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Storage world gets close-up look at a disaster

The Storage Networking World conference got disrupted last week for a couple of hours when a tornado hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas.

Storage channel news roundup for April 3 to April 9, 2012

Storage world gets close-up look at a disaster

The Storage Networking World (SNW) conference was disrupted last Tuesday for a couple of hours when a tornado hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. The day started out with cloudy skies, but in the afternoon a siren went off throughout Dallas, which was the first sign that something was amiss.

One of our news writers was sitting in the outside balcony at the Omni Hotel and Resort in downtown Dallas interviewing an executive from Mezeo Software when news started circulating that a tornado was in the area. It didn’t take long before SNW attendees started heading for the windows to watch the strange swirl of clouds in the distance. Hotel personnel quickly started to order everyone on the balcony to move back into the hotel and away from the windows. But not everyone was willing to miss seeing the potential of a tornado hitting the city. Many people kept going back to the windows, pulling out their phones and taking pictures.

Read the full blog post about the tornado that hit Dallas during SNW.

Get ready for 4 TB SATA drives

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, now part of Western Digital, last week launched the first 4 TB enterprise hard drive.

The Ultrastar 7K4000 is a 3.5-inch 2,200 rpm SATA drive with a 2 million hours mean time between failure (MTBF) and five-year warranty. Current SATA enterprise drives top out at 3 TB, and HGST’s main enterprise drive rival, Seagate, has not yet released a 4 TB drive.

Brendan Collins, HGST’s vice president of product marketing, said he sees the larger drives as a boon for big Internet companies and cloud providers because they allow organizations to pack in 33% more capacity than they can now while reducing power by 24%.

Check out this tip on the changing role of enterprise hard drives in light of new technologies.

Flash array vendor Violin Memory plays familiar funding tune

Violin Memory last week picked up another $50 million in funding and a new strategic partner in SAP. If the market cooperates, it will be the last funding round before Violin follows its solid-state storage rival Fusion-io to an initial public offering (IPO).

Violin has pulled in $150 million in funding since former Fusion-io CEO Don Basile became Violin’s CEO in late 2009. Basile said Violin has grown from 100 employees to 320 since last June, and sales increased 500% over the last year. He puts Violin’s valuation at $800 million, which is probably more than 10 times its annual revenue.

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

Data center upgrade saves ICF International millions 

A combination public cloud and server virtualization project helped professional services firm ICF International save nearly $2 million while upgrading an aging data center during a significant growth period for the firm.

Lon Anderson, vice president of corporate information technology at Fairfax, Va.-based ICF, detailed the savings during a presentation last week at Storage Networking World (SNW) Spring 2012. Anderson said the 4,500-employee company saved $1.5 million from virtualizing its application servers and another $250,000 from moving primary applications to the cloud.

Read the full story on how ICF upgraded its aging data center to save almost $2 million.

Alacritech solid-state caching speeds animation studio’s NAS 

When the storage connected to its rendering farm started to feel the strain of rapid data growth, animation studio Rainmaker Entertainment improved performance and extended the life of its scale-out NAS by adding a solid state-powered Alacritech ANX 1500 NAS acceleration appliance.

Rainmaker handles animation and rendering for four to six projects a year, ranging from feature movies to DVDs for children and digital games. It has 375 artists working a render farm -- a high-performance computer cluster used for animation -- running applications such as AutoDesk Maya and The Foundry’s Nuke at its studio in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Ron Stinson, Rainmaker’s director of IT and operations, said Rainmaker’s storage grew from 200 1U servers and 18 TB of usable storage six years ago to 700 servers and 320 TB of usable storage. Most of the storage is on Hitachi Data Systems BlueArc Titan NAS filers, with about 100 TB of secondary storage on EMC Isilon IQ3000 clusters.

See how implementing SSD in a cache appliance can help storage performance.

Amplidata updates AmpliStor, rewrites erasure codes 

Amplidata last week unveiled AmpliStor XT, an optimized version of its object storage software with improved erasure codes and management and increased speed of its storage controllers.

The enhancements were announced at spring Storage Networking World (SNW), a year after the vendor launched its first AmpliStor product.

Amplidata’s AmpliStor object storage platform is designed for cloud archiving of media and entertainment files, and “big data” file storage. The Belgium-based vendor did not change its AmpliStor controller hardware but enhanced its BitSpread erasure coding software and BitDynamics storage management technology.

Check out the full story about Amplidata’s update of AmpliStor XT.

Network-attached storage cloud gives firm flexibility, data protection

A Chicago law firm that first turned to cloud storage to clear capacity for a temporary project now has three network-attached storage (NAS) appliances attached to a public cloud for its main primary file storage.

Matt Donehoo, director of information systems at Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney (SMSM), downloaded a Nasuni Filer virtual appliance late last year when a document review for a new case required him to add storage capacity quickly. Instead of buying more disk for his on-premises storage area network (SAN) and NAS, he moved approximately 6 TB of older data to the cloud with the Nasuni software.

“We said let’s take older backups and data that hasn’t been touched in years and get it off expensive disk and put it on a more cost-effective solution,” Donehoo said. “While doing that, we said the interface is great, it’s simple to use and performance is surprisingly fast.”

Find out more about implementing NAS systems in this guide.

Additional storage news

Check out last week’s storage channel news roundup.

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