Product Focus

LAND OF THE STORAGE HOME OF THE DATA, AS AGENCIES ACCUMULATE DATA, STORAGE BECOMES CRUCIAL.

by / June 30, 1999 0
As government agencies increasingly rely on information systems, they generate vast quantities of data that must be reliably stored and easily accessible by numerous users.

Experts have predicted data volumes will grow by at least 50 percent a year thanks to electronic commerce, data warehouses and information-intensive applications focused on such things as enterprise resource management, multimedia and e-mail messages.

Network-centric data storage has doubled annually for the last several years, and will continue this type of growth for several more. By the end of 1999, demand for network data storage will approach 60,000 terabytes, a quantum leap from the 5,000 terabytes needed last year.

Major vendors, such as Compaq and Dell, recently announced enterprise storage-system strategies, signaling their entry into the network-storage arena.

As volume increases, keeping information both accessible and safe is difficult. Every organization needs a comprehensive data-storage strategy that meets their daily activity and backup requirements.

Most government agencies look for products that support a wide range of applications with varying performance and capacity requirements; have high reliability, enable installation of additional storage without further straining general-purpose servers or requiring network downtime, provide faster recovery and high-performance backup solutions; and deliver cost-effective fault-tolerance with RAID storage subsystems.



RAID Your Data

A Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) system is the most common way to protect network content. Investment in a RAID system typically starts at more than $10,000 but pays dividends by keeping applications and data available to network users. While there are six formal RAID levels, 0 through 5, many vendors offer proprietary RAID configurations with levels 7 through 10, or higher.

Today's RAID storage systems often sit outside the server, and can connect to more than one server to keep network storage available. However, adding a RAID system can double the cost of a server, making agencies confront cost and benefit decisions.

The backup and restore process comes down to two elements: the media and software. Despite advances in CD technologies, nothing has replaced tape for economical storage. However, even tape media decisions involve balancing cost, capacity and speed.

A tape backup device is still the simplest defense against data loss. Costs, capacities and performance vary. Picking the right tape backup device is as important as choosing a hard drive and a RAID system for your server.



Finding the Right Architecture

Network Attached Storage (NAS) servers are increasingly popular options with IT managers struggling to handle massive data growth. They relocate data-storage tasks from traditional servers to physically separate boxes, and can be plugged into a network where needed. They are highly scalable and can save data to clients of varying operating systems and platforms. In contrast, hard drives have limited scalability and operate only in a homogenous environment. NAS devices range in size from 4 to 6 terabytes.

One major shortcoming of NAS servers is that the network on which they run is also used for data access by clients to retrieve data from the file server or to communicate with an application server. The data movement between the disk and tape servers also goes over the same LAN. An increase in users could create a network bottleneck.

To overcome some of the shortcoming of NAS, another core technology architecture, Storage Area Network (SAN), is finding its way into enterprise data centers. Being a separate dedicated network, it avoids any traffic between clients and servers. A Fibre Channel-based SAN combines the high performance of an I/O channel and the connectivity (distance) of a network.

Adapting SAN technology through use of Fibre Channel and hubs and switches allows high-speed connectivity using a separate network infrastructure. SAN enables concurrent access of disk or tape arrays by two or more servers at high speeds across Fibre Channel, providing souped-up system performance.

SAN Fibre Channel products, including Fibre Channel adapters, hubs, switches and routers, SCSI/FC bridges, disk drives and testers from multiple sources, are quickly finding their place in the market.



Products to pack away your data

Storage Management Software

ARCserveIT automates many storage-management tasks and lets system administrators easily perform essential data-protection routines.

From one central location, users can manage virtually any aspect of the backup-and-restore operation anywhere on the network, providing fast, efficient operation.

Available features include tape- and optical-library support and free tape RAID support. Optional agents and options include online image backup, open-file backup, backup to mainframes, disaster recovery, Fibre Channel support, online-application backup and heterogeneous-client backup.

ARCserveIT's advanced edition is for mid-to-large organizations requiring multiple-server data protection and centralized management based on the Windows NT platform. It provides client-agent support for additional platforms such as Win 3.x, Win 95/98, NetWare, OS/2, Macintosh and various UNIX platforms.

It also supports a wide range of options including Fibre Channel support, tape- and optical-library support, data replication, data migration, RAID, high-speed image backup and disaster recovery, as well as protecting mission-critical applications such as Oracle, MS-SQL, Informix, MS-Exchange and Lotus Notes.

Additional information is available by contacting Computer Associates Web site or at 888/864-2368.



Dell

Dell's SAN solution, a Fibre Channel/SCSI bridge attached to PowerVault 130T DLT tape library, provides a highly available centralized storage solution -- within the data center and remote sites (500m) -- designed for no single point of failure in critical components and high-performance tape backup.

It helps reduce backup time, shrinks backup costs, eliminates LAN as bottleneck and maximizes backup performance.

It allows users to share Fibre Channel storage devices and attach high-performance centralized tape backup resources for multiple NT servers via a redundant Fibre Channel switched configuration.

It supports direct connection from a single PowerVault 130T DLT Library to a maximum of six PowerEdge servers.

Additional information is available by contacting Dell Web site or at 800/416-3355.



Storing Electronic Communication

StorageTek is helping companies and government agencies resolve the growing e-mail storage problem with MessageVault, an integrated solution of software and hardware for archiving and retrieving critical electronic messages.

Agencies like the National Archives and Records Administration receive 1 million e-mails daily, creating a need for extensive storage, detailed indexing and accurate retrieval.

Additional information is available by contacting StorageTechnology Corp. Web site or at 800/786-7835.



Travan NS TreeFrog

The Travan NS TreeFrog provides an affordable backup and storage solution for distributed networks and servers. The Travan NS TreeFrog (Spectra 1000) delivers up to 600GB of compressed data (300GB native) at compressed backup rates of 14.4GB per hour in a 30-cartridge, two-drive tape library.

It provides read-while-write capability and hardware data compression based on IBM's ALDC chip to meet today's network storage requirements.

The TreeFrog can be configured with 15 or 30 cartridges and one or two Travan drives. Through simple drive upgrades, the Travan NS TreeFrog will support multiple generations of Travan NS technology, currently forecasted beyond NS 36 -- providing a 30-cartridge, two-drive Travan TreeFrog with a compressed capacity of more than 1 terabyte and a backup rate of 28GB per hour.

Additional information is available by contacting Spectralogic Web site or at 303/449-6400.



Server Backup

The OnStream family of server backup solutions offers compressed capacities of 30GB and 50GB. It stores up to 7GB per hour native transfer rate and can backup your server or workstation on one cartridge.

The 30GB model costs $499 and the 50GB drive costs $699.

Additional information is avai- lable by contacting OnStream Inc. Web site or at 800/759-4621.



Pioneer

Pioneer's DRM-6NX is a NAS solution and combines hard-drive caching, a network interface and a six-disc CD-ROM changer in a single, small-footprint device.

A NAS for departmental workgroups, it provides multiple users with fast, convenient access to data stored on CD-ROMs without routing through a file server.

It is designed for 100BaseT or 10BaseT Ethernet networks and is fully compatible with NetWare, OS/2, MS Windows, DOS, UNIX or a Web-based browser.

With its combination of an internal hard drive and a six-disc changer, the 6NX provides multiple users with access to the contents of up to 14 CD-ROMs. Caching options enable users to cache entire disc content or only the most frequently used data to optimize file access across a greater number of CDs.

Using the 6NX SCSI expansion port, as many as five additional CD-ROM six-disc changers or drives can be simultaneously connected for up to 36 CD-ROMs.

The DRM-6NX allows system control through a Web-browser screen. This Windows-like Web interface provides an intuitive tool for administrative tasks such as network settings, access rights, caching options and server status monitoring. It can also be programmed for individual password access from any chained client.

It costs about $2,495.

Additional information is available by contacting Pioneer New Media Technologies Inc. Web site or at 310/952-2111.



Plasmon

Introduced by Plasmon IDE, the AutoTower combines Network Attached Storage (NAS) with a DVD-RAM library, providing rewritable, high-capacity near-line storage and low-cost network administration.

It eliminates the high cost and complexity of maintaining jukebox storage on a network. In addition, the DVD-RAM media has four times the capacity of the CD media used in CD-libraries.

The AutoTower with DVD-RAM is a broad-interest, multipurpose storage device for small- to medium-size networks. It provides a low-cost, near-linear rewritable storage solution for content-rich data files, medical imaging applications, digital pre-press and backup applications.

HTTP support allows remote administrative access and management via a Web browser. The AutoTower also has a 9GB hard drive, which caches frequently used files.

Preliminary pricing for a two-drive, 120-slot model is less than $15,000.

Additional information is available by contacting Plasmon Web site or at 800/451-6845.



ICEbox NAS 2000

ICEbox NAS 2000 is a rack-mountable RAID storage system that combines network attached storage, RAID technology and fault-tolerant subsystems.

It provides up to 327.6GB of online native storage and can accommodate up to 18 low-profile disk drives.

It supports a user-friendly, Java-based graphical user interface that runs in an Internet browser. In addition, it can disk-chain Land-5's Tape RAID Array system for simultaneous, high-performance local backup.

It can run both UNIX and Windows NT networks. All power supplies, most fans and RAID drives are hot-swappable to permit maintenance without interrupting system operation.

It also comes with enclosure monitoring for power supplies, fans, drives, controllers, chassis, temperature and voltage -- supplemented by front-panel LCD alarms and audible warnings.

According to Al Kernek with Land-5, "the NAS 2000 is an excellent solution to expanding enterprise storage without disrupting the network. Typically, the system can be installed in under 30 minutes with immediate usability."

Additional information is available by contacting Land-5 Corp. Web site or at 888/226-6544.



By the Numbers

The RAID Array 8000 (RA8000) and the Enterprise Storage Array 12000 (ESA12000) external storage systems provide support for Intel-based, open systems platforms and the most widely used UNIX platforms.

The RA8000/ESA12000 are delivered as a complete Ultra SCSI solution and a complete Fibre Channel-based offering.

The RA8000/ESA12000 Fibre Channels operate on a storage area network (SAN) constructed using Fibre Channel hubs and switches connected by optical-fiber cabling. C bridges, disk drives and testers from multiple sources, are quickly finding their place in the market.



Products to pack away your data

Storage Management Software

ARCserveIT automates many storage-management tasks and lets system administrators easily perform essential data-protection routines.

From one central location, users can manage virtually any aspect of the backup-and-restore operation anywhere on the network, providing fast, efficient operation.

Available features include tape- and optical-library support and free tape RAID support. Optional agents and options include online image backup, open-file backup, backup to mainframes, disaster recovery, Fibre Channel support, online-application backup and heterogeneous-client backup.

ARCserveIT's advanced edition is for mid-to-large organizations requiring multiple-server data protection and centralized management based on the Windows NT platform. It provides client-agent support for additional platforms such as Win 3.x, Win 95/98, NetWare, OS/2, Macintosh and various UNIX platforms.

It also supports a wide range of options including Fibre Channel support, tape- and optical-library support, data replication, data migration, RAID, high-speed image backup and disaster recovery, as well as protecting mission-critical applications such as Oracle, MS-SQL, Informix, MS-Exchange and Lotus Notes.

Additional information is available by contacting Computer Associates Web site or at 888/864-2368.



Dell

Dell's SAN solution, a Fibre Channel/SCSI bridge attached to PowerVault 130T DLT tape library, provides a highly available centralized storage solution -- within the data center and remote sites (500m) -- designed for no single point of failure in critical components and high-performance tape backup.

It helps reduce backup time, shrinks backup costs, eliminates LAN as bottleneck and maximizes backup performance.

It allows users to share Fibre Channel storage devices and attach high-performance centralized tape backup resources for multiple NT servers via a redundant Fibre Channel switched configuration.

It supports direct connection from a single PowerVault 130T DLT Library to a maximum of six PowerEdge servers.

Additional information is available by contacting Dell Web site or at 800/416-3355.



Storing Electronic Communication

StorageTek is helping companies and government agencies resolve the growing e-mail storage problem with MessageVault, an integrated solution of software and hardware for archiving and retrieving critical electronic messages.

Agencies like the National Archives and Records Administration receive 1 million e-mails daily, creating a need for extensive storage, detailed indexing and accurate retrieval.

Additional information is available by contacting StorageTechnology Corp. Web site or at 800/786-7835.



Travan NS TreeFrog

The Travan NS TreeFrog provides an affordable backup and storage solution for distributed networks and servers. The Travan NS TreeFrog (Spectra 1000) delivers up to 600GB of compressed data (300GB native) at compressed backup rates of 14.4GB per hour in a 30-cartridge, two-drive tape library.

It provides read-while-write capability and hardware data compression based on IBM's ALDC chip to meet today's network storage requirements.

The TreeFrog can be configured with 15 or 30 cartridges and one or two Travan drives. Through simple drive upgrades, the Travan NS TreeFrog will support multiple generations of Travan NS technology, currently forecasted beyond NS 36 -- providing a 30-cartridge, two-drive Travan TreeFrog with a compressed capacity of more than 1 terabyte and a backup rate of 28GB per hour.

Additional information is available by contacting Spectralogic Web site or at 303/449-6400.



Server Backup

The OnStream family of server backup solutions offers compressed capacities of 30GB and 50GB. It stores up to 7GB per hour native transfer rate and can backup your server or workstation on one cartridge.

The 30GB model costs $499 and the 50GB drive costs $699.

Additional information is avai- lable by contacting OnStream Inc. Web site or at 800/759-4621.



Pioneer

Pioneer's DRM-6NX is a NAS solution and combines hard-drive caching, a network interface and a six-disc CD-ROM changer in a single, small-footprint device.

A NAS for departmental workgroups, it provides multiple users with fast, convenient access to data stored on CD-ROMs without routing through a file server.

It is designed for 100BaseT or 10BaseT Ethernet networks and is fully compatible with NetWare, OS/2, MS Windows, DOS, UNIX or a Web-based browser.

With its combination of an internal hard drive and a six-disc changer, the 6NX provides multiple users with access to the contents of up to 14 CD-ROMs. Caching options enable users to cache entire disc content or only the most frequently used data to optimize file access across a greater number of CDs.

Using the 6NX SCSI expansion port, as many as five additional CD-ROM six-disc changers or drives can be simultaneously connected for up to 36 CD-ROMs.

The DRM-6NX allows system control through a Web-browser screen. This Windows-like Web interface provides an intuitive tool for administrative tasks such as network settings, access rights, caching options and server status monitoring. It can also be programmed for individual password access from any chained client.

It costs about $2,495.

Additional information is available by contacting Pioneer New Media Technologies Inc. Web site or at 310/952-2111.



Plasmon

Introduced by Plasmon IDE, the AutoTower combines Network Attached Storage (NAS) with a DVD-RAM library, providing rewritable, high-capacity near-line storage and low-cost network administration.

It eliminates the high cost and complexity of maintaining jukebox storage on a network. In addition, the DVD-RAM media has four times the capacity of the CD media used in CD-libraries.

The AutoTower with DVD-RAM is a broad-interest, multipurpose storage device for small- to medium-size networks. It provides a low-cost, near-linear rewritable storage solution for content-rich data files, medical imaging applications, digital pre-press and backup applications.

HTTP support allows remote administrative access and management via a Web browser. The AutoTower also has a 9GB hard drive, which caches frequently used files.

Preliminary pricing for a two-drive, 120-slot model is less than $15,000.

Additional information is available by contacting Plasmon Web site or at 800/451-6845.



ICEbox NAS 2000

ICEbox NAS 2000 is a rack-mountable RAID storage system that combines network attached storage, RAID technology and fault-tolerant subsystems.

It provides up to 327.6GB of online native storage and can accommodate up to 18 low-profile disk drives.

It supports a user-friendly, Java-based graphical user interface that runs in an Internet browser. In addition, it can disk-chain Land-5's Tape RAID Array system for simultaneous, high-performance local backup.

It can run both UNIX and Windows NT networks. All power supplies, most fans and RAID drives are hot-swappable to permit maintenance without interrupting system operation.

It also comes with enclosure monitoring for power supplies, fans, drives, controllers, chassis, temperature and voltage -- supplemented by front-panel LCD alarms and audible warnings.

According to Al Kernek with Land-5, "the NAS 2000 is an excellent solution to expanding enterprise storage without disrupting the network. Typically, the system can be installed in under 30 minutes with immediate usability."

Additional information is available by contacting Land-5 Corp. Web site or at 888/226-6544.



By the Numbers

The RAID Array 8000 (RA8000) and the Enterprise Storage Array 12000 (ESA12000) external storage systems provide support for Intel-based, open systems platforms and the most widely used UNIX platforms.

The RA8000/ESA12000 are delivered as a complete Ultra SCSI solution and a complete Fibre Channel-based offering.

The RA8000/ESA12000 Fibre Channels operate on a storage area network (SAN) constructed using Fibre Channel hubs and switches connected by optical-fiber cabling.

They are scalable, high-capacity storage subsystems. They are the first complete multivendor Fibre Channel storage subsystems offered by Compaq. The Fibre Channel RA8000 offers an optical Fibre Channel host interface and an Ultra SCSI drive interface.

A 24-drive cabinet with a single or dual controller option serves as the modular system building block. The RA8000 is available in both pedestal and rack-mountable versions and is ideal for departmental data needs. The rack-mountable version can be mounted in industry-standard 19-inch racks or cabinets.

Capacity starts at 24 drives and can be expanded to 72 drives. Storage control is provided either by a single controller or twin controllers operating in dual redundant mode.

The ESA 12000 is a preconfigured, rack-mounted, scalable, high-capacity storage solution for enterprise data centers. The configure-to-order option offers the convenience of preassembly to the customer. Customers can order an ESA12000 system preconfigured according to their specifications for immediate installation.

It offers the following configuration options: one 24-drive cabinet mounted in a rack with dual controllers, providing extra rack space for future storage or other components, two 24-drive cabinets mounted in a rack with two controllers and two 24-drive cabinets mounted in a rack with four controllers.

Additional information is available by contacting Compaq Web site or at 800/767-9675.



Tape Library

TLS-412360 is capable of housing 46 terabytes of data in a case over 4 feet high and 2 feet wide, compact enough to fit in even the tightest server rooms.

It is designed around Sony AIT and AIT2 tape drives. AIT offers up to 91GB of compressed data storage per cartridge, while AIT2 will hold up to 130GB.

Housing up to 360 tape cartridges, it also uses onboard barcode scanning to keep the tapes in order and the entire process on track.

Additional information is available by contacting Qualstar Corp. Web site or at 818/592-0081.




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Terminology
Network Attached Storage (NAS):

A specialized file server that connects to the network. It uses traditional LAN protocols such as Ethernet and TCP/IP and processes only file I/O requests such as NFS (UNIX) and SMB (DOS/Windows).

Storage Area Network (SAN):

A back-end network connecting storage devices via peripheral channels such as SCSI, SSA, ESCON and Fibre Channel. There are two ways of implementing SANs: centralized and decentralized.

Source: The Computer Desktop Encyclopedia.

Nanotechnology

Researchers at Cornell University will be using nanotechnology to expand disk capacity. Nano-magnets could be used to create billions of magnetic fields on a computer hard drive. When a magnetic stylus passes over the disk's surface, the fields' polarities shift, storing information in the form of binary data.

By lining up a series of magnets as tiny as 140 nanometers (a nanometer equals one-billionth of a meter) in length, and controlling their magnetic fields, they can be used to store data at up to 100 times the current storage density of common hard drives.