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Dell positions as dedupe partner; industry weighs Data Domain bidding war

Headlines: Dell takes the "it's a feature, not a product," approach to data deduplication; as a bidding war begins between EMC and NetApp for Data Domain, users are leaning toward NetApp but worried about decreased competition with market consolidation.

Storage channel news roundup for June 4-10, 2009

Dell's data deduplication strategy: Partner for target and host dedupe products

While other vendors are bidding billions to own their data deduplication products, Dell would rather partner for data deduplication technology.

Dell today said it would sell CommVault's Simpana 8 backup software, which does block-level dedupe for disk and tape, both as standalone software with any Dell hardware and on its DL2000 disk backup product. Dell will also carry EMC Corp.'s EDL1500 virtual tape library (VTL) under the Dell brand later this year. Dell already sells EMC's Avamar and Symantec Corp.'s PureDisk host-based deduplication software, and the EDL1500 under EMC's brand. Dell also has a set of professional services to help customers decide where dedupe fits best.

Read the full story on Dell's deduplication strategy.

Storage industry weighs EMC's, NetApp's bidding war for Data Domain

Storage administrators are keeping a close eye on EMC Corp.'s and NetApp's bidding war for Data Domain Inc. and wondering how the fate of the data deduplication backup specialist will impact their shops and the storage industry in general.

While customers generally see Data Domain fitting better with NetApp than EMC, they are nervous about the competitive aspects of the industry's consolidation. Nasser Mirzai, vice president of technology at San Mateo, Calif.-based TradeBeam Inc., has products from EMC, NetApp and Data Domain. He pointed out that Data Domain's product line is more similar to NetApp's than EMC's. NetApp and Data Domain have core software they use across different hardware designs suited to different sized businesses. EMC is also perceived as more of a large enterprise company, according to Mirzai, while NetApp and Data Domain have broader appeal to midrange organizations.

"I think NetApp could keep the same energy and momentum and bring that concept to its full potential of taking a similar approach across different sizes of product," he said. "If the perception is that this is a big monster EMC product and users can't afford it, it may slow down growth and impact adoption [of Data Domain devices]."

Read our analysis of the impact on VARs of a NetApp/Data Domain deal.

ExaGrid data deduplication delivers on-time backup for Gardner Trucking

Despite what you read in the news these days, there are alternatives to Data Domain for midrange target-based deduplication backup appliances.

Chino, Calif.-based Gardner Trucking turned to ExaGrid Systems in late 2007 -- before Data Domain suitors NetApp and EMC even got into target-based deduplication. Gardner CIO Gary Larson said he picked a 1 TB EX1000 appliance because it was simple, fit in his budget and let him keep tape as a secondary backup option.

And he's learned that even if the data reduction isn't as great as advertised, using data deduplication to back up to disk keeps Gardner's business running in a far more efficient way than when it relied solely on tape.

Read the full story on Gardner Trucking and ExaGrid.

Stretching computer budgets remains high priority with storage administrators at Storage Decisions Chicago conference

CHICAGO -- Surviving the economic downturn is at the top of storage administrators' priorities lists at the first Storage Decisions conference of 2009.

With that in mind, Focus Consulting President and Chief Analyst Barbara Goldworm's opening-day keynote on "How virtualization can make IT the good guys" laid out the ways virtualization is expanding from servers to the data storage world with the potential to save money on computer equipment, power, cooling and space.

Read the full story Storage Decisions Chicago.

Fujitsu adds DX60 and DX80 midrange disk arrays to Eternus line

Fujitsu Ltd. is rolling out two new disk arrays today at the low end of its Eternus midrange product line, including Fujitsu's first single-controller Eternus configuration. The new arrays offer a new predictive failure mode for RAID rebuilds, and take a different approach to battery-backed cache.

The Eternus DX60 and DX80 replace the Eternus 2000 at the low end of the product line, which also includes the 4000 and 8000 models. The DX60 represents "a new and big step for Fujitsu," said Jim DeCaires, storage product marketing manager at Fujitsu America.

The DX60 single-controller version launches with a starting price of between $5,000 and $6,000.

See Fujitsu's Partner Program Checklist.

Brocade to add FCoE blade to DCX in 2010; disagrees with Cisco on FCoE adoption rate

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. plans to have several storage protocol irons in the fire over the next year or so, saying the transition to Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCOE) will be slower than competitor Cisco Systems Inc. expects and slower than the market had anticipated before the recession.

During Brocade's Technology Day on Tuesday, chief technology officer David Stevens said the company plans to add an FCoE blade for its DCX data center backbone switch, as well as a Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) blade for Foundry Network's MLX Ethernet switch in 2010. Brocade is also developing converged network adapters (CNAs) for Fibre Channel over Ethernet and CEE to go along with its Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs).

But this doesn't mean Brocade is "taking its foot off the gas" of Fibre Channel development, Stevens said. The company is already developing 16 Gbps Fibre Channel support for the DCX, HBAs and CNAs.

Download our report on Fibre Channel over Ethernet.

Isilon targets enterprise NAS with Backup Accelerator, N+2:1 parity

As part of its push to make its clustered network-attached storage (NAS) systems more appealing to the enterprise, Isilon Systems Inc. today increased its data protection features with a Backup Accelerator node and increased software-based drive protection.

Sam Grocott, Isilon Systems' senior director of product management, said tape backup and replication are the top requests the vendor has received from enterprise customers. To address those requests, Isilon is adding a hardware node for caching Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) backups to tape and upgrading its SyncIQ replication software.

The Backup Accelerator node, available immediately for $38,550, offloads the processing of backup jobs to a hardware node that comes with a four-port Fibre Channel (FC) card to plug into tape libraries. Isilon claims the node offers throughput of up to 500 MBps.

Check out Isilon Systems' Partner Program Checklist.

Electronic medical records present challenge to healthcare industry

With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also referred to as the U.S. economic stimulus package) slated to include $19 billion for electronic medical records (EMR), the role of data storage in the healthcare industry is gaining more attention than ever before.

But the healthcare industry is facing the same challenges as most other vertical industries: dealing with an exponential amount of data growth at a time when compliance, regulations and increasing types of media-rich files are putting added pressure on storage professionals.

Michael Sullivan, a managing director at Los Angeles-based Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting Inc., has found that many healthcare providers lack transparency into their information technology systems. In addition, IT professionals struggle in a culture that puts a big emphasis on software applications, rather than on hardware and a holistic view of the computing environment.

"When you talk to IT departments at hospitals, it's rare to actually talk to someone in charge of hardware," said Sullivan, who has consulted on healthcare IT operations for more than a decade.

Despite often having input from chief information officers (CIOs), many of the purchasing decisions at the hospitals where Sullivan consults are left to board members, he said. "These purchases are often made without thought as to whether a new system can talk to other systems and what the storage implications are," he said.

Read the full story on the role of data storage in the healthcare industry, and get advice for positioning storage services to take advantage of the economic stimulus package.

Jobs report: IT jobs down overall, but consulting services up

IT workforce analyst firm Foote Partners reported last week that while IT jobs were obviously among the 345,000 lost within the United States in May, there was a bright spot in the technology consulting services segment, which gained 2,300 jobs in April and May. David Foote, CEO of Foote Partners, noted that communications equipment jobs also saw a slight increase, 200 jobs in the past three months.

According to the consultancy, about 2,800 jobs were lost last month in the computer systems design and related services segment, and about 3,500 jobs were lost in the data processing and hosting services segment.

NetEx offers HyperIP as a free trial download

High-performance data transfer vendor NetEx is offering its HyperIP WAN optimization software for free 10-day trial download to VARs. The software runs on VMware ESX servers.

HyperIP supports data transfer rates from 1.5 Mbps to 800 Mbps. NetEx says that HyperIP reduces VMotion transfers from 20 minutes to 3 minutes over a LAN and provides bandwidth rate controls to prevent link saturation by bandwidth-intensive applications. Over a long distance, the company says, HyperIP delivers even greater performance when used over a shared IP connection.

Shared storage vendor Seanodes launches VMware-centric reseller program

Shared storage developer Seanodes recently launched a reseller program for VARs interested in combining SMB-focused Exanodes VM Edition Storage Virtual Appliances with VMware. The company says it will offer margins of 100 percent for the first 90 days. Seanodes says its Exanodes product enables the higher-end benefits of server virtualization at a lower cost than competitive networked storage offerings.

Additional storage news

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

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