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Experts review new Windows Server 2012 storage features; more news

News briefs: Storage experts express mixed reviews on features such as dedupe and Storage Spaces in Windows Server 2012; more news.

New Windows Server 2012 storage features reviewed by experts

The Windows Server 2012 release arrived last month with a slew of storage-related functions and features, many of them tied to large Hyper-V installations, and many of them promising reduced costs and greater efficiency in the data center for storage administrators who tap into deduplication, iSCSI-based targets, storage pooling and other capabilities.

"These are massive changes," said Stephen Foskett, a storage industry analyst who is also a Microsoft MVP. Foskett said he was "skeptical" when he first met with Microsoft and heard ambitious plans for storage technology in Server 2012. "I was really shocked they made the final cut."

Still, Foskett isn't arguing that some of the much-hyped new Windows Server 2012 storage features -- such as deduplication -- are going to change the way storage managers rely on current technologies or providers.

Continue reading the reviews of Windows Server 2012 storage features.

SSD users debate hybrid versus all-flash arrays at SNW

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- How much flash is enough? A Storage Networking World panel of solid-state storage-consuming storage administrators last Tuesday discussed the merits of using all-flash arrays versus hybrid systems combining solid-state drives and spinning disk.

Two members on the panel used all-flash arrays and two others have hybrid systems. All four said both models have benefits but their choices were influenced by their specific needs. All four moved to flash arrays to solve performance issues.

Stephan Hundley, manager of business solutions engineering for freight-car manufacturer TTX, said his 17 TB Whiptail Invicta flash array cost less than his older EMC Clariion that has mostly spinning disk with some solid-state drives (SSDs) in a hybrid flash configuration.

Read more about the uses of hybrid and all-flash arrays.

Object storage system success examined at Storage Networking World

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Some of the greatest minds in storage met onstage at a Storage Networking World panel last week, and pondered the biggest issue facing object storage.

"If this stuff is so freaking great, why isn't everybody using it?" asked panel moderator Robin Harris, chief analyst for StorageMojo.

The Object Storage for Big Data panel included representatives of object storage vendor Amplidata, Aspera Developer Network, cloud network-attached storage (NAS) vendor Panzura, Intel and backup/archive vendor Quantum. Panelists agreed that while object storage solves scalability and data protection issues facing file storage, it is still far from widely adopted in the enterprise.

Read more about the panel on object storage for "big data" and then get blogger Eric Slack's take on how VARs can help customers with big data applications.

Overland offers scale-up, scale-out architecture with SnapScale NAS

Overland Storage last week delivered the SnapScale X2 clustered network-attached storage system, based partly on scale-out technology acquired when it bought startup MaxiScale two years ago.

The SnapScale X2 is a scale-up and scale-out storage architecture that can grow from 24 terabytes (TB) to 512 petabytes (PB) in a single global namespace. It is the first scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) system from Overland, which sells SnapServer NAS and SnapSAN disk storage for small- and medium-sized businesses and midrange companies, as well as tape libraries, autoloaders and virtual tape libraries.

Read more about Overland Storage’s SnapScale X2 clustered NAS system.

Microsoft cloud storage plans expand with StorSimple pickup

Microsoft entered into the cloud storage space last week when it revealed plans to acquire StorSimple. The move leaves competitors and others in the storage industry wondering about Microsoft's next move, and what the acquisition will mean to rival cloud providers and the startups that sell cloud storage devices similar to StorSimple's appliances.

Microsoft already offers Windows Azure cloud service in competition with the likes of Amazon S3, Google, AT&T, Nirvanix and Hewlett-Packard Cloud Object Storage. But like the other providers, Microsoft relies on products such as StorSimple's to move data to its cloud.

Read more about Microsoft’s plans to acquire StorSimple.

Zetta adds local option for hybrid cloud backups, DR last week said it will add support for local backup to its DataProtect cloud service, enabling a hybrid approach for cloud backups, replication and disaster recovery.

DataProtect installs as an agent on client systems and synchronizes data that is stored locally and within a cloud that Zetta maintains at Equinix colocation sites on both U.S. coasts.

A new local copy plug-in lets customers use on-premise storage for the most recent copy of large backup files. Chris Schin, Zetta's vice president of products, said the local copy capability allows for faster off-site backup and recovery by splitting the backup load.

Read the full story on the updates to Zetta’s DataProtect cloud service and then read up on recent enhancements to's partner program.

CA ARCserve licensing gets an overhaul

CA Technologies announced changes for ARCserve licensing last week, which the company said will let customers choose either a backup service or an "all-inclusive" option with backup, file and system replication, and high availability functionality.

The changes reflect customers' interest in simpler choices for backup, according to Steve Fairbanks, vice president of product delivery for the data management business for CA.

"Customers are moving away from purchasing components a la carte in favor of simpler, more solution-oriented pricing that's clearly aligned with the level of data protection that their business needs. So we believe customers will welcome the changes to our solution-based pricing. We have reduced the number of SKUs from more than 1,000 to just two, and we are enabling them to license our technology based on capacity or per socket, priced at a simple flat rate," Fairbanks said.

Read more about the changes in licensing for CA’s ARCserve.

Carbonite acquires Zmanda, boosts SMB, cloud presence

Carbonite Inc., a provider of online backup solutions for both consumers and the SMB enterprise market, announced last week it will acquire open source and SMB cloud backup vendor Zmanda Inc.

Zmanda's SMB product line includes an enhanced version of Amanda, the open source backup project believed to be on more than 1 million systems worldwide. Zmanda offers full commercial support for Amanda and has tweaked it for the SMB cloud backup and enterprise space with Zmanda Cloud Backup and Amanda Enterprise.

Read more about Carbonite’s purchase of Zmanda.

Datto launches a new partner program

Datto Inc., a company specializing in backup and disaster recovery hardware, recentlyannounced its new three-tier Partner Alliance Program.

Datto partners will be placed into one of three tiers, now determined by a point-based system. Points are awarded based on the amount of storage partners have purchased through Datto and can be accumulated along with the completion of training requirements to move to higher tiers.

The three tiers -- Authorized Partner, Certified Partner and Preferred Partner -- are each associated with specific benefits.

Also being offered with the new program is a Partner Welcome Kit that includes guides, overviews and training opportunities.

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