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Windows Storage Server 2012 adds enterprise-grade features; more news

Even with features appealing to the enterprise, Windows Storage Server 2012 will likely remain most popular among SMBs.

Windows Storage Server 2012 adds enterprise-grade features

Microsoft's Windows Storage Server 2012 packs in more enterprise-grade features than prior editions, but the recently released software likely will continue to find its sweetest spot with small- to mid-sized businesses and departments of large companies.

A storage-focused OS based on the underlying technology of Windows Server 2012, Storage Server is specifically for network-attached storage (NAS) and iSCSI storage systems sold by OEMs. It includes new capabilities such as data deduplication, the scalability-boosting Resilient File System (ReFS), Server Message Block (SMB) 3.0 protocol improvements, and Storage Spaces virtualization technology to create storage pools and enable failover between multiple nodes. IBM, Dell and Hewlett-Packard all build low-end NAS systems around Windows Storage Server 2012. Overall, Microsoft claims more than 60 partners have sold NAS systems running its storage operating system.

Learn more about the enterprise features in Windows Storage Server 2012.

HP StoreVirtual replaces LeftHand, adds StoreEasy NAS

Hewlett-Packard Co. last week launched new LeftHand iSCSI SAN and Windows-based network-attached storage products, rebranding both systems and adding Fibre Channel connectivity to LeftHand.

As part of a rebranding of its storage platforms, the LeftHand storage arrays will become HP's StoreVirtual Storage platform. HP is keeping the LeftHand brand for the underlying software, which had been known as SAN/iQ. The arrays previously were called LeftHand P4000 Storage systems. HP began the rebranding in August with its latest LeftHand-based virtual storage appliance.

HP's Windows-based network-attached storage (NAS) becomes StoreEasy as it moves to Windows Storage Server 2012. Its Windows-based NAS previously consisted of the X1000 G2, X3000 G2 and X5000 G2 series.

Read the full story on HP's rebranding of its LeftHand SAN and Windows-based NAS products.

NetApp FAS storage line refreshed with FAS3220, 3250 models

NetApp Inc. today refreshed the midrange line of its flagship FAS storage array platform, adding capacity, processing power and array flash caching to two new models of its FAS3200 series.

The new FAS3220 and 3250 arrays replace NetApp's FAS3210, 3240 and 3270 arrays.

The FAS3220 is the direct replacement for the FAS3210. It has 24 GB of system memory and eight processor cores in each high availability (HA) pair, compared to the 3210's 10 GB of memory and four cores. The FAS3220 also has 480 drives -- twice as many as the 3210 -- for a maximum capacity of 1.2 petabytes (PB) when fully loaded with 3 terabyte (TB) drives.

Learn more about NetApp's new storage array models and then see how NetApp fared in this year's Quality Awards for midrange arrays competition.

Cloud data storage services in wide use among companies of all sizes

Cloud storage services for data protection and other applications are currently used by 44% of companies that responded to a recent TechTarget survey. That number should grow over the next six months or so, as 46% said they plan to increase their use of cloud data storage services. For the most part, cloud storage users are quite satisfied with the services they're using: 17% rate their experience to date as "outstanding," 59% said it has been "good" and only 3% expressed disappointment.

Similar cloud storage usage statistics were reported in a Purchasing Intentions survey conducted earlier by TechTarget's Storage Media Group -- 29% of respondents were using cloud storage for non-backup applications, and 33% noted the use of cloud backup services.

Learn more about cloud storage usage among customers by reading the full story, and then read Kevin McDonald's call for an accreditation process for cloud storage services.

iWave Storage Automator app released as a virtual appliance

IWave Software last week said it will deliver the latest version of its Storage Automator as a virtual appliance for easier deployment.

IWave also added support for Windows Active Directory, a more robust application programming interface (API), and a cost code capability for chargeback tracking to version 6.5.

Storage Automator helps administrators handle storage provisioning and tiering, reclaim capacity and extend block storage for Linux, VMware ESX Servers and VMware clusters, CIFS, and NFS volumes. The storage automation software matches application needs to the right storage tier, array, device group and type and data path, according to iWave CEO Brent Rhymes.

Read the full story on iWave's latest version of Storage Automator.

Rackspace releases Cloud Block Storage for improved performance

Cloud storage often is associated with object storage to allow massive scalability and geographic independence of data, allowing it to be accessed from any location. But object storage lags behind block storage for performance.

Cloud provider Rackspace recently began offering Cloud Block Storage, powered by OpenStack, to compete with Amazon Web Services' Elastic Block Store. Rackspace's Cloud Block Storage service holds active application data, such as database transactions, messages and files that are accessed regularly, where AWS S3 is meant to hold infrequently accessed file or data objects.

Cloud Block Storage requires the compute, storage and applications to reside in a data center and delivers the kind of high-performance that object storage can't provide. Cloud Block Storage uses solid-state drives (SSDs) for high performance applications and hard disk drives for applications that need more moderate performance.

Read the full story on Rackspace's Cloud Block Storage service and then read up on HP's Cloud Object Storage.

Sonnet upgrades xMac mini Server; Apricorn announces Velocity Solo X2

Sonnet Technologies Inc. last week announced that its xMac mini Server, a PCIe 2.0 expansion system for Mac mini computers with Thunderbolt ports, is USB 3.0 compatible. Apricorn Co. last month announced the Velocity Solo X2 as part of its Velocity Solo Desktop SSD Upgrade line.

Sonnet says the xMac mini Server is designed to "transform a Mac mini into a full-fledged expandable rackmount server," when the computer is mounted inside a specially designed 1U rackmount enclosure containing two PCIe 2.0 slots that connect to the computer via its Thunderbolt port.

The company says the product is designed to be used as a back-office RAID server; a metadata controller; or mobile rack for audio, on-location video or other media projects.

Learn more about the upgrades to the xMac mini server and Apricorn's new Velocity Solo X2.

TwinStrata adds cloud NAS to CloudArray

TwinStata Inc. today added network-attached storage capability, a solid-state drive option, more service provider partners and a new pricing alternative to its cloud storage arrays.

The changes are part of TwinStrata's CloudArray 4.0 platform. The cloud network-attached storage (NAS) support complements the iSCSI SAN capability TwinStrata has offered since it began selling its CloudArray products in 2010.

TwinStrata's new CloudArray P300 models consist of a virtual appliance and three physical devices with redundant controllers. The P300 models include at least 1 terabyte (TB) of usable local cache and support up to 50 petabytes (PB) in the cloud.

Read the full story on the updates to TwinStrata's cloud storage arrays.

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