBone NetVault: Real-Time Data Protector through an OEM and joint development deal the companies entered into a year ago. NetVault: Real-Time Data Protector restores data on Exchange, SQL Server or Windows file systems after a server problem.

Learn about snapshot vs. CDP for Exchange data protection.

Oracle and LSI claim BLOB performance breakthrough

Oracle Corp. and partner LSI Corp. said they've modeled a new reference architecture for managing unstructured data with the Oracle database rather than a file system. The companies say internal benchmarks show LSI's Engenio 7900 system boosted the performance of the SecureFiles feature for Oracle Database 11g in line with file systems.

Oracle and LSI said the newly updated 7900 disk array was clocked at up to 4.5 GBps performance in internal testing when attached to a seven-node Oracle RAC cluster running SecureFiles. A single-node configuration was measured at 700 MBps attached to 243 Fibre Channel (FC) 15K rpm drives.

Oracle launched SecureFiles with the release of the 11g database in 2007. It offers a management framework within Oracle databases for storing metadata on unstructured data objects such as images.

Find resources on Oracle 11g in this Oracle Database 11g study guide.

QLogic buys NetXen for 10 Gigabit Ethernet silicon

QLogic Corp. acquired 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) chip startup NetXen Inc. for $21 million last week in the latest marriage of Fibre Channel (FC) and Ethernet vendors anticipating the convergence of the storage-area network (SAN) and local-area network (LAN).

NetXen makes silicon for 10 GbE network interface cards (NICs) and LAN on motherboard (LOM) chips. The 90-person company will provide QLogic with that piece of the convergence picture to go with iSCSI, Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) for its next generation of converged network adapters (CNAs). IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. sell NetXen 10 GbE adapters.

While the acquisition is small from a purchase price standpoint, it's part of a larger developing trend.

Read the full story on QLogic's acquisition of NetXen.

TweetPhoto cobbles together cloud services for storage

A startup generating buzz in the Web 2.0 world has turned to Rackspace Inc.'s Mosso cloud service to store users' photos, but found it needed the assistance of another third party to speed the upload process.

TweetPhoto Inc., in beta since late March, is looking to become an add-on service to the popular social network Twitter. The service would allow customers to upload and display links to mobile photos on Twitter, similar to an already-established service called TwitPic, but with more advanced photo sharing and sorting features.

TweetPhoto co-founder and CEO Sean Callahan had used Rackspace's Mosso subsidiary to store files for another project beginning approximately a year ago.

Read the full story on TweetPhoto.

Compellent expands reach of channel partnerships into France and Italy

Storage vendor Compellent Technologies announced last week that it's added channel partners in France and Italy to its ranks. The Eden Prairie, Minn., company says it now has several hundred channel partners, in 34 countries. Compellent has no direct sales force, and the company plans to continue recruiting channel partners.

Cancer center deploys scale-out NAS with help from Talon Data Systems

Scale-out NAS vendor Isilon Systems recently announced that customer City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, turned to solution provider Talon Data Systems for an Isilon IQ implementation designed to speed DNA sequencing operations and research around cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.

The City of Hope project entailed deployment of the Isilon IQ scale-out NAS system. Isilon said that City of Hope has unified mission-critical genomic data, increased workflow productivity and reduced storage management costs with Isilon IQ. Talon provided workflow analysis for the project, as well as installation and ongoing support services, according to Isilon.

VeriStor certifies Nexsan products

Nexsan, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., announced recently that its family of disk-based storage systems has been recognized by solution provider VeriStor in the brand-new VeriStor Certified Technology Partner Program.

Ashby Lincoln, CEO of Atlanta-based VeriStor, said, "Nexsan has developed a complete family of highly reliable, enterprise-class green storage solutions that met our stringent criteria for high performance, reliability and value and we are pleased to name them among our list of VeriStor Certified Products."

The certification program is designed to "validate solutions from multiple storage and virtualization hardware and software vendors for optimal use in an enterprise-class implementation," according to VeriStor's Web site.

Storage news of the week

Find last week's storage channel news roundup here.

Dig deeper on Network-Attached Storage (NAS)

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