Companies that aren’t solely focused on data storage made some of the most important news at Storage Networking World in Dallas Oct. 13 to 16.
Cisco Systems, for example, which is plunging swiftly into the data center systems business while continuing to roll along as the world’s No. 1 networking infrastructure supplier, unveiled some groundbreaking data center control software.
Cisco unveiled new application delivery network capabilities for disaster recovery, security and regulatory compliance for its Data Center 3.0 management package. Cisco’s Data Center 3.0 architecture provides a framework for IT staff to build highly secure, green data centers.
Thanks to I/O throughput improvements within the firmware, Cisco’s WAAS (Wide-Area Application Services) reduces bandwidth requirements, data replication times, time to recovery and data loss while increasing acceptable distance between data centers and aiding regulatory compliance.
The newest version of Cisco’s WAAS software sports a Replication Accelerator mode that optimizes data center replication capabilities for storage applications.
The added capabilities will help IT managers overcome WAN bandwidth limitations when remotely replicating data over IP networks between data centers, which improves disaster recovery capabilities.
The Cisco WAAS Replication Accelerator mode has been tested and validated for use with EMC SRDF and NetApp SnapMirror applications.
Sun making storage advances with SSDs
Sun Microsystems, which has been all about data center servers, Java and open-source software, is moving more aggressively into the storage sector, too.
Two and a half years ago, when current CEO Jonathan Schwartz replaced Scott McNealy at the company’s helm, Schwartz said servers, software/services and storage would be the three core businesses Sun would rely on. That is exactly the course the company is following.
Sun and Fujitsu introduced their SPARC T5440 enterprise server Oct. 13, and Sun Vice President of Systems John Fowler told me to watch for announcements coming soon about the use of solid-state flash as an option in the company’s servers and storage arrays.
EMC and Dell already have been offering servers and arrays with optional SSDs, but they haven’t exactly been selling like hotcakes in this sluggish economy. Many industry observers, however, see SSDs as the drives of the long-term future, due in part to their much-lower power requirements.
“No question that we’re going to be going in that direction,” Sun’s Fowler said, adding that the Intel SSD drives would soon be made optional for the powerful yet ecologically friendly T5440, which uses substantially less energy than older servers yet delivers much more computing power.
Storage Project from 3PAR, Symantec
3PAR, Symantec team up to save storage space
3PAR and Symantec announced that they are teaming up to help put to work orphaned or unused storage space that is costing enterprises lots of money with no return, as well as to optimize currently usable capacity.
The combination of 3PAR’s highly regarded thin-provisioning software and Symantec Veritas’ Storage Foundation puts to use file system-level intelligence to automatically optimize storage system utilization.
This “space reclamation project” is just what the doctor ordered for many IT managers, who often in the past have had to struggle with older single-use servers and arrays, and not get a full use of the capacities at hand.
Thin provisioning is a method of storage resource management and virtualization that lets IT administrators limit the allocation of actual physical storage to what applications immediately need. It enables the automatic addition of capacity on demand up to preset limits so that IT departments can avoid buying and managing excessive amounts of disk storage.
“Thin provisioning has quickly become a ‘must have’ in the fight against low disk utilization, which is cited time and time again as a major pain point for data centers,” said Jeff Boles, senior analyst at Taneja Group.
The joint project between 3PAR and Symantec is aimed at giving Storage Foundation the ability to track the mapping of block-level capacity to thin-provisioned volumes on 3PAR InServ Storage Servers.