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Dell launches PS6000 iSCSI SANs; slow-restore claims on Quantum VTL

Headlines: Dell adds SSD support and claims hardware redesign will improve its EqualLogic IP SAN systems; Quantum's deduplicating VTL customers say their systems are slow to recover after power loss.

Storage channel news roundup for March 24-April 1, 2009

Dell officially launches PS6000 iSCSI SANs

As expected, Dell Inc. launched a new series of iSCSI storage-area networks (SANs) last week, promising faster performance through a hardware redesign and support for solid-state drives (SSDs).

The EqualLogic PS6000 series adds cache and faster chips on its controller to make it ready for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE). The series also offers new eight-drive and 16-drive SSD modules, software integration with Hyper-V, a new performance monitoring tool and a modified support structure.

The series will be available in five models that all use the same redesigned controllers with a faster chip and more cache than previous EqualLogic systems. As a result, Dell estimates a 91% improvement in sequential write performance and a 29% improvement in sequential reads. Travis Vigil, senior manager of Dell storage, said the performance bump lays the groundwork for 10 GbE support in the near future.

EqualLogic partners reflect on a year under the Dell umbrella.

Quantum DXi VTL users report slow restores after power loss

Two of Quantum Corp.'s DXi data deduplication virtual tape library (VTL) customers said recently that their systems have taken hours and sometimes days to recover after an accidental power loss because of a lengthy integrity check process.

The administrators said after DXi appliances accidentally had power interrupted, a process Quantum calls "blockpool verify" was kicked off. This process verifies integrity of all blocks, and is only invoked if there is an "unclean system shutdown."

Ben Barnes, an IT infrastructure manager who asked that his company name be withheld, deployed Quantum's DXi5500 Fibre Channel VTL with data deduplication approximately nine months ago. The mutual fund investment firm has 2.6 TB of data it backs up weekly, but went with a Fibre Channel VTL because of its integration with the company's tape infrastructure.

Barnes' company has one DXi5500 box at either end of the wire between its main data center and a secondary disaster recovery (DR) site, but brought both boxes to headquarters first to set up and test them. During the move of the secondary system to the disaster recovery site, there was a power failure, and when the machine resumed, Barnes said, "it took days to do an integrity check on all the data before we could use it again."

Read the full story on Quantum DXi restore problems.

IDC expects greater declines in storage spending

The poor economy is slowing storage spending even more than expected at the start of 2009, according to the latest projections from Framingham, Mass.-based market research firm IDC and financial analysts.

IDC this week forecast total disk storage systems spending to decrease 6.7% year over year in 2009, and to only increase approximately 1.5% in 2010. External disk storage sales are expected to decline 3.1% for the year, while overall disk storage capacity worldwide is expected to grow by less than 35% for the year.

At the beginning of this year, IDC's forecast was for 0.5% growth for external storage systems spending in 2009, but a decline of 1.7% for internal and external storage when taken together.

IDC now expects internal disk storage to fare worse than external systems during this decline. The research firm anticipates external disk systems capacity to grow 44% this year, which is below traditional annual growth rates in the 50% to 60% range.

QLogic delivers single-ASIC FCoE adapters

QLogic Corp. this week launched its second-generation Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) converged network adapter (CNA), a single-chip device that analysts say could accelerate development of the FCoE connectivity infrastructure.

The QLogic 8100 Series of PCI-Express CNAs is based on the vendor's Network Plus ASIC to handle FC storage and 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) data networking traffic with a full FCoE offload engine. CNAs will replace host bus adapters (HBAs) and network interface cards (NICs) in FCoE networks, attaching to FCoE switches and FC storage and Ethernet networks.

QLogic said its 8100 Series CNAs are sampling with storage and server OEM vendors, and the firm expects them to show up in rackmount and blade servers over the next six months and in storage systems soon after.

Check out our FAQ guide about how Fibre Channel over Ethernet can consolidate networks.

ParaScale makes its cloud live

ParaScale Inc. made its cloud file storage software generally available this week as a download from its website, and the startup claims an impressive list of beta customers have tested it successfully for private and public clouds.

ParaScale Cloud Storage (PCS), software that can turn commodity Linux servers into a parallel network-attached storage (NAS) farm, has been in beta since last September. ParaScale CEO Sajai Krishnan said Blue Coat Systems Inc., Carpathia Hosting Inc., Sony Pictures ImageWorks, South River Technologies Inc., Stanford Genome Technology Center and Vembu Technologies Pvt. Ltd. are using PCS either internally for private clouds or as public clouds for managed services.

Krishnan referred to PCS as the "first shrink-wrapped cloud solution." Version 1.2 of the software can be downloaded from ParaScale's website and run on any commodity hardware. Pricing is based on the physical capacity within the cloud, with deployments starting at $1.05 per GB.

Read our cloud storage services FAQ, in which Executive Editor W. Curtis Preston examines how to protect customers engaged in cloud storage initiatives.

Ricoh brings online data storage service to U.S.

Ricoh Co. Ltd., best known for its printing and copying products, is the latest company trying to get in on the online data storage services craze.

Ricoh launched a beta of its quanp service recently for consumers in the United States, and said hundreds are participating. The service lets users upload and share files from a desktop client using a Web GUI that represents each file in a 3D layout.

Sho Harada, senior manager for Ricoh's U.S. team, said the beta test will be hosted at the company's existing data center in Japan.

Xiotech channel revenues grow by 90%

Data storage and data protection vendor Xiotech recently announced that its channel-derived revenues increased by almost 90% from 2007 to 2008. The company attributes the increase to its Intelligent Storage Element technology and ICON Manager storage integration software. In March 2008, Xiotech launched its Intel Channel Partner Program and says it now has more than 100 active partners in the program.

Check out Xiotech's Partner Program Checklist.

Storage product news of the week

Check out last week's storage channel news roundup here.

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