'Avatar' studio brings BlueArc, NetApp together; NetApp launches cloud stack with Cisco and VMware

Headlines: One clustered NAS system couldn't handle all of the 3-D animations and digital effects for blockbuster movie 'Avatar', so Weta Digital turned to BlueArc Titan and NetApp FlexCache to complete the job; The the latest cloud storage-focused alliance between major vendors takes the form of a reference architecture for secure virtual server secure multitenancy drawn up by NetApp with VMware and Cisco.

Storage channel news roundup for Jan. 21-27, 2010

'Avatar' post-production combines BlueArc and NetApp clustered NAS

Weta Digital, the New Zealand company that created digital effects for the blockbuster movie "Avatar," said the film's detailed animations required more horsepower than one clustered network-attached storage (clustered NAS) system could provide on its own.

To support the project, which included new breakthroughs in animating the faces of 3-D characters, Weta Digital set up a combination of BlueArc Corp.'s Titan clustered NAS arrays and NetApp Inc.'s FlexCache. As the effects grew more advanced, the capacities and performance demands involved began to outstrip even the very large systems Weta Digital had in place to support previous projects such as 2005's "King Kong." "'King Kong' used 100 terabytes of storage," said Paul Ryan, Weta Digital's chief technology officer. "For 'Avatar,' we have 100 terabytes of RAM [in our server farm]."

Read the complete story about 'Avatar' and then read Eric Slack's blog post about clustered NAS as another requirement for VARs in 2010.

Secure multitenancy stack for virtual server environments launched by NetApp, Cisco and VMware

NetApp Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and VMware Inc. are continuing the trend of vendor alliances to build end-to-end stacks in support of server virtualization and cloud storage applications. The three vendors this week released a reference architecture for secure multitenancy in VMware-based virtual server environments.

The partners say they have developed, tested and validated the architecture, and have made detailed design guides available for channel partners who will take the lead in selling the stack to customers.

The design guide includes a bill of materials for creating a multitenancy environment that includes VMware's vSphere and VMware vShield Zones; Cisco's Nexus 7000, 5000 and 1000V Series Switches; Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS); and NetApp FAS storage with MultiStore.

Cisco and VMware teamed up with VMware's parent company and NetApp storage rival EMC Corp. last November to launch their own stack from what that triumvirate calls its Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) coalition.

Ed Bugnion, Cisco's chief technology officer (CTO), said the VCE alliance is focused on server virtualization in enterprise data centers with an emphasis on scalability, while this new partnership with NetApp is specifically focused on supporting secure multitenancy in shared environments.

Read the rest of this story about the secure multitenancy stack from NetApp, Cisco and VMware.

BakBone adds data replication to NetVault FASTRecover continuous data protection backup software

BakBone Software Inc. upgraded its NetVault FASTRecover (NVFR) continuous data protection (CDP) data backup software to allow customers to replicate data from remote sites to a centralized file share.

NVFR 4 combines CDP IP that BakBone acquired from Asempra last year with IP from BakBone's NetVault Replicator to allow continuous point-in-time snapshots to be replicated from remote or branch offices (ROBOs) to a central data center. Customers can then use BakBone's NetVault Backup or any third-party backup tool to protect data at the data center.

Read up on snapshot vs. CDP for Exchange data protection.

Symantec injects data deduplication into NetBackup 7 and Backup Exec 2010

Symantec Corp. will enhance the data deduplication capabilities in its Backup Exec and NetBackup software in new versions that will be available next week, a move that analysts and customers say makes the data backup software market leader more competitive in an area where it lost ground to competitors last year.

Backup Exec 2010 and NetBackup 7 will become generally available Feb. 1, Symantec said this week. Backup Exec 2010 will include a data archiving option thanks to the new integration of IP from Enterprise Vault, integrated data deduplication at the source as well as the media server, and granular virtual server backup.

NetBackup 7 will include source-based data deduplication to go with its previous integration at the media server level, continuous data protection (CDP) backup data replication, and better support for virtual server backups.

NetBackup 7 will cost $7,995 for an Enterprise Server and five client licenses. Backup Exec 2010's price will be $1,174 for a media server license and basic maintenance, $2,708 with deduplication, and $3,888 with archiving.

Read about motivators and the market landscape in primary storage data deduplication and data reduction.

EMC sees IT spending recovery, plans further cloud storage push in 2010

EMC Corp. this week said its fourth-quarter sales were better than expected and gave an optimistic outlook for 2010 with plans to expand its product lines in the areas of cloud storage, virtual data centers and data backup.

Overall revenues for last quarter were $4.1 billion, compared with EMC's forecast of $4 billion. The revenue was an increase of 17% sequentially and 2% year over year. The results also beat Wall Street estimates, but financial analysts had anticipated a strong quarter for EMC following reports of earnings increases at IBM's storage division and disk drive supplier Seagate Technologies Inc. last week.

David Goulden, executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO) at EMC, said the company had seen evidence that priorities are shifting among customers along with the increase in purchasing. Specifically, Goulden said, the EMC consulting business "tends to be a leading indicator of customers' IT plans," and that business unit is seeing new initiatives rather than a strict focus on cost cutting.

Read Eric Slack's blog post about when customers don't need cloud services.

StorServer enhances channel program

StorServer, a midmarket data backup vendor, announced an expanded partner program, SP3 (STORServer Partner Program). The program includes training, lead generation tools, ROI calculators, multimedia offerings, telemarketing services, a partner portal with downloadable collateral materials and quarterly incentives programs aimed at the three levels of participation: Select, Premier and Elite. StorServer is also introducing its MicroSite, which will enable VARs to provide to customers quick access to all StorServer collateral, product information and the latest catalog of streaming videos on their own Web site.

Additional storage news

Check out last week's storage channel news roundup.

Dig deeper on Network-Attached Storage (NAS)

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