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Fusion-io looks to replace SAN with SSD; JCPenney cuts IT energy use (news roundup)

Headlines: Interview with Fusion-io CTO David Flynn on how SSD could replace shared storage; JCPenney turns to SSD drives, tiered storage for energy savings

Storage channel news roundup for Feb. 25-March 4, 2009

Q&A: Fusion-io looks to replace your SAN with Flash

Fusion-io Inc. came out of stealth last March with a storage hardware product consisting of a series of Flash chips in a RAID configuration on a standard server PCIe card.

Since then, the company has been linked in product development efforts with major server vendors Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. and IBM Corp. And Dell Inc. founder Michael Dell recently revealed that he has personally invested in Fusion-io. The emerging vendor made headlines most recently when it hired Apple founder Steve Wozniak as its Chief Scientist.

This week, Fusion-io disclosed that it has signed an OEM agreement with HP for the HP StorageWorks IO Accelerator, a NAND flash-based storage adapter based on Fusion's ioMemory card. The product uses HP BladeSystem c-Class x86 servers, and can accommodate two or three Fusion-io cards, each of which has a capacity of 320 GB. HP and Fusion-io claim the system can offer more than 100,000 IOPS and 800MBps read- and 600MBps write-throughput.

David Flynn, Fusion-io's chief technology officer, sat down with last week to talk about how he sees solid-state storage replacing storage-area networks (SANs).

Read the interview with Flynn.

JCPenney saves energy with larger drives and tiered storage

More efficient storage tiering has played a major role in JCPenney's massive energy-efficiency program, and the retailer's senior architect said he plans to add solid-state drives (SSDs) into the mix as soon as possible to save cost and space.

Daryl Molitor said his company spent more than $100 million to improve energy efficiency, and is saving 27 million kilowatt hours per year by making changes to its storage, data center and server environments.

"We're trying to become energy star certified across the board," Molitor said this week when he told his green IT story during a panel webcast sponsored by the Wikibon IT research and advisory community.

JCPenney's storage strategy to save energy is to upgrade to larger drives and arrays, reconfigure its tiers, and add solid state and data deduplication this year.

Read the full story about how JC Penney is improving its energy efficiency.

NetGear offers cloud backup connection to SMBs

NetGear Inc. announced that its ReadyNAS devices for SMBs will ship with cloud backup pre-integrated into the operating system, in an offering called ReadyNAS Vault.

NetGear's strategy is to give users at small companies or home offices cloud data backup pre-integrated into their local storage device so they don't have to configure client software to access the cloud.

ReadyNAS sends data to ElephantDrive, an online storage service based on Amazon's S3 cloud. Starting prices for the services are $15.95 per month for ReadyNAS for Business.

Learn about alternatives to tape-based backup and archive in this tip.

Digital Reef aims for data classification scalability

Digital Reef Inc. has introduced its self-named data classification and unstructured data management software, which the company claims offers a more scalable approach than previous enterprise offerings.

For scalability, Digital Reef has broken its software into three layers. Each layer can run on clusters of hosts, according to Brian Giuffrida, Digital Reef's vice president of marketing and business development. The access tier can be tunneled through a firewall if necessary, the service tier acts as a job router for requests that come into the system and the analytics tier processes data. Within the analytics tier, the software also checks large jobs to see if they need to be load-balanced or restarted. The product contains a "similarity engine" that can identify overall contextual similarity of files in a repository rather than simply matching keywords.

Get advice on undertaking data classification for your customers.

Health care provider chooses Copan Systems to consolidate data backups

Health care records processor MultiPlan Inc. turned to Copan Systems virtual tape libraries (VTLs) to tame growing backups, decrease tape and save up to $1 million by moving data off expensive tier one disk after acquisitions significantly boosted its storage requirements.

MultiPlan made a series of acquisitions over the past five years, with the largest coming in October of 2006 when it bought Waltham, Mass.-based Private Healthcare Systems (PHCS). MultiPlan's storage capacity has since doubled, and the number of claims it processes jumped from around 18 million to close to 60 million annually.

Read more about MultiPlan's choice of VTL vendor.

DataCore SAN software update boosts server virtualization support

DataCore Software Corp. is previewing the next major release of its SANmelody and SANsymphony storage virtualization software at VMworld Europe 2009 this week. SANmelody 3.0 and SANsymphony 7.0 will ship next month with 64-bit software architectures and new features for virtual server users.

SANsymphony virtualizes enterprise storage-area networks (SANs), while SANmelody is aimed at smaller Fibre Channel (FC) and iSCSI SANs up to 32 TB. Both provide management features such as virtual disk pooling, synchronized mirroring for high availability, load balancing and thin provisioning.

The native 64-bit controller software lets SANmelody and SANsymphony support a large cache on the physical server. Previous releases were limited to a 20 GB cache, but the new versions can theoretically support up to 1 TB.

Get the details on the promise and limitations of storage virtualization in this storage virtualization "explained" story.

Hitachi GST gets into consumer storage; Hifn bought by Exar

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) this week revealed its intention to acquire Fabrik Inc., which makes G-Technology external hard drive systems for Macintosh computers and SimpleTech systems for PCs.

Hitachi GST did not disclose financial terms when it announced the Fabrik deal Monday. In another deal Monday, chipmaker Exar Corp. said it would acquire storage connectivity vendor Hifn Inc. in a mixed cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $60 million. Both acquisitions are expected to close in the second quarter.

Read more about the acquisitions by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Exar.

Riverbed fine-tunes channel program

Riverbed Technology announced refinements to its global Riverbed Partner Network this week. New features of the program include new tiers of categorization -- Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond -- market development funds (MDF) and increased rebates.

The company also said it's rolling out two new training programs: the Authorized Training Provider program and the Riverbed Sales Accreditation Program. The Authorized Training Provider program enables resellers to train customers as well as other resellers. The Riverbed Sales Accreditation Program includes online, self-paced training in Riverbed products.

Storage product news of the week

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

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