HDS, Microsoft work on unified computing platform; EMC confirms Clariion and Celerra consolidation

Headlines: HDS says its unified computing platform will consolidate server, storage and network via software based on an OEM of Microsoft's System Center software; EMC's Tucci reveals under questioning from Wall Street analysts that consolidation between the Clariion and Celerra product platforms will happen.

Storage channel news roundup for April 14 to 21, 2010

HDS, Microsoft to develop unified computing platform

Hitachi Data Systems is working on a unified computing platform the company says will consolidate server, storage and network management into a single system orchestrated through software based on an OEM of Microsoft Corp.'s System Center software.

The unified computing systems won't be released this year, but HDS gave details this week when announcing an OEM deal to distribute Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, System Center suite and SQL Server 2008.

The unified computing system will include HDS' USP V storage, Hitachi Ltd. blade servers, and Fibre Channel and Ethernet switching, all integrated with System Center Operations Manager, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager. USP V offers storage virtualization, and the systems will support Hyper-V and VMware.

The partnership between HDS and Microsoft is one of several IT infrastructure stack alliances among enterprise vendors in recent months.

Read the full story on HDS' and Microsoft's unified computing platform.

EMC: Clariion and Celerra consolidation on horizon

Joe Tucci, EMC Corp. CEO, revealed under questioning from Wall Street analysts on EMC's quarterly earnings call Wednesday that consolidation between the Clariion and Celerra product platforms will happen, confirming industry rumors.

The questioning followed a change in EMC's reporting of revenue numbers. What had been listed as separate Clariion and Celerra revenues was joined into a single revenue number for the quarter spanning all "midtier products," including Clariion, Celerra and Data Domain.

During the question-and-answer part of the call, Aaron Rakers, Stifel Nicolaus equity research analyst, asked for a breakdown of Clariion revenues; Tucci eventually replied, "Basically, our go-to-market [strategy] is more unified messaging, so a lot of what would've been Clariion is now Clariion in back of Celerra."

Read the full story on the Clariion/Celerra consolidation.

Microsoft updates email archiving and e-discovery in Exchange 2010 Service Pack 1

Microsoft Corp. recently previewed Microsoft Exchange 2010 SP1 features. The biggest news for storage administrators is the ability to provision a user's Personal Archive mailbox to a different database from the primary mailbox. This capability was absent in the first release of Exchange 2010, which evoked concern from the field, said Michael Atalla, Microsoft director of product management.

"With our first foray into email archiving with Exchange, we received strong feedback as soon as we disclosed [Exchange 2010 features] about archiving to a separate database," he said.

Atalla said customers wanted to store archives on cheaper storage tiers, as well as the ability to replicate and back up mailboxes on an alternative schedule or via a different Data Availability Group from the primary mailbox.

Microsoft said that with the first release, the performance of the Exchange database had been improved to the point where placing less frequently accessed files on less expensive storage wasn't needed, but "I think there's an in-field reality," said Matt Lavallee, director of technology at MLS Property Information Network Inc. in Shrewsbury, Mass.

See this case study on one interior designer firm's use of hosted email archiving.  

Microsoft DPM 2010 released to manufacturers and online backup partners

Iron Mountain Inc. and i365 have updated their cloud storage integrations with Microsoft Corp.'s System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2010, which was released to manufacturers this week after months of beta testing.

DPM 2010 adds native support for Windows clients and hypervisor-level protection for Hyper-V. The product now automatically backs up clients while they're connected to the network. Hyper-V support includes item-level recovery as well as protection of Live Migration-enabled Hyper-V VMs attached to a Cluster Shared Volume.

DPM 2010 also includes better scalability as well as automation features; as many as 100 servers, 1,000 laptops and 2,000 databases can be backed up via one DPM server. Databases added to a customer's SQL Server are added to backup schedules automatically. The product also supports SAP running on SQL Server.

Read this tip on how to participate in online data backup services.

Solid-state storage: Use in PCs, disk arrays outweighs servers

Most IT organizations haven't implemented solid-state storage yet, but most of those that are wading into the technology area use solid-state drives (SSDs) in PCs and laptops and their disk arrays.

In February, TechTarget surveyed 209 IT professionals. Thirty-five percent of respondents use solid state storage. Among those who use SSDs, 43% have SSDs in PCs, 30% in traditional arrays, 22% in servers, and the remainder split between appliances and solid-state-only arrays.

In general, respondents' deployments were recent. Half said they've been using solid-state storage for less than six months, and 30% said they'd had it for between six months and a year.

Read this tip on when to recommend solid-state hard drives.

Promise Technology intros partner program

Promise Technology Inc. recently announced a three-tier partner rewards program, which the company said will create new initiatives for its channel partners and customers. The program offers membership tiers based on revenue and certification as well as access to Promise channel experts to help grow partner business and provide technical expertise to end users.

The program includes sales and marketing tools, training and education, phone and email support, and design registration and compensation packages. Tier 1 members receive volume discounts, account teams, co-branded marketing activities, plus Tier 2 and 3 benefits. Tier 2 membership includes leads, field sales, technical support, training and certification programs, plus Tier 3 benefits. Tier 3 features deal registration, sales incentives and promotions, and an online partner portal.

NetGear ReadyNAS devices certified as VMware Ready

NetGear Inc. announced that its ReadyNAS product line has received VMware Ready certification. All of the ReadyNAS products went through VMware testing for NFS and iSCSI protocols through AppLabs, a software testing and quality management company.

RainStor program aims to help MSPs launch cloud-based Services

RainStor announced the launch of its "Cloud Powered by RainStor" program to help partners launch their own cloud-based data management services. MSPs can participate in RainStor's "lightning evaluations," which enable them to develop prototypes of cloud-based data management services. During the evaluation period, RainStor provides support so that partners can assess options for delivering cloud-based services.

Additional storage news

Check out last week's storage channel news roundup.

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