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‘Puss in Boots’ expands DreamWorks’ NAS cluster

Headlines: Making animated movies is storage-intensive work – DreamWorks has 6 PB of capacity, including 1 PB on scale-out NAS cluster for rendering.

Storage channel news roundup for Nov. 3 to Nov. 9, 2011

Puss in Boots expands DreamWorks’ NAS cluster 

Before it began filling theatres two weeks ago, the animated 3D movie Puss in Boots filled hundreds of terabytes of DreamWorks Animation SKG’s storage systems, most of it on a Hewlett-Packard Ibrix-based NAS cluster.

During production, DreamWorks set aside 250 TB on its HP X9720 storage, according to DreamWorks staff engineer Scott Miller. Like all of its movies, the studio will also keep an archive copy of the film. In the case of Puss in Boots, that archive copy takes up 70 TB.

With three or four movies in production a year and all of its released movies archived, it’s no surprise DreamWorks has 1 PB capacity on its scale-out NAS platform and 6 PB of total storage capacity.

Animation consumes a great deal of capacity, especially with 3D films. Up to 400 rendering artists work on a movie, Miller said, and that requires high-performance storage as well as large capacities.

Find out how to use NAS clustering, and read the full story on Dreamworks’ expanded NAS cluster.

NetApp adds FAS2240 entry-level unified storage array 

NetApp Inc. upgraded its entry-level FAS2000 storage platform with the FAS2240 unified storage array while reducing the price of its FAS2020 in the wake of increased competition from its main rival EMC Corp. in the low end of the market.

NetApp is launching SAS and SATA versions of the FAS2240 and lowering the price of the FAS2040 that it rolled out in 2009. The new systems have faster Intel processors and more physical memory than the previous generation of FAS2000 storage. NetApp is also making solid-state drives (SSDs) an option for the FAS2240. SSDs weren’t available on previous FAS2000 systems.

The FAS2240 comes in two models. The FAS2240-2 is a 2U system that scales to 144 SAS drives and 374 TB of capacity, and the FAS2240-4 is a 4U system that scales to 144 SATA drives for 432 TB. Both systems come in single- or dual-controller configurations with four on-board Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and two on-board 6 Gbps SAS ports per controller. Four 8 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) or 10 GbE ports can be added through an optional I/O card. The new systems run DataOntap 8.1 and have 6 GB of physical memory per controller.

Read the full story on NetApp’s addition of the FAS2240 unified storage array.

Atkinson steps down as XIO CEO

Less than three months after changing its name, XIO is changing its leader.

Alan Atkinson is leaving as CEO after two years on the job to become chairman, and Oak Investment Partners general partner John Beletic will take over as CEO.  Oak is XIO’s major investor. XIO will officially announce the CEO change Tuesday.

Atkinson told this week that he felt he had completed a transition of the company during his tenure as CEO, and it is time for a more operational leader. He said as chairman he will focus largely on XIO’s international sales.

Read more on the story of XIO’s change of CEO.

NexGen emerges with virtual machine storage system with QoS twist 

NexGen Storage came out of stealth mode this week with a virtual machine storage system that uses solid-state drives (SSDs) and hard drives and applies granular quality of service (QoS) levels to “provision performance” across tiers.

The Lousville, Colo., company was founded by iSCSI SAN pioneer LeftHand Networks founders John Spiers and Kelly Long. They claim NexGen n5 Storage Systems will make it easier to set up storage for virtualized servers running business- and mission-critical applications.

The n5 operating system enables what the vendor calls performance QoS to let customers provision performance in the same way they would provision capacity. Its Dynamic Data Placement functionality migrates data across volumes to maintain QoS for virtual machine storage. It also uses a staged data deduplication process it calls Phased Data Reduction.

Find out why to sell network unified storage platforms in this tip.

Retrospect backup looks ahead to new era

After going through two ownership changes since mid-2010, the Retrospect SMB backup software team relaunched this week as an independent company.

Most of the team for the newly private Retrospect Inc., goes back to when Dantz Development Corp. owned the software before EMC acquired Dantz in 2004. EMC made Retrospect part of its Insignia SMB brand, but eventually lost interest in that market and sold Retrospect to Sonic Solutions in May of 2010. Sonic carried Retrospect software as part of its Roxio brand until digital entertainment company Rovi acquired Sonic for $720 million last December. Rovi wasn’t interested in the backup software market, so the Retrospect team spun itself off.

Read the full story on Retrospect’s relaunch as an independent company.

Nexsan adds petabyte NAS

Nexsan this week launched its E5510 Network Attached Storage (NAS) system that can scale to just over a petabyte, making it the highest capacity member of the vendor’s E5000 Flexible Storage Platform that was introduced in early August. The E5000 series was Nexsan’s first home-grown NAS array, and the company plans to add iSCSI support in January.

The 3U E5510 can scale  up to 1,080 TB by adding three Nexsan E60 and three E60X expansion chassis to hold a total of 360, 3 TB SATA drives. But the system also can be populated with 15,000 RPM SAS or single-level cell (SLC) solid state drives (SSDs).

Take a look at the best NAS systems in these NAS Quality Awards.

Dot Hill enhances partner program

Dot Hill Systems Corp. announced enhancements to its Connections Partner Program for Dot Hill partners. These advancements include additional field resources, value-add programs and solutions based sales tools and access to amplified professional service offerings, demand-generation toolkits, marketing support and increased margin incentives.

CharTec unveils new backup and recovery software for MSPs

CharTec, a provider of hardware and training for MSPs, launched a software version of its CharTec BDR appliance, which allows partners to provide backup and disaster recovery by reusing existing hardware or BDR solutions. The CharTec BDR software runs in place of current backup and recovery solutions or as a standalone offering, and partners may provide their own OS and hardware.  The software replicates a client's production infrastructure through local and cloud-virtualized backup images, and management is through a Web-based portal with an RMM agent for alerting and scripting. 

Tandberg Data signs distributor agreement with Promark for SMBs

Tandberg Data announced that it signed a new distributor agreement with Promark Technology Inc. Promark will supply data protection solutions from Tandberg Data through its U.S. channel network, which consists of large system integrators, major direct marketing resellers (DMRs) and value-added resellers. Under the agreement, Tandberg Data will provide Promark customers with data protection solutions including RDX removable disk devices and solutions, tape automation, LTO and DAT tape drives and media, network-attached disk appliances and AccuGuard deduplication software.

AppAssure Software integrates backup and replication into LabTech Software

AppAssure Software, a unified backup and replication software provider for virtual, physical and cloud environments, this week announced its integration into LabTech Software’s remote monitoring, management and automation solution for managed services. AppAssure Software is now available to install as an integrated plug-in to a LabTech management console. In this release, MSPs can remotely install, configure and deploy an AppAssure agent on mission-critical servers and monitor the AppAssure backup services from the LabTech console.

Additional storage news

Check out last week’s storage channel news roundup.

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