Fujitsu Siemens Launches
Entry-Level Data Center Virtual Tape
Fujitsu Siemens Computers has brought to market two new
models of its CentricStor Virtual Tape Appliance (VTA).
The two new appliances, The VTA 500 and VTA
1500, are the company’s entry-level offerings into the rapidly developing world
of Virtual Tape. In essence CentricStor provides integrated
“disk-to-disk-to-tape” capabilities, thereby providing the means to meet a wide
range of backup and archive/ILM (Information Lifecycle Management) capabilities
while optimizing tape usage and limiting tape acquisition and handling costs.
Both of the new systems support Mainframes and Open Systems servers and NAS
systems. CentricStor VTA 500 is the entry
model and can scale, with the addition of RAID systems, to provide a cache
capacity of up to 22TB. The CentricStor VTA
1500 is based on the CentricStor Grid architecture of the VTA2000,
its close relative, and can supply up to 173TB of cache capacity. The systems
boast a synchronized “Dual Save” capability to create two copies of data on
tape at the same time in addition to powerful tape management capabilities to
ensure that tape usage is optimized and that tape refresh is performed on “at
risk” tapes to ensure excellent data protection over the lifetime of tape
cartridges. The new models will be available from December 2006 with
CentricStor VTA 500 carrying a list price
starting at €125,000, while CentricStor VTA
1500 will be priced from € 300,000.
The imminent Death
of Tape has long been foretold by some skeptics but has wisely been ignored by
most organizations; it is abundantly clear that tape still has a valuable role
to play in many scenarios. Virtual Tape, on the other hand, has been around for
quite some time but is only now really maturing into a technology that is fit
for use in many organizations and capable of supporting many business-critical
uses. Fujitsu Siemens, with its long and very sound heritage in the data
center, is well positioned to exploit the high profile that Virtual Tape
solutions now enjoy. The company’s CentricStor platform has already proved to
be reliable with the sophisticated functionality that customers need.
The launch of these new entry-level offerings deserve to
attract the attention of potential customers that may have considered Virtual
Tape in the past but thought the suitable offerings were not available.
Equally, there are many organizations that are, as yet, either unconvinced of
the possible benefits from utilizing Virtual Tape or
who have simply not had the time to work out if it is for them. The launch of
the VTA 500 and VTA
1500 provide Fujitsu Siemens with an opportunity not simply to highlight the
value of CentricStor but also to demonstrate the company’s all round
credibility as a supplier of data center solutions. Indeed, these new products
also give Fujitsu Siemens an opportunity to raise its profile outside of the
geographies where their products are well known, i.e., outside of Germany and
some of the Central European countries.
Rainfinity 7.0 And the Emerging Information-centric Powerhouse
This week EMC announced
Rainfinity Global File Virtualization version 7.0 which now supports enterprise
archiving from heterogeneous file and network attached storage (NAS) to the
Centera content addressed storage (CAS)
platform. New in this version is the ability to automatically identify and
archive static files based on customizable policies. It will also let managers
archive NetApp files to Centera. At present, NetApp is the only NAS
solution supported, although this will change. At present Centera is also the only
target, although this too will change with time. The solution includes seven
purpose-built applications that optimize capacity management, performance
management, storage consolidation, tiered storage management, data protection,
synchronous replication, and global namespace management.
File virtualization is another tool in the IT toolbox that
can lead to better use of resources and through automation reduces downtime and
administration costs. However, by itself, while Rainfinity is full of useful
features, it cannot solve business problems. This is the inherent challenge for the
storage industry. Vendors continue to create products that make storage smarter
and more efficient. At the same time, users continue to create more
data—especially unstructured data and rich media—so vendors’ sales figures are
healthy. The disconnect arises when buyers are not
always aware of everything that storage—or more accurately information
infrastructure—can do to help solve business issues, and vendors remain heavily
product-focused in their go-to-market approach.
The issue is frequently broken down to the basics of lower
costs and higher service levels, but there are a million roads to a bewildering
range of destinations.
Customers need vendors’ help with services that help them work
out what they have, where it is, how much it costs, what they need it to do,
and how they might use new technologies to better manage it all. EMC
believes that storage is necessary plumbing, but the really important asset for
a business is the information and data within the plumbing, and helping them
with that is its goal.
The company believes it has superior plumbing with its
traditional products, and in combination with its growing library of software
and its developing services portfolio, it should be the customer’s strategic
partner for the information infrastructure. EMC
isn’t at the end point yet, but from what we can see, it has the clearest
articulation of an information-based strategy that we’ve seen from anyone yet,
and we think that gives it an edge despite market confusion over why it has
branched into other technologies.
EMC is still best known
as a storage company with systems like Symmetrix and CLARiiON. It has also
managed to acquire some other really well known and well respected products.
Rainfinity was one of its acquisitions, as were Legato, VMWare, and most
recently, RSA. While the attraction of
companies like Legato or Rainfinity was fairly easy to work out, purchasing
companies like VMWare and RSA has seemed odd
or even wrong to some. For EMC watchers,
however, a vision is emerging that if implemented will result in a new
powerhouse among technology vendors that reaches far beyond the traditional
disk array and backup spaces. EMC is
positioning itself as an information management vendor, spanning everything
from the basic infrastructure, to the management of structured and unstructured
data governed by business rules, to protection from loss all wrapped within a
security paradigm that is itself information-centric. That sounds ambitious,
and it is, but EMC has been assembling the
pieces to do just that. This new version of Rainfinity by itself is interesting
for those who need file virtualization—a hot technology according to EMC—but
it also another proof point that EMC is
slowly but surely accumulating the pieces to make its vision into reality.