Storage Digest: Center Investigates Rising Data Center Costs; New Intelligent Grid Storage System

Carnegie Mellon researchers investigate rising costs of data center operations; Crosswalk announces intelligent grid storage system; MaXXan partners with HP; Tape cartridge shipments surpassing forecasts; Hitachi passes interoperability test for IBM zSeri

Researchers Investigate Rising Costs of Data Center Operations

Carnegie Mellon University researchers on May 24 announced the creation in Pittsburgh of the Data Center Observatory, a dual-purpose facility that is both a working data center and a research vehicle for the study of data center automation and efficiency.

The DCO is a large-scale collaborative effort between Carnegie Mellons College of Engineering and School of Computer Science. It also includes participation from a number of industry and government partners, including American Power Conversion, which is providing engineering expertise and its InfraStruXure system for powering, cooling, racking and managing equipment in the DCO.

The DCOs principal research goals are to better comprehend and mitigate human administration costs and complexities, power and cooling challenges, and failures and their consequences. It also aims to understand resource utilization patterns and opportunities to reduce costs by sharing resources among users.

Energy efficiency is one of the centers major thrusts, the university said. For years, the amount of power consumed by commodity servers has been increasing, as has the number of servers placed in a facility.

The 2,000-square-foot DCO has the ability to support 40 racks of computers, which would consume energy at a rate of up to 774 kW—more than the rate of consumption of 750 average-sized homes.

Crosswalk Announces New Intelligent Grid Storage System

Crosswalk, a provider of high-performance collaborative computing systems, on May 24 announced the release of its iGrid Intelligent Storage Grid System. iGrid enables users to concurrently access any data they need for collaborative projects by delivering seamless connectivity between applications, storage resources and file systems, the Westminster, Colo., company said. The software offers a single view of an entire storage environment, which, combined with a policy-driven architecture, simplifies what were previously complex and time-consuming management tasks.

The first release of the iGrid Intelligent Storage Grid System, the iGrid 5100 Series, supports from two to eight nodes and is architected to support up to 256 nodes in the future. Each node has from eight to 12 Gigabit Ethernet front-end network interfaces and eight back-end Fibre Channel ports. iGrid has no requirement for host agents and operates seamlessly with NFS and CIFS protocols, Crosswalk said.

MaXXan Partners with HP

Data replication vendor MaXXan Systems of San Jose, Calif., said May 24 it will begin offering secure enterprise storage solutions that integrate with those of Hewlett-Packard.

One of the first of these is Secure Data Replication, or Secure DR. MaXXans enterprise encryption product, CipherMax, can be used to encrypt all data on disk and tape drives within an enterprise data center for a secure SAN (storage area network) environment. By integrating HP hardware and software with the MaXXan components, users also have the ability to extend the secure SAN environment to remote data centers and IT locations elsewhere in the enterprise, the company said.

In the Secure DR configuration, CipherMax encrypts all data as it leaves the corporate data replication server. The data is completely secure during the entire transmission process, instead of creating a potential security risk while passing through the communications media.

The Secure DR solution was tested using HP StorageWorks EVA6000 and EVA8000 storage arrays, HP Storage SAN Switches, and HP Business Copy EVA software, suitable for sites at distances of up to 70 kilometers, the company said.

Tape Cartridge Shipments Surpassing Forecasts

HP, IBM and Quantum, the three technology provider companies for the LTO (Linear Tape-Open) Program, announced May 23 that 2005 shipments of LTO Ultrium 3 tape cartridges with WORM technology have surpassed early forecasts.

"Tape is clearly one of the most cost-effective methods for storing data offline in a secure environment," said Robert Abraham, president of Freeman Reports in Ojai, Calif. "Archiving the data in an unalterable way, such as via LTO WORM, will provide yet another level of assurance and help administrators address compliance regulations."

The companies credited the growing importance of regulatory compliance and the need for a cost-effective storage medium designed to preserve data in a nonrewritable, nonerasable format for the demand to address imposing data storage requirements such as SEC Rule 17-a-4(f).

Hitachi Passes Interoperability Test for IBM zSeries Mainframes

Hitachi and its subsidiary Hitachi Data Systems have successfully completed compatibility and interoperability testing between Hitachi storage packages and IBM zSeries mainframe systems.

A significant number of customers—in the financial services industry and other key sectors—rely on mainframe systems to run mission-critical applications, Hitachi said.

The testing environments included enterprise storage products by Hitachi such as the Hitachi TagmaStore, Universal Storage Platform, Hitachi TagmaStore Network Storage Controller, Hitachi Sanrise Universal Storage Platform and Hitachi Sanrise Network Storage Controller.

Hitachis support of Enterprise System Connection, Fiber Connection and Fibre Channel Protocol connectivity for select configurations of IBM eServer zSeries 800, 900 and 990 systems and System z9, running operating systems including z/OS 1.6, z/OS 1.7, VM/ESA 5.2.0 and Linux on System z, was successfully tested.


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