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EMC confirms XtremIO acquisition

Headlines: EMC confirms that it acquired flash array startup XtremIO, and Israeli publication Globes pegs the deal at $430 million.

Storage channel news roundup for May 8 to 14, 2012

EMC confirms XtremIO acquisition

EMC last week confirmed the poorly kept secret that it is buying flash array startup XtremIO. EMC did not disclose the price, but Israeli business publication Globes -– which first reported a deal was likely last month -– put the price at $430 million.

That’s a steep price for a company that is not even shipping products yet, but it underscores EMC’s serious push into flash. EMC said it will reveal details about its plans for XtremIo at EMC World this month. EMC is also expected to flesh out details about its PCIe-based “Project Thunder” shared storage appliance at the show.

Read the full blog post on EMC’s buyout of flash startup XtremIO.

Symantec defends ‘bold’ changes in Backup Exec 2012 upgrade 

Symantec executives at the company’s Vision user conference last week defended the changes made to Backup Exec 2012 in response to severe online criticism from many of the SMB backup software company's long-time customers.

The Backup Exec 2012 upgrade includes a redesigned interface that Symantec intended to streamline disk-based backups. But the change has been jarring for customers, prompting them to take to Symantec forums to complain. Symantec executives say they are monitoring the reactions but they believe customers will adapt to the changes and see them as positive.

A forum dedicated to impressions of Backup Exec 2012 on the Symantec Connect Community is a stream of criticisms from unhappy customers. The rants began April 4 and have continued for more than a month, mostly complaining about the usability of the new interface. Some threaten to drop Backup Exec and switch backup software vendors.

Check out the full story on Symantec’s customer backlash.

Symantec CEO: We’ll win in virtual backup and the cloud 

During an interview with at Symantec Vision last week, Symantec CEO Enrique Salem said he expects backup appliances will eventually make up the bulk of backup implementations, and he talked about changes to Backup Exec 2012, the cloud’s role in backup and why his company will win the virtual backup battle. What’s driving your emphasis on backup appliances?

Salem: There’s no reason to have lots of point products and lots of separate components in the infrastructure. We want to drive an integrated vision for our data protection products. What we’ve done is said, ‘First we have all the right pieces.’ Instead of going in and buying backup software from Symantec and deduplication from EMC or Quantum or somebody else, and buying a media server, our devices have solved that problem.

Read the full interview with Symantec’s CEO, then check out this expert video on virtual server backup.

Quantum partners with Amplidata for object storage

Quantum will add object storage as a tier on top of its StorNext file system with the help of an OEM deal with startup Amplidata.

Quantum revealed the OEM deal earlier this month and said it will have a new family of disk systems with the object storage later this year.

CEO Jon Gacek said Amplidata will eventually become part of Quantum’s cloud architecture, but a “big data” appliance will be Quantum’s first product using the technology. That product will incorporate object storage as a tier on a device running StorNext. Quantum is targeting petabyte-scale content and data analytics with the product.

Find out how object storage could be a good option for unstructured data sets in this tip.

Panzura cloud NAS adds multisite capability 

Cloud network-attached storage (NAS) vendor Panzura upgraded its storage controller and operating system to enhance its file sharing capabilities to help customers collaborate from multiple sites.

Panzura's launch last week included the Panzura Operating System 3.0 and new Quicksilver Cloud Storage Controller appliances. The startup added dynamic file locking and global deduplication capabilities, and updated its appliances’ processors and capacity footprint.

The cloud NAS vendor claims the improvements let customers move data 10 times as fast as they could using its previous cloud gateways. The new hardware uses 3 TB SATA drives, increasing its local cache capacity to 330 TB.

Panzura sells its controller as a virtual appliance or physical appliance. The PZS-VM is a virtual machine that loads as software on any server, supporting up to 3.5 TB of local capacity. The PZS-x100 is a 1U appliance that supports from one to four solid-state drives (SSDs) for performance, up to 12 TB of local capacity and RAID 5 data protection. The PZS-x200 is a 2U box with up to 108 SSDs, 36 TB of local capacity on the box, and up to 324 TB with expansion shelves and RAID 5 and RAID 6-plus protection schemes.

Get tips on how to choose the right type of file services to or alongside your customer’s SAN.

Pivot3 pivots more toward VDI, View

Pivot3 is continuing its push in the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) space by working closer with VMware.

Earlier this month, Pivot3 announced that its virtual storage and compute (vSTAC) line of appliances for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments for SMBs now support VMware’s View 5.1 virtual desktop system as part of the Pivot3’s participation in VMware’s Rapid Desktop Program.

According to Lee Casswell, Pivot3’s chief strategy officer, the Rapid Desktop Program and View 5.1’s new vCenter Operations for View (vCOV) and View Storage Accelerator (VSA) features will help speed SMB virtual desktop pilot programs and deployments.

Pivot3’s vSTAC appliances use a distributed RAID and grid computing infrastructure to allow individual appliance resources to be shared among an entire vSTAC deployment to better handle a VDI deployment’s need for increased input/output operations per second (IOPS) and easy scalability. Each vSTAC appliance can support 100 virtual desktops. To increase an environment’s number of virtual desktops, administrators add more appliances.

Find out more on supporting storage for VDI in this podcast.

CloudSigma offers SLA-guaranteed SSD cloud 

CloudSigma AG, a Zurich, Switzerland-based cloud computing service provider, is adding a solid-state drive (SSD) cloud storage service backed by service-level agreements (SLAs) for performance and availability. CloudSigma launched the cloud service in a private beta program last week, and plans to make it generally available later this year.

The storage solution, named SigStore, will be sold as a public cloud service with guaranteed IOPS levels. Customers can purchase up to 2 TB of SSD capacity per drive, with burst and subscription pricing based on the guaranteed minimum levels of IOPS needed. CloudSigma doesn't charge for data uploads to the cloud through its STP gateway, but does charge 5 cents per gigabyte downloaded from the SSD cloud. For now, the company is offering the service in the U.S. through direct sales, while it develops its channel network.

See the advantages and disadvantages of SSD in this expert video.

Virsto software adds support for XenDesktop VDI environments 

Virsto Software Corp. has identified improving virtual desktop storage performance as a major area where its software aimed at improving virtual machine (VM) I/O can help. Last week it released a beta version of Virsto for Citrix Systems Inc.’s XenDesktop 5.5 virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platform on VMware vSphere.

Virsto for XenDesktop follows the company’s vSphere support release in January and its initial product launch for Microsoft Hyper-V in February 2010.

VDI happens to be one [use case] where we continue to get drawn in because of the value proposition and what we solve in virtualized environments,” said Gregg Holzrichter, Virsto’s vice president of marketing.  “It is especially well suited for the extremely random I/O, write-intensive workloads of VDI, and the challenge of very high cost of storage in VDI environments.”

Check out the full story on the launch of Virsto for XenDesktop.

Starboard brings new investor and $13 million on board

A $13 million funding round will help accelerate the transition from Reldata to Starboard Storage Systems.

Starboard closed the round today, three months after re-launching with a new name and re-architected multiprotocol storage system, the AC72. Its lone venture capitalist investor at the time was Reldata investor Grazia Equity of Germany. Starboard’s latest round is led by another German VC, JP Ventures GmbH, with participation from Grazia.

Starboard chief marketing officer Karl Chen said Starboard will use the funding to expand its sales, marketing and customer support. Chen said Starboard has about 40 employees now at its Broomfield, Colo., and Parsippany, N.J., offices and he expects that number to increase significantly over the next three months.

Read the full blog post on Starboard storage’s latest funding round and new investor.

Additional storage news

Check out last week’s storage channel news roundup.

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