Two topics – really on opposite ends of the storage spectrum – captured my attention this week. The first had to do with an announcement that Imation made this past Wednesday regarding it being the first and only company currently licensed to manufacture LTO-5 tape media. The other had to do with cloud storage and some of the conversations that I continued to have with various providers in terms of how ready (or not ready) cloud storage is for prime time.
Weekly I try to do a recap of what was on my mind this during the past week and this week cloud storage garnered my attention. Deduplication may be the BIG thing in storage right now but cloud storage is rapidly gaining momentum and looks to be the next big thing in storage sooner rather than later. But when I speak to cloud storage providers that are virtualizing cloud storage offerings from other providers, it tells me that cloud storage has a ways to go before it can be officially proclaimed ready for the main stream.
Last fall Plasmon and its UDO technology and G-Series optical libraries appeared all but left for dead. Years of mismanagement had left Plasmon in dire financial straits and when a refinancing deal in the fall of 2008 for $20 million led by Plasmon’s-then CEO Stephen Murphy fell apart in the midst of the worldwide credit crunch, Plasmon’s end was imminent. It was only after Plasmon went into receivership in early 2009 that Alliance Storage Technologies, led by its CEO and President Chris Carr (himself a former Plasmon engineer), entered the scene and breathed new life into this dead and dying company.
The first thing that many were interested in finding out as they arrived was how many people (users and vendors) were actually in attendence. Bottom line, SNW day 1 (Monday, April 6) was pretty quiet and seemed pretty sparsely attended. The normal high profile vendor displays and grandiose announcements that often accompany SNW were noticeably absent though I received mixed reports on whether or not user attendance was up or down.
Moving information from primary to secondary storage to relieve operational and performance issues is only half the issue; archiving the data is the problem. Financial institutions that might use Oracle as a back end database will find that relocating information to lower cost storage can be quite difficult.
Earlier this week, Plasmon updated its website to let its current clients know that they are scaling back operations. The exact text of Plasmon’s announcement is below but my sources tell me that a major investor pulled out of Plasmon at the last minute leaving them with minimal capital to run operations. At this point, everyone at Plasmon is looking for work, Plasmon is looking for a buyer and Plasmon customers are trying to figure out what to do with UDO media that has a 50 year shelf life but a support life that is seriously in doubt.
Before storing documents electronically gained acceptance in the enterprise, retrieving documents meant parsing file cabinets and retrieving paper forms. And when it came time to share that information with the public without revealing classified information, it usually meant copying the original document and then pulling out a black marker that was used to cross out sensitive information on the copy, followed by more copying until the underlying text could no longer be seen. So while in the last decade most companies have scrapped file cabinets in favor of document images, more companies keep the black marker handy than they would probably like to admit.
Riverbed Dedupes Data Domain; Managing Encrypted Data Archives for 100 Years: Final Insights from Fall SNW 2008
One of the more interesting conversations I had was with John Martin, VP of Product Management with Riverbed Technology. For those of you unfamiliar with Riverbed, its Steelhead® appliances provides WAN acceleration to improve application performance across corporate WANs. As part of the underlying secret sauce in these appliances, Riverbed uses compression and deduplication technologies (among others) to accelerate application performance. That information is fairly well known. What is not so well known is that it has seen instances where it has improved the data reduction rates by 30 – 70% of data that was already deduplicated, and it has specifically seen these results when testing with Data Domain’s appliances.
ParaScale Brings Cloud Storage Inside Corporate Firewalls But are Companies Ready for Their Own Clouds?
If you have spent any time in the IT world you have seen technologies come and go, but few areas have been subjected to the dramatic changes that storage has endured. As enterprise networks have matured the storage of data has exploded. This has fostered new and inventive ways to store and retrieve critical data like the emerging cloud storage platform. Cloud storage’s time is upon us and as large companies such as Amazon take the lead in this area it has brought legitimacy to the cloud concept. In 2007 IDC released the Digital Universe Study which stated between 2006 and 2010 information stored in the digital universe would increase from 161 Exabytes to 988 Exabytes. Based on this incredible projected growth in data and how cloud storage is evolving we quite possibly are witnessing the future of storage unfolding before us.
The State of Texas recently passed H.B. No. 2833 stating you must hold a license as a security services contractor if you “engage in business activity in which a license is required.” The law then outlines that a company acts as an “Investigations Company” under Section 1702.104, (4) (b) “…includes information obtained or furnished through the review and analysis of, and the investigation into the content of, computer-based data not available to the public.” Investigation is a key word in the statute and appears to be broadly defined and it has lead to confusion and controversy.