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NetApp eyeing CommVault or Quantum acquisition?

Headlines: After NetApp’s failure to acquire Data Domain in 2009 and consequent smaller deals, there is renewed hype around backup vendors CommVault or Quantum as NetApp’s next potential acquisitions.

Storage channel news roundup for Nov. 28 to Nov. 30, 2011

NetApp eyeing CommVault or Quantum acquisition?

NetApp’s failed attempt to buy Data Domain in 2009 brought a lot of speculation that the storage systems vendor would shift its attention to another backup vendor.

NetApp executives played down the speculation. They said they didn’t need a backup platform, but they wanted Data Domain because its leading position in data deduplication for backup was disruptive and driving strong revenue growth. EMC, which paid $2.1 billion to outbid NetApp for Data Domain, has continued to grow that business despite a plethora of competitors.

NetApp has since made several smaller acquisitions -- the largest was LSI’s Engenio systems division-- but stayed away from backup. But a few rough quarters have caused NetApp’s stock price to shrink, and now the rumors have returned that it is hunting for backup.

A Bloomberg story this week pegged backup software vendor CommVault and disk and tape backup vendor Quantum as the main targets. The story was based more on speculation from Wall Street analysts than sources who said any deals were in the works, but such an acquisition wouldn’t surprise many in the industry.

Read the full story on NetApp’s backup acquisitions plan.

UCSD lab studies future changes to non-volatile memory technologies 

Due to blistering speed compared with conventional hard disks and NAND flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs), phase-change memory (PCM) is among the emerging non-volatile memory technologies with the potential to make a profound impact on enterprise data storage systems. But the dramatic performance boost will be of little use without sweeping changes to the software and design of storage systems, according to a university lab director with early hands-on experience testing PCM technology.

The Non-Volatile Systems Laboratory at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) built a prototype PCM drive to help study how next-generation non-volatile memory technologies will shape the future of computing systems. The lab’s director, Steven Swanson, said the tests showed that operating systems, file systems, databases and other software components need significant enhancements to enable PCM to live up to its potential.

“We’ve found that any piece of software that spends a lot of time trying to optimize disk performance is going to need significant re-engineering in order to take full advantage of these new memory technologies,” Swanson said.

Jim Handy, founder and chief analyst at Objective Analysis in Los Gatos, Calif., noted that Fusion-io and Schooner Information Technology Inc. have been writing code optimized for NAND flash technology. But UCSD's Swanson envisions changes that are more far-reaching and critical for faster emerging memory technologies such as PCM, magnetoresistive RAM (MRAM) and resistive RAM (RRAM).

Find out more about SSD advantages and disadvantages in this expert video.

USC Digital Repository uses cloud archiving for 8.5 PB of video 

The University of Southern California (USC) has contracted with Nirvanix Inc. to establish one of the world’s largest private storage clouds, 8.5 petabytes (PBs) of digital archive spread over two sites. Several USC groups will use cloud archiving to the digital archive cloud, and Nirvanix will host the USC Digital Repository the university will open to external customers looking to digitize physical content or move digital content into a secure archive.

The Nirvanix Private Cloud Storage service consists of object-based storage pools maintained in data centers managed by Nirvanix. The service includes around-the-clock data monitoring, security features including Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) transport and AES 256-bit encryption, integration with backup software and policy-based replication. Data can be accessed through CIFS or NFS network-attached storage (NAS) protocols or SOAP/REST interfaces. Nirvanix also handles hardware and software upgrades and migration.

Check out this tip to determine which customers’ applications should move to the cloud.

HP extends StoreOnce deduplication to scale-out disk backup, Data Protector 

Hewlett-Packard said this week it will increase the capabilities of its StoreOnce deduplication backup software by adding it to the company’s new scale-out disk system -- the B6200 StoreOnce Backup System -- and its Data Protector backup application.

By bolstering some of its backup offerings with StoreOnce’s dedupe abilities, HP is attempting to cut into EMC’s dominance in the dedupe backup market. EMC’s Data Domain is the best-selling disk backup target in the market, and its Avamar backup software handles dedupe at the source.

Check out this tip on developing a backup data reduction strategy for customers.

Object-based active archiving preserves classic jazz performances 

The École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is using a relatively new technology -- object-based storage -- for active archiving of more than 5,000 classic jazz concert performances. The archive includes video and audio tapes of greats such as B.B. King, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Elvis Costello in performances recorded over the past 45 years at Montreux Jazz Festival.

The festival asked EPFL, a Switzerland-based university, to digitally archive 1 PB of data stored on 24 types of media and formats -- mainly audio and video tapes -- that had been accumulating since 1967. So, EPFL formed the Montreux Sound Digital Project and migrated the prized data to LTO tapes to ensure it is viable before transferring everything to an Amplidata AmpliStor AS20 object storage system.

Find out more about object-based storage devices in this tip.

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