Brocade buy consolidates switch market

A lot of interesting news this week, what with Brocade acquiring McData for US$713 million. The acquisition signals further consolidation of the Fibre Channel switch market -- now there are only three Fibre Channel switch makers left -- Cisco, which is quickly taking market share away from Brocade and McData at the high end; QLogic, which focuses on low-end fabric switches; and Brocade.

Brocade is under a shadow again -- ex-CEO Greg Reyes this week was charged with additional counts of security fraud. Reyes, who was released on US$500,000 bail, could face as much as 20 years in jail and millions of dollars in fines if he is found guilty of back-dating employee stock options. As for Brocade, the company says that no executives involved in the alleged stock options back-dating scheme are still with the company.

IBM bolstered its mid-range storage family this week with the addition of the System Storage DS4200 Express Model. The company compares its 8TB entry-level array to HP's Modular Smart Array 1500 and EMC's AX100, both of which HP and IBM say are intended for use by organizations that do not have a lot of storage expertise. The DS4200 starts at US$11,500 without disk drives.

Sun refreshed its storage product line this week by re-branding two StorageTek arrays. The StorEdge 6540 array, formerly known as the StorageTek FlexLine 380, uses 4Gbps Fibre Channel and 500GB Serial ATA drives. The StorageTek 6140 uses either Fibre Channel or Serial ATA disks for a maximum capacity of 57TB.

A new storage blog has surfaced, thanks to Robin Harris, an ex-Sun storage marketing manager. Harris blogs regularly (meaning every day) on storage and data center topics. The guy is interesting to read.

We're not going to report here on all the data that is going missing on corporate laptops, but watch out for a story in Network World soon. It seems that every week we can read about another laptop being stolen, another bunch of tapes going to Iron Mountain disappearing or an Iron Mountain facility burning down. I don't think it's happening any more often than it was before -- it's now just being publicized more regularly.

This week, EMC rejiggered and reorged its executive management team. The company -- whose execs, under CEO and Chairman Joe Tucci, are all CEO material on their own -- are assuming new positions. Is a succession plan being created for the 58-year-old Tucci? The company won't say. Nonetheless, the company is giving necessary experience to its execs should Tucci decide to retire.

Sepaton this week partnered with two storage startups to add encryption capability to its virtual tape library appliance. Both NeoScale's and Decru's storage appliances can be paired with Sepaton's S2100-ES2 Virtual Tape Library.

QLogic, a maker of Fibre Channel storage gear, this week announced that it holds more than 50 percent of the Fibre Channel host bus adapter market. According to the Dell'Oro SAN report, Qlogic took the lead in the 4GB HBA market, with more than a 20 percent increase.

Zmanda announced this week that it now supports backing up all major operating system platforms, including Windows and Solaris. Zmanda, the company that was formed to commercialize the open source backup product Amanda, provides support and documentation subscriber services to Amanda users. Its Amanda Enterprise is a commercial-grade version of Amanda. Amanda Enterprise now features improved security and support for OpenSSL. Amanda is a pretty cool product for backing up Linux and Windows servers and workstations. According to Zmanda, the product has approximately 20,000 customers.

Further, and not the least important news, Avamar announced an enhanced version of its NDMP (Network Data Management Protocol) Backup Accelerator, which significantly, according to Avamar's claims, increases backup performance over local and remote networks. The NDMP accelerator performs full file-server backups by accepting backup data from the Network Appliance file server and performing data de-duplication in real-time. After an initial full backup, subsequent backups move and store only incremental changes from the filer. Avamar's Axion then merges any changes from the last incremental backup to create a full backup that's restorable in a single operation. Avamar says that IT can spend hours, and even days, backing up a Network Appliance network of file servers, a task no one wants.

And a final word to the wise: Don't even think of snooping on your boss's or colleague's e-mail. Don't think about it even if you can. The Department of Justice charged an IT administrator this week with intercepting electronic communications and illegally obtaining information. The Justice Department says that William Dobson of Salt Lake City illegally forwarded e-mail from his former employer after leaving the company. Shame on you -- it may have been tempting, but hardly worth it. Dobson could face 15 years in jail and US$250,000 in restitution.

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