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Removable disk appealing to SMBs, but with caveats

Headlines: A new generation of removable storage media is making inroads in the SMB space—as well as the enterprise space—as an alternative to tape backup.

Storage channel news roundup for April 21 to April 27, 2011

Removable disk appealing to SMBs, but with caveats

Disk or tape? It has been a question asked in various forms for years. To be sure, it’s not entirely an either/or question, but with the newest generation of removable storage media, the choices are often made differently than in the past.

Removable storage media offers portability, along with the access speed of disk. But a bigger impact has probably been the products built by companies participating in the RDX Storage Alliance, which offers removable disk “cartridges” that work with special RDX docks aimed at data center users. Even the use of the term “cartridge” to describe a disk-in-a-box underscores the fact that the technology is aimed squarely at the traditional tape backup market. For example, Jesus Gonzalez, IT director at St. Baldrick’s Foundation, switched from tape cartridges to a removable disk system for backup (Tandberg Data’s RDX QuikStor) about two years ago, and there has been no looking back.

See how data can be moved electronically using removable media in this tip.

Atlantis ILIO looks to boost VDI storage with inline deduplication

Atlantis Computing upgraded its ILIO virtual software appliance, which the vendor claims will reduce virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) storage requirements while boosting performance. Atlantis tweaked the way its inline data deduplication works in ILIO 2.0, hoping to mitigate VDI boot storms by reducing the number of IOPS that move across the wire and hit the storage.

ILIO works with Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View VDI deployments. The first version of ILIO shipped in 2009 as a hardware appliance that plugged into each server rack, but ILIO 2.0 is available only as software that works as a virtual appliance, installing either on each server running virtual desktops or at the top of each rack of VDI servers.

Atlantis claims its first version of Atlantis ILIO could offload up to 70% of the writes and 90% percent of the reads hitting the storage infrastructure for VDI, and Version 2.0 improved the writes offload performance by an additional 20%.

Read all about VDI backup in this tip.

Storage performance monitoring for virtual servers takes app approach

Like other areas of storage-area network (SAN) management, virtual server proliferation has made the job tougher for storage performance monitoring. Traditional tools that help you track I/O resources and alert you when performance thresholds are challenged may not be able to distinguish between a virtual machine (VM) and a physical host, leading to inaccurate data.

However, the latest storage performance monitoring products have been adapted to virtual environments, and some are even specifically built for hypervisor technologies.

Performance monitoring in virtual environments is moving away from siloed tools that individually gauge storage, networking and physical host performance. Instead, VMware Inc. and third-party vendors such as BlueStripe Software Inc. are developing an application-focused approach that aggregates performance metrics and presents an overall picture of system health to virtualization, storage and networking administrators. When issues arise, the tools can drill down for detailed information and find the source of the problem.

Read the full tutorial on storage performance monitoring.

Additional storage news

Check out last week’s storage channel news roundup.

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