Stories by Dan Neel and Mario Apicella

Bracing for the storm

Today the sun is still shining on FC (Fibre Channel), but there are unmistakable signs that a storm -- a whirlwind of IP storage networking products -- is approaching.

Deceptive drives

Let's step outside the enterprise-storage glass house this week and focus on a lighter subject: solid-state
microdrives.

Opinion: The 3Par challenge

Imagine a simple, modular, scalable enterprise storage system with 192 Fibre Channel ports that can interconnect all your mixed-vendor storage servers and implement every storage management function your heart desires in as few as two mouse clicks. Too good to be true, right?But such is the promise of 3ParData's InServ Storage Servers, and the startup is betting its venture-capital funds that its new storage hardware and software products will start moving customers off the mammoth arrays from EMC and Hitachi Data Systems.

Leap of faith

There's a little storage industry group out there called the Enhanced Backup Solutions Initiative (EBSI) that knows what really bugs storage network administrators about their backup routines. Whereas similar groups such as Storage Networking Industry Association point to technical issues including the reluctance of vendors to share product APIs as reasons for end-user woes, the EBSI comes right out and says it.

Reference protector

Did you know those instant messages that pop up on your PC screen instructing you to proceed with whatever it is you do for a living may be considered business documents?So, where are they now? This is the question federal regulators are asking an increasing number of companies.

Is speed everything?

The stand-alone performance of an individual storage device may blow away the competition, but that says nothing about the reliability of the system when it's dropped into a network, right? Well, things get a bit fuzzy there, according to the Storage Performance Council (SPC), which recently issued its SPC-1 storage performance benchmark. SPC-1 is the first multiplatform toolset that allows vendors to measure two key factors of a storage system: how many I/O operations it can sustain and how responsive it is under moderate load.

Making a case for CAS

Once again EMC has spotted a good idea and made the idea its own. In the same way that EMC took a hint from crafty storage software startups last year and then all of a sudden decided to become "the first" true enterprise storage software vendor with its AutoIS storage management initiative, EMC has formed a new technology plan on the shoulders of NAS startups and metadata technology developers called CAS (content addressed storage).

War games

Ready for a bracing dose of the storage industry's equivalent to the game Mortal Combat? At Sun Microsystems' recent iForce Partner Summit, executives for the fairly minor storage player told its faithful that from Sun's perspective, hardware rival IBM was "the ground war," software rival Microsoft was "the air war," and big bad storage bully EMC simply had to be "pushed out" of Sun networks.

In step with InSpeed

If you think Fibre Channel SANs (storage area networks) are so costly and complex that they will eventually lose out to alternative technologies such as iSCSI and Infiniband -- well, you're not entirely wrong.

FTC shuts down spam service for fraud

If you think Fibre Channel SANs (storage area networks) are so costly and complex that they will eventually lose out to alternative technologies such as iSCSI and Infiniband -- well, you're not entirely wrong.

Tomorrow's storage

The inevitable spread of voice recognition technology in the coming years has the potential to overtax the capacity limitations of current storage technologies.

NAS grows up

After a recent chat with a key partner at Charles River Ventures Inc., we went away with a pretty good picture of what the venture capital investment firm sees as the storage network of the future.

Storage hierarchies

One thing we can all agree on regarding hard times: They make you appreciate what you have. Take last month's Storage Management Conference 2002 in Chicago. Gone was the expansionist mentality of years past, when the easiest way to solve a storage problem was to simply throw more capacity at it. Instead, show attendees took on the air of conservationists, concerned about their storage resources and determined to make the most of them. Even tape storage is quickly returning to vogue as a component of a not-so-new idea called HSM (hierarchical storage management).

A tale of two vendors

Remember the classic Dr. Seuss tale of the North-going Zax and the South-going Zax? The two identical creatures meet face-to-face, stopping in their tracks. But both are too proud and stubborn to change their course or move aside, so they just stand there, nose-to-nose, as seasons pass and technology evolves all around them. Such is the predicament in which Fibre Channel switch vendors McData and Brocade Communications Systems may find themselves if the companies become mired in a copyright battle over switch technology that will only become less relevant as time passes.

Unmanageable SANs

Weary storage administrators rejoice, because the first comprehensive storage management solutions are finally here. Fujitsu Software Technology Corp.'s Storage Manager and TrueSAN Networks Inc.'s CloudBreak software deliver a range of functionality, including data management, storage resource management, virtualization, and monitoring -- all through a single interface.