Show us the innovation

We're sick of it, sick of it all. Sitting at the semiannual Storage Networking World conference last month in the hellhole commonly known as Orlando, Florida, one of us (Mario was working in the lab) realized a few things -- we're sick and tired of hearing about SRM (storage resource management) software, standards, and anything that reeks of interoperability.

Yes, we know standards such as CIM (Common InformationModel) are important for advancement of the industryand are necessary for better management of aharmonious, heterogeneous storage environment, butcome on! Doesn't anyone have anything to talk aboutbesides applying standards? Doesn't anyone in theindustry have an interest in innovation? (Before yourebut with policy-based management and automation,think again -- everyone is talking about that, too.)OK, we'll end this rant. Here are a few of the moreinteresting things we found at SNW.

Startup Bocada has a software product dubbedBackupReport that logs and produces reports on thesuccess of an enterprise's backups. Bocada estimatesthat roughly 60 percent of all backups fail;BackupReport will present this data so anadministrator can rectify the failures. A new versionis due Nov. 11.

Arsenal Digital Solutions, a storage service provider(remember those?), is alive and well. It has outlastedhas-been competitors that have become independentsoftware vendors hawking SRM software. Arsenal amasseda number of big, paying customers through itsresellers, such as AT&T and NTT Verio, attributing itssuccess to storage solutions that have been proven towork time and time again.

We also like what we saw and heard from Cisco Systemsand Hitachi Data Systems. Next year Cisco will startintegrating many of its current and future storagefunctions into its family of Ethernet switches.

Meanwhile, HDS will unveil a NAS blade that willreside inside its Lightening box.

And speaking of innovation, isn't it time to find a wayto prevent the perennial NAS manageability andscalability problems? Z-Force solution says it'sclear: Network them, stupid.

In a recent test, the company put together 100 NASdevices from various vendors and linked them to acobweb of GbE switches and Z-Force file switches,which makes it possible to see the whole set as asingle 47TB filer.

More interesting yet, punch in a few rules on theZ-Force file switches, and you can automaticallyspread single files across multiple NAS devices toimprove performance or create mirror images to avoid disasters.

Z-Force claims a jaw-dropping 2GBps (yes, gigabytes)transfer rate, no changes to your software, andcontained cost. We can't wait until Q1 2003, when theZ-Force filer will begin shipping.

That's innovation -- count us in for a test drive.

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