No more gimmickry please, just give us the skinny
BY PAUL QUIGLEY
As storage and content volumes surge, the need to manage content and keep it in tip-top condition from a search and retrieval perspective rises commensurately.
BY ECM PLUS STAFF
Consequently, disk drive performance becomes vital to enterprise and workflow productivity. Enter then the disk defragementation software tools, that help to tidy up the big mess that normal day-to-day use engenders. Continue reading
Compact and bijou – with some added extras thrown in for good measure
By PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus +++ The sleek and elegant Verbatim eSATA/USB 32Gb Pocket SSD is a god-send for content creators and manipulators – the size in the hand is far-outweighed by the size of the generous capacity legroom inside the packet itself. Continue reading
IT personnel not aware of hidden costs - including I/O bottlenecks
By ECM Plus staff
ECM Plus +++ A new survey by Coleman Parkes and commissioned by CA Technologies has found that downtime costs businesses more than 127 million man-hours per annum.
However, more that 30 percent of both VMware and Microsoft virtualisation users identified backing up VM data as a challenge, and also indentified storage management, I/O bottlenecks and server availability monitoring as major virtualisation challenges. Continue reading
With a cloud security standards void to bring enterprise disasters closer?
The ostensible absence of universally-agreed cloud security standards and SLAs for enterprises who venture forth into the sexy and hip cloud outsourcing trend, without implementing an adequate risk assesment profile, is a recipe for digital data centre disaster. Continue reading
Iomega Personal Cloud turns NAS box into a cloud server
BY PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus – EMC subsidiary company Iomega has just launched Personal Cloud technology, a data protection and remote access product that offers control of a so-called ‘Personal Cloud’ without complexities and extra costs.
The company said that Personal Cloud is a web-based computing architecture that connects Iomega network storage devices to other individuals and/or devices via the Internet.
Unlike most public and private cloud applications, Iomega’s Personal Cloud is completely self-owned. The content and accessibility is always under the control of the individual.
There are never any usage fees or subscription charges.
Iomega said its product offers great value for cloud access and protection.
“Iomega’s new Personal Cloud is an innovative technology that separates our network storage products from the competition,” said Jonathan Huberman, president of Iomega. “Utilizing the expertise of EMC, the world’s leader in cloud technology, we have transformed our next generation NAS devices into cloud servers that users can access anywhere, anytime. In addition, by buying two or more of our NAS products, you can remotely backup your onsite data to an alternate location – be it your office, home or some other location – giving consumers and small businesses the ideal disaster recovery plan that’s easy to implement and economical, too. You’re not going to find this level of innovation or value from any of our competitors.”
Personal Cloud also has a built-in feature in the new Iomega TV with Boxee, launching in February.
“There are tremendous opportunities in 2011 for NAS device OEMs to refine easy-to-use basic features as well as integrate innovative technologies”, said Benjamin S. Woo, Program Vice President, WW Storage Systems, IDC. “Iomega’s new Personal Cloud technology brings news and innovation to the consumer and small business NAS markets that will differentiate from competing NAS devices. The Personal Cloud functionality will accelerate the adoption and growth of the consumer and small business NAS markets.”
According to the firm, users of Iomega’s new NAS devices can create their own Personal Cloud in just minutes. The onscreen Personal Cloud setup page asks the user to name their own Personal Cloud and then confirms creation of the Personal Cloud. The user then invites up to 250 members (devices) into their Personal Cloud, giving business contacts, co-workers or personal friends and family around the globe the ability - determined by the user - to copy and share files directly between computers as though they were all together on a local area network.
There is no IT expertise needed to set up and manage a Personal Cloud and it can be set up in minutes, When users invite others into their Personal Cloud, they receive an email with a link and an authorisation code that automatically installs the Iomega Storage Manager which creates a shared drive letter on their desktop. Simply clicking on the drive letter for access to the Personal Cloud is how it works.
For no additional cost other than the purchase price of an Iomega StorCenter network storage device, Iomega’s Personal Cloud is an economical way to protect and share data, and for individuals to share their digital content with others.
Secure transfer of large or confidential files. Large video, audio, and graphic art files can quickly choke a small company’s e-mail system. E-mailing sensitive files can raise security concerns. Iomega Personal Cloud offers drag-and-drop functionality that makes it easy to securely transfer large or confidential files.
At smaller companies, locally stored files are at risk from theft, fire, software problems, and hardware failure. The Iomega Personal Cloud offers built in redundancy at every level: hard drive, server, and datacenter. Should disaster strike, with two Iomega StorCenter devices and the Personal Cloud backing up your company storage offsite, you have a disaster recovery plan that allows easy copying of files so that you are up and running in no time.
Data is accessible only on the Personal Cloud by those who have the appropriate permissions to access it. Safeguards, such as AES 128-bit encryption, can be enabled to protect your data while in transit on the Internet. Secure logins also protect your data stored in the personal cloud from being accessed by the unintended recipients and hackers while in transit on the Internet.
Once the system is set up there is almost no maintenance. Users still need to manage user accounts, but jobs like array maintenance and monitoring the health of data storage are no longer needed. Archiving older files to a remote StorCenter frees up space on a primary StorCenter device for day-to-day business needs. Less capacity required for primary storage saves money.
Launching this month in 1TB and 2TB capacities, the new single-drive Home Media Network Hard Drive Cloud Edition is the latest generation of the original that makes it easy for users and businesses to share files, photo slideshows, music libraries and other content.
Secure, Safe & Speedy: The Plextor PX-NAS4 Device
BY PAUL QUIGLEY
ECM Plus – Plextor has just launched the PX-NAS4 network-attached storage (NAS) device for high-performance digital media offering massive storage capacity with fast data access, high security and reliability.
The PX-NAS4 offers high security, excellent reliability and massive storage space
The new NAS box also features dual LAN ports for faster data access and has up to 8 Terabytes of storage capacity across 4 Hot-Swappable drive bays.
Plextor said the new NAS was DNLA 1.5 Compliant and features iSCSI for network sharing, secure data with password protection and encryption, as well as multiple disk configurations, and, a spare bay for replacement if a disk fails
The PX-NAS4 also has a snapshot backup utility which provides for mirror-image back-ups of data.
As far as data access and sharing across networks is concerned, the PX-NAS4 boasts dual-LAN ports to deliver a massive bandwidth with data access speeds of up to 2Gbps. The device will enable digital media to be shared or streamed to compatible devices, with a suitable router connection.
With the added convenience of iSCSI, the PX-NAS4 can also be used for sharing and supporting network storage over existing installations.
Using four hot-swap drive bays, the PX-NAS4 offers 8TB of data storage space and can be expanded using the built-in 2 x eSATA and 2 x USB ports for external hard drive connections.
Plextor said that data stored on the PX-NAS4 is secure from unwanted access via password-protection and advanced volume encryption using AES 256 encryption. Added back-up options include multiple disk configurationsm, such as RAID5 or RAID10. The Sot Backup Utility is bundled with the device, offering backup which that takes a mirror-image of the current state of the NAS, to protect and safeguard data.
For more details see www.plextor.com
External SSD flash drives boast USB 3.0 with in-built encryption
According to Iomega, the new generation portable storage device is targeted at high-end users and creative professionals.
Iomega said the pocket-sized 1.8-inch external drives will be available in early November in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities.
Units are encased in a metal enclosure with added protection from drops of up to 10 feet, the company claimed. Drives also offer 256-bit hardware encryption for security, bundled anti-virus and backup software, and, a three-year warranty.
The Iomega USB 3.0 External SSD Flash Drive is a solid state drive that has no moving parts, resulting in a more durable drive with fast application loading and top transfer speeds for high definition video, digital images, graphics and music. Professional videographers, photographers and other creative professionals will find the Iomega USB 3.0 SSD Drive a perfect match for their deadlines and digital storage needs.
Using the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, the Iomega External SSD Flash Drive boasts up to 10 times the speed of USB 2.0 drives. Iomega’s new external SSD Drive also performs twice as fast as a 7200 RPM SATA hard drives utilizing the same USB 3.0 interface.
Cool-to-the-touch, the new Iomega SSD drives require no external power supply and are completely backward compatible with personal computers and other devices that only have USB 2.0 ports.
Iomega also offers USB 3.0 adapter cards (sold separately) to insert into USB 2.0 laptop and desktop computers so users of the new Iomega SSD Drive can experience native USB 3.0 transfer speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second.
Included free of charge with Iomega’s new External SSD Flash Drives is the Iomega Protection Suite, a one-stop portfolio of backup and anti-virus software giving users added protection for their photos, videos, music and other files.
The Iomega Protection Suite includes v.Clone software, an Iomega exclusive, which captures a complete virtual image of a PC, including the operating system, all applications, settings and all files to Iomega hard drive. Accessing the cloned copy and using it on another computer is as straighforward as just as working from one’s own PC, Iomega said. When users reconnect, it will automatically be synchronised with the data on the primary PC, so that files are always up-to-date.
Also bundled is Iomega’s QuikProtect backup software for scheduled file-level backups of data to hard drives and network-attached storage devices for Windows and Mac desktops and notebooks; Included too is Roxio Retrospect Express, software to backup all data plus applications and settings for Windows and Mac desktops and notebooks. All of the software elements in the Iomega Protection Suite are accessible via easy download to owners of the Iomega External SSD Flash Drive.
The new drive will be available in early November in three capacities: 64GB for $229.00, 128GB for $399.00, and 256GB for $749.00.
by Ruvi Kitov, CEO, Tufin Technologies
While some of the technical underpinnings that make up the cloud’s ‘secret sauce’ are relatively recent innovations, the business case for managing critical IT functions as services, inside or outside the firewall, is not a new concept.
Ultimately, the cloud is just another way to outsource IT functions and the same fundamental concerns that exist with more mature outsourcing offerings need to be addressed.
Concerns such as, how does an organisation manage its security and compliance posture when critical systems and data are hosted or managed by a third party?
When the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed into US law in 2002, almost overnight, every security company became a compliance company. By 2010, every security company is now a ‘cloud company’, or has a ‘cloud strategy.’
Whether or not it makes sense for an organisation to move IT assets to the cloud depends on a host of factors, with security and compliance being two of the most important.
One way IT managers can assess the risk of moving into the cloud is to look at more mature outsourcing models – some of which are actually ‘flavours’ of cloud computing – to see what’s working, what’s not, and decide how those lessons can be learned by their organisations.
So, what exactly do we mean by ‘The cloud’?
According to NIST, there are four main cloud types: public, private, hybrid and community.
The Cloud Security Alliance divides private clouds into two types – internal, on-premises and external, which consists of dedicated or shared infrastructure.
According to the Cloud Security Alliance, the key characteristics that make a cloud a cloud are the top two layers. In short, services in the cloud are provisioned without having to talk to a person, can be scaled up and down on-demand, are drawn from a bigger pool that other customers can also access in the same way, can be easily monitored via laptop, Smartphone, etc, and are billed in a transparent, per unit manner.
According to Forrester Research, only 5% of large enterprises globally are capable of running an internal cloud – the easiest model to execute from a security perspective, since it resides inside the firewall. Other surveys, including one from Information Week, which sampled more than 500 organizations, all reveal the same thing – that despite all the hype, the Cloud is not the Holy Grail …yet.
While some of the technical underpinnings that make up the Cloud’s ‘secret sauce, are relatively recent innovations, the business case for managing critical IT functions as services – inside or outside the firewall – is not a new concept. Currently, moving security to the Cloud (via your friendly neighborhood MSSP) seems to be easier than managing the security of the Cloud. According to Gartner, Inc. in its 2009 MSSP Magic Quadrant, 60% of Fortune 500 enterprises had engaged in some level of use of an MSSP, representing about 25% of enterprise firewalls under remote monitoring or management. If the business world is already comfortable outsourcing critical business functions, then the Cloud, in all its diversity and complexity, is an impending reality.
The Cloud is just another way to outsource IT functions, and the same fundamental concerns and business challenges that exist with more mature outsourcing offerings need to be addressed (think hosting and managed services). Most importantly, how does an organization manage its security and compliance posture when critical systems and data are hosted or managed by a third party?
Most compliance requirements mandate documenting and auditing how companies access, store, manage and secure certain types of critical data. That can be difficult enough when you control the assets – how do you do that when the assets are not under your control? Do you simply trust that the service provider is doing it right? How do you deal with audits? With auditors? How do you ensure chain of custody, separation of duties, and accountability?
Ultimately, the security and compliance posture of critical data and assets resides with the organization and not the outsourcing or Cloud partner. To date, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) have been the primary tool used by organizations to hold their outsourcing partner accountable for any potential compliance violations or security breaches. However, the reality is that SLAs can easily lose their teeth if there is no way to enforce them. Given the complexity of today’s corporate computing environments, creating and maintaining that level of visibility can be a challenge.
The one key difference between traditional outsourcing models and the Cloud is that the elastic and on-demand nature of the Cloud creates a scenario where the physical location of a company’s data or infrastructure is not fixed. On top of that, to protect their own security, Cloud providers may not be inclined to provide significant visibility into their own IT operations. If you thought that “re-perimeterizing” your electronic assets was difficult with other outsourcing models, the amorphous nature of the Cloud further blurs the lines.
Fortunately, tools and methodologies are available today that can enable Cloud providers to deliver the security and compliance levels that organizations need. Most security technology vendors have responded to the risk management and compliance needs of their customers by providing significant enhancements to their management, monitoring and auditing capabilities. The result is that stakeholders have much better visibility into the state of key systems and assets at any given point in time, regardless of where they physically reside.
Whether it is via a common interface, an automated management tool, or a custom process, there are a host of methods that enable both Cloud owners and Cloud users to manage the confidentiality, integrity and availability of assets. Automated monitoring tools can also be used to ensure service levels are being met and can act as a common management interface for both Cloud customers and providers. This provides both parties with a way to share responsibility for managing security and compliance without the Cloud customer having to own the granular, day-to-day management of the infrastructure.
Furthermore, this kind of technology-driven accountability provides Cloud customers the ability to quickly take back or transfer IT management, knowing that the security and compliance history of the asset being managed can be understood with a few mouse clicks. If for some reason the relationship with the Cloud provider unexpectedly terminates or the company decides to take it back in house, the internal team has the benefit of the shared knowledge base.
Leveraging technology to create transparency and shared accountability is a model that has already caught on in Managed Services, especially within the MSSP space. In its Q3 2010 Forrester Wave: Managed Security Services, Forrester estimates that the global size of the managed security services market is about $4.5 billion, and predicts a 15% growth rate for at least the next three years. That number includes outsourced and software-as-a-service (SaaS) security services (a typical Cloud scenario) as well as other annualized security operations. Traditionally, MSSPs p either host the entire security infrastructure or the management of systems that reside within the customers’ firewall. In Cloud-speak, this scenario would be described as a hybrid Cloud.
While the widespread use of virtualization technology has added a new set of management challenges, innovations in the ability to manage the security and integrity of highly complex and dynamic virtual environments are advancing at a rapid pace. Enhancements in network security technologies that cater to managing security in multi-tenant environments are also evolving quickly. For example, advancements in firewall management technologies have enabled firewalls to be used much more effectively and strategically for internal network segmentation without risk of downtime or outages. This is just one example of many areas where automating network management can have a positive ripple effect
If you are thinking of moving your security to the Cloud, there is a wealth of information available that outlines how to approach everything from assessing the risk of specific IT assets as they pertain to specific models, to areas of focus for an SLA or to best practices across various disciplines of logical, virtual, and physical security.
One of the most comprehensive and credible sources for securing Cloud environments is the 76-page ”Security Guidance of Critical Areas of Focus for Cloud Computing.“ The brainchild of the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the Guidance, which can be downloaded for free off the CSA’s website, is one of the largest and most impressive security community efforts to date. It should be required reading for anyone interested in or involved with approaching, managing, and maintaining security and compliance in the Cloud.
The maturity of certain segments of the current IT outsourcing market reflects that the technology is, for the most part, available to manage these kinds of relationships. But as we all know technology is only one leg of a three-legged stool. The other two legs – people and process components, are critical to the success of any IT initiative. That’s what makes the industry commitment to developing a holistic approach to Cloud security so refreshing – it shows that for as far as we might have to go, as an industry, we’ve come a long way in a relatively short time.
Scality Droplet: opening storage cloud with SDK bounty scheme
ECM Plus – Cloud storage specialist Scality plans to open-source its Software Development Kit (SDK) of its patented RING technology.
According to the firm, the move marks what it calls a ’kickoff incentive’ whereby it is offering contributing developers bounties from a $100,000 fund.
Dubbed the Scality Open Source Program (SCOP), the bounty scheme, Scalify is publishing an open-source library called Scality Droplet, which makes code available for download.
Droplet, the company added, will enable developers to build apps which interface with Scality RING, with Amazon’s S3 API, and more generally, with any object storage technology, on account of Scality RING’s modular design.
Scality RING is used for applications handling very large volumes of user-generated content, such as email in the cloud or social applications, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the company said.
Scality Droplet’s library implements common services such as encryption, compression and large file-slicing to let application developers focus on user needs.
The contest or grant opportunity is called the “SCOP Bounty Program,” and it will enable talented developers to apply for $1,000 to $10,000 bounties from a pot of $100,000. To be eligible, the developer’s software application must be built using code freely available from the Scality Droplet library. The submission deadline is November 30, 2010.
“Our vision with SCOP is to make it as easy as possible to develop applications accessing the quality and the robustness of the object-based storage approach,” commented Giorgio Regni, CTO at Scality. “The SCOP program is win-win for all: it allows the industry to benefit from the richness of the developers’ applications while ensuring quality in storage performance and scalability. SCOP will benefit from the contributions of the developer community, and developers will get rewarded for their efforts. Scality RING, which offers a Cloud storage backend that can easily handle mission-critical and carrier-grade applications, will benefit from more applications developed with object storage approach.”
Scality RING also features high-performance SAN with low-cost. unlimited scalability of cloud computing. Scality claims that RING would guarantee storage costs are half that of other SAN- or NAS-based vendors in the same magnitude of performance and reliability. It said that any application that can talk to Amazon’s S3 API can be rolled out with Scality RING.
“The SNIA Cloud Storage Initiative (CSI) industry momentum and membership continues to accelerate with the release of its Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) standard, ongoing interoperability programs, and technical education for data storage as a cloud service” added Wayne Adams, Chairman of the SNIA Board of Directors. “Scality as a new valued member of SNIA will further advance CSI’s deliverables with their knowledge and expertise in massively-scalable, high performance object-based cloud storage platforms and software developer programs.”
Phyrric victory as $33 per share bid doubling on original offer for storage minnow outstretches Dell
Now, it would appear that Dell decided to walk after a relatively short struggle for supremacy. HP now has the lofty challenge of integrating the smaller firm into its wider virtualization and cloud-orientated lines-of-business which will doubtless take the largest US computer manufacturer quite some time to achieve in time for serious cloud-based investment from clients.
The hunger for cloud is set to hot up later this year with industry chatter of other storage business up for grabs and the digital cumulus nimbus craze continues. Watch this space.
FalconStor Accelerator for VMware View boosts performance and data protection
ECMPlus – by Paul Quigley — Data storage specialist FalconStor’s new Network Storage Server SAN Accelerator for VMWare View now touts an SSD-enhanced storage solution that increases the performance of VMware virtual desktop environments while delivering integrated, multi-tier data protection.
According to the company, NSS SAN Accelerator for VMware View can be used for performs backup and recovery for the entire virtual desktop environment and for each virtual desktop – and enables integrated self-service file recovery for individual virtual desktop users.
VMware View promises efficiencies in the deployment and management of enterprise users’ desktop and laptop computers. Virtual desktop operation and management can be enhanced by storage capabilities to maximize performance, availability and efficiency. FalconStor NSS SAN Accelerator for VMware View dramatically enhances the efficiency of virtual desktop management throughout the virtual desktop lifecycle – accelerating virtual desktop booting, login, operation, logoff, patch/update and security management through 10x storage performance improvement.
“Virtualization in general and virtualization of desktops in particular have amplified I/O unpredictably as read/write I/O storms occur frequently without warning; the only solution to date has been to add more disk drives,” said David Vellante, chief research advocate, Wikibon. “Wikibon has been emphasizing the requirement for different architectures to exploit the potential of flash to improve I/O performance. We are very pleased with the innovation that FalconStor has shown with its flash-on- storage-controller implementation, which is much more efficient for VDI than SSDs. The FalconStor NSS SAN Accelerator neatly exploits the VMware I/O separation improvements to offer a solution that combines low-cost SATA with 2 to 3 percent high-performance flash as a cache that can adapt in real-time. Wikibon believes this is a best-of-breed solution for high-performance workloads.”
“The rapidly adopted paradigm shift of virtual servers and desktops ushered in by VMware’s innovation has created the need for storage environments with integrated data protection designed for the new virtual data center,” said Jim McNiel, chief strategy officer for FalconStor. “Virtual environments not only demand flexible, scalable virtual storage environments, but also require backup and DR systems that work with the unique characteristics of virtual machines. We designed the FalconStor NSS SAN Accelerator for VMware View(tm) to deliver the kind of storage environment that virtual desktops require – improving performance and data protection in one elegant solution.”
FalconStor;s NSS SAN Accelerator for VMware View is available now and costs $175k for an implementation of up to 5,000 users at $35 per virtual desktop.
Three’s a crowd as behemoths battle for market power
ECMPlus.com – by Paul Quigley – Hewlett Packard’s eleventh hour bid for data storage bellwether 3Par has knocked Dell into the sidewall. Aftar having acquired the likes of EDS, Palm and 3Com – as well as the absorption of Compay – over recent times, the move for the data storage firm will be something the two IT vendors look set to fight tooth and nail over.
Given the recent signifcance of EMC and IBM both zoning in on both private cloud and generic, the HP Dell duel looks set to be just the first of a new salvo of similar storage skirmishes.
ECMPlus - Avid has just taken the wraps off the new Avid ISIS 5000 open shared storage solution to store, share and manage large quantities of digital media assets.
According to the company, customers can also improve allocation of creative resources and support changing project needs with an open shared storage platform that offers access to high-performance ISIS File System technology on lower cost hardware, support for third-party applications and streamlined administration to create more content more affordably.
Ian Burling, head of technical services at Films at 59 Ltd., a post-production house in England, beta tested the new Avid ISIS 5000. “Our clients use a variety of editing systems, so in order to meet their needs, flexibility is a number one priority for us. We were looking for a solution that would allow us to consolidate high and low resolution clients and move media with greater agility and ease. We are extremely impressed by how well the ISIS 5000 has tested. It’s proven to be a flexible, easy-to-use, high-performance standard-bearer—great for post production houses like us that need to integrate third-party editing systems such as Apple Final Cut Pro to handle a variety of workflows.”
ISIS 5000 is designed to address the specific needs of workgroups requiring 40 or fewer client connections and looking for greater flexibility to accommodate ongoing changes and new business opportunities, the ISIS 5000 shared storage solution is fully tested and qualified with Apple Final Cut Pro, as well as support for an end-to-end Avid workflow. Major features include:
ISIS 5000 is available from July 2010 in a 32TB or 64TB switched configuration, or a 32TB Direct Connect configuration that offers four direct client connections and the ability to add a third party switch. All configurations support Mac or PC clients and include 40 seat licenses with either one or three years of Avid Priority or Avid Uptime Support.