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DROBO S and DROBO Elite – Introduced 11/23/2009

November 23rd, 2009 No comments

As most of you know, DROBO has been in the market for the past couple of years. There are three primary units that Data Robotics has in the industry today. The DROBO – 4 Drive Unit, DROBO Pro – 8 Drive Unit and DROBO Share that enables you to connect two DROBO’s and run community designed applications.

As of 11/23/2009, there are two new DROBO devices being introduced, the DROBO S and DROBO ElIte.

Both these DROBO’s will compete in the similar market space of its predecessors, but has additional features compared to the DROBO and DROBO Pro devices.

The big marketing buzz Data Robotics uses with it products today is “Set it, Forget it”. Data Robotics has designed a technology called BeyondRAID that in essence is a self-healing storage solution. The market space that DROBO and DROBO Pro’s compete today is the home and SMB space.

Introducing DROBO S and DROBO ELITE: Movie by StorageNerve

Song: Blue Theme (Movie: Blue)

DROBO S FEATURES:

Connectivity to Host

USB 2.0 Connectivity

Firewire 800 / 400 Connectivity – 25% faster than USB 2.0

e-SATA Connectivity – 50% faster than Firewire

Drives

DROBO supported 4 drives, the DROBO S now supports 5 drives, expanding total storage to 10 TB’s.

Supports different drive sizes.

Supports failure of 2 drives in the unit with no Data loss.

Self-healing technology supported as a core feature within DROBO S.

Different drive speeds and different cache on drive supported within the unit.

SATA – I and SATA – II drives supported.

OS

Windows – Win XP and Win 2003 onwards

MAC  – MAC OS X 10.5.6 onwards

Linux

Filesystems

HFS+

NTFS

FAT32

EXT3

Markets

Home User

Desktop Use in SMB space.

Power Save Mode

Seems like when you disconnect the DROBO S from a connected host, it enters in power save mode.

Upgrades

No Downtime with drive upgrades.

No Downtime with drive failure – upto 2.

No Downtime with new drive installations.

Take drives out of DROBO and plug them into DROBO S for data in-place upgrade.

For Home and SMB use it lacks the following

Entertainment – Photo Library, iTunes Library, FTP Support, NAS Support, Ethernet Support, iSCSI, AD integration, Turn off / on at a certain time of the day.

Technology

Technology Drobo S

Technology Drobo S

DROBO ELITE FEATURES

DROBO ELITE offers 50% faster throughput compared to DROBO Pro.

Connectivity to Host

USB 2.0 Connectivity (For Management only)

2 x Gigabit Ethernet

iSCSI Support

Upto 255 Host Volumes – (From Common Pool of storage – like Thin Provisioning)

Upto 16 host systems supported

Drives

DROBO ELITE supports 8 drives, expanding total storage to 16 TB’s.

Supports different drive sizes

Supports failure of 2 drives in the unit with no Data loss

Self-healing technology supported as a core feature within DROBO Elite

Different drive speeds and different cache on drive supported within the unit

SATA – I and SATA – II drives supported

OS

Windows – Win XP and Win 2003 onwards

MAC  – MAC OS X 10.5.6 onwards

Linux

Vmware ESX 3.5 and V-Sphere support

Filesystems

HFS+

NTFS

FAT32

EXT3

VMFS

Markets

SMB Market

Server Consolidation

Multiple Server Support

Vmware Support

Upgrades

No Downtime with drive upgrades

No Downtime with drive failure – upto 2

No Downtime with new drive installations.

Take drives out of DROBO PRO and plug them into DROBO ELITE for data in-place upgrade

Technology

DROBO ELITE

DROBO ELITE

I particularly like the self-healing no maintenance, no setup configuration. It has a great feature of plug it in, forget it…

I will start using the DROBO this week and hopefully be able to write more about the underlying technology, stay tuned!!!

Is Storage Tiering ILM or a subset of ILM, but where is ILM

November 20th, 2009 3 comments

I was writing a blog post on Storage Economics last night for ITKE (IT Knowledge Exchange). During some thought  process and writing, I got confused on a sentence I was trying to format. The confusion was between ILM (Information Lifecycle Management) and Storage Tiering. Though I think both the concepts are overlapping, most of the responses I got from twitter were Storage Tiering is a revamped ILM or ILM with lipstick. Twitter search: “ILM, Tiering”.

After thinking about this for the past 24 hours, I am still not sure if I am at the right conclusion.

What is ILM (Information Lifecycle Management):

A process to manage information through out its lifecycle from creation to deletion. Lets look at ILM from a storage perspective.

1) A user or an application creates data and possibly over time that data is modified.
2) The data needs to be stored and possibly be protected through RAID, snaps, clones, replication and backups.
3) The data now needs to be archived as it gets old, and retention policies & laws kick in.
4) The data needs to be search-able and retrievable NOW.
5) Finally the data needs to be deleted.

Though some argue protection (RAID, snaps, clones, replication, backups) are part of ILP: Information Lifecycle Protection and not ILM: Information Lifecycle Management.

Here is a definition of ILM as I found on google: “define: ILM”.

What is Storage Tiering:

A defined pool of Storage within a storage environment that is classified based on either speed, availability, protection levels, access times, SLA’s, frequency of use and possibly cost.

The higher the Storage Tier 0, 1, 2, the higher the cost of management, purchase, availability, speed, protection levels, frequency of use and least access times and outages. The lower the Storage Tier 3, 4, 5, the lower the cost of management, purchase, availability, speed, protection levels, frequency of use and higher access times.

As data gets old or unused, based on workflow, the data moves from higher tiers to lower tiers, could be an automated move, a manual move, a business rules defined move or a policies based move.

Data Protection, Tiering, Archiving, Backup, Retention, Search are all components of Storage Tiering these days. So does this mean, Storage Tiering is merely a subset of ILM.

The Overlap:

I have not heard the word ILM from large vendors in any tech-talk, on any blogs, nor any podcasts these days. So where is ILM or have the vendors given up on the concept of ILM. Is Storage Tiering the new ILM, if that is the case what is the difference.

ILM does include two major components which are data creation and data deletion, but storage tiering does not encompass those, it only preaches moving the data to a lower or higher tier based on availability, backup, archive, retention, search and retrieve features.

So is ILM still alive and if it is, where is it. If it is dead, does it mean we do not have workflows and automation around the other aspects of ILM not included in Storage Tiering. Is Storage Tiering just a marketing buzz and is still uses the underlying concept of ILM.

I am all confused!!!

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GestaltIT Techfieldday 2009: Post 11 (The Fun Day)

November 19th, 2009 2 comments

After two long exciting and exhausting days, the GestaltIT Techfieldday 2009 officially came to an end.

Today, we were all by ourselves, but the game plan was to go visit SFO downtown.

Left the hotel at around 9 AM to head towards SFO. We were all exhausted from the past two busy busy days, but today was one of those relaxing early mornings. Enjoyed sipping coffee and having breakfast as we were not rushing.

In the car we had Nigel Poulton, Chris Evans, Simon Seagrave, John Hickson, Rodney Haywood, Bas Raayman, Ed Saipetch and myself. We dropped John Hickson at the airport and continued towards SFO downtown. Plan was to walk around, shop, see places and get tired again.

After we checked in the hotel, loaded everyone’s luggage, we started to walk around the SFO downtown area, including places like the Union Square and then ended up walking into an Apple store. We played around with the 27 inch apple monitors, the new iPhone 3GS, mac mini and learned how to use several different keyboard shortcuts on the Mac.

I have to honestly say, I love my MacBookPro, but even after owning one for 4 months now, I realized there was so much to learn from the Apple Technical Consultant showing kool things on the Mac.

Then we took a cab ride to Pier 39, from where you can clearly see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and the famous San Francisco seals. The cab driver knew we were new in the area, he probably made circles before bringing us to the destination, we ended up paying double the amount to this cab driver than the other guys did from the same place.


Had some nice food at the restaurant and than we started walking into some shops around the pier.

Did you know if you buy a knife you cannot loiter around, you have to keep walking or its a criminal offense to loiter, we just found that out at the local knife store.

We then walked into a SPY shop and learned a lesson on lock picking by Bas Raayman. This was a very interesting shop and had tons of spying tools. After walking around the Pier 39 area, we made it to a local bar!!! Called the Buena Vista, where they say, the IRISH coffee was invented. It was just so crowded there, no place to sit and enjoy a Irish coffee.

There is something about San Francisco, though I have only been there 3 or may be 4 times, I really like the city, its happening, lots of places to see, lots of things to do, weather is typically been okay, food is good, the bay area is the Technology hub, so many geeks around, Golden Gate Bridge is awesome and the list goes on…

Then we hopped on the Tram to come back to Union Square and started walking back to the hotel. On the way, we at least went in 5 to 7 different stores like Tumi, MontBlanc and many more. And every time we would walk into one, someone would buy something before we walk out of there.

Finally we made it to a bar and that’s where we sat had couple of drinks (may be some of us were drinking water and ice).

Somehow the discussion went into V-Max, which Nigel recorded here.

Finally we made it back to the hotel. Myself and Rodney picked the luggage and started heading back to the airport. Rodney had a long 14 hour flight back to Sydney and I was flying red eye back to NJ.

Made it to the airport on time, caught up on some emails, tweets and blog reading and finally boarded the plane.

It was great to hang out with everyone at the GestaltIT Techfieldday 2009, there is just so much to learn from everyone and so much to share with everyone. I absolutely love these events when you put 15 people in a room and you let them share, collaborate, discuss and come up with new ideas on technology.

I am personally seeing so much value out of these events, though I see the vendors and sponsors possible get a much larger exposure from these events. Its a marketing nirvana, by the time the event is done and the postmortem is finished. People just write, talk, tweet and discuss so much about these vendors and their technology that possibly opens up as a venue for people around the world to grasp and grab all the outflowing information, which may invisibly still convert into dollars and market reputation.

Landed back in NJ early morning for a warm breakfast…and the GestaltIT Techfieldday finally came to an end for me.

So starting next week, I will do some deepdive sessions on what we learnt at the Techfieldday.

Stay Tuned !!!

GestaltIT TechFieldDay 2009: Post 10 (Day 2)

November 18th, 2009 2 comments

4 hours of sleep and back on the road this morning.

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There were several companies lined up to present today. Starting with Ocarina Networks, then Nirvanix, then Truth in IT, then Data Robotics and Bhava Communications. Today’s day was planned to be one of those action packed days, just like yesterday.

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Today morning started early for all of us. Again on the road, but just across the street from where we were staying in San Jose, the 2 min walk to Ocarina Networks. Had an early breakfast sponsored by Ocarina Networks. They also gave us an Ocarina (egg-shaped terra cotta wind instrument with a mouthpiece and finger holes) to take home.
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So with today’s presentations, we really did not know what to expect. Though I had a feeling Ocarina Networks will do something very unique after meeting with their CEO (Murli) last night at the GestaltIT Party.
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Ed Entering Ocarina Networks

Ed Entering Ocarina Networks

Ocarina Networks

Ocarina Networks

Devang making Faces

Devang making Faces, Nigel Poulton

Ocarina Networks
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George Carter comes in first and gives a product overview of what Ocarina is, how it works, where it resides, the architecture, the compression, the dedup and various other aspects of the entire solution. During his presentation he mentions how there are several Academia Scientist that work at Ocarina on several Compression algorithms for standard files like JPEG, TXT, PDF, ZIP’s, etc, etc. He also shows how the technology takes the data, uncompresses or unzips it, compresses it again, calculates checksum and then upon validation of the checksum, discards the original file to write with the newly compressed file.
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Then we went through an Ocarina product hands-on lab exercise to configure dedup, compression, etc in the Ocarina Resource Manager. I so much wish, they had given us a VM with the Ocarina Resource Manager and Report Manager to play around for my test labs in the basement. I much think, I need to do a deep dive blog post on this technology, stay tuned for it over the next couple of weeks.
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Ocarina also had an open challenge to bring in about 2GB’s of data on USB sticks that they will try to compress and give out prices to people that has the most compression and the least compression. John Obeto won the price for the most compression achieved on the data he brought in, while Greg Ferro won the price for 0 compression, since the files he brought on the USB stick were mzip files from back 30 years, probably not used in the industry any more.
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Nirvanix
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Then Peter and AJ from Nirvanix took the stage to talk about how Nirvanix technology works and how it can help Enterprise customers with its Public Cloud Infrastructure, some existing customer stories and how customers have leveraged this growing Cloud Infrastructure company to provide some very unique solutions.
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Ocarina Networks Continued
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Gou Rao (CTO) from Ocarina Networks takes the stage next. Wow, this guy is so young, but he knows so much. He went through the entire Dedup (how it works), Compression (how is works), Ocarina Networks (how it uses Dedup, Compression, Algorithms around these technologies). This session was one of the best techno-geek talk I have ever heard. Gou had answers for everything, though with the deep dive, he did lose some audience, but it was a great session from my perspective, because I was learning something new and I love to talk and hear about technology.
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Again with him, same story, he was just so much passionate about what we was talking, he won the crowd with his smartness. The combination of passion and presentation skills, make up an ultimate recipe for a presentation success.
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During the break, had about 30 mins of talk time with Murli (CEO, Ocarina Networks) and Gou (CTO, Ocarina Networks) about how this technology integrates within storage arrays and how customer leverage it today. Sorry to make this statement, I now truly believe that Ocarina technology could so rapidly be integrated into a storage array, making them potentially a take over target, but may be the investors are already expecting it.
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Truth in IT
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Oh…the lunch was great, vegetarian Falafel sponsored by Truth in IT (A W.Curtis Preston Company). Curtis presented during lunch on how Truth in IT is a new concept for the IT industry and how customers can benefit from it. To check out the Truth in IT concept, please visit here.
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If you email Curtis and become a member of Truth in IT, you will get one year subscription for half the membership cost. Email curtis at blogfriends@truthinit.com.
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Data Robotics
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Then the journey started in the bus to go to Data Robotics, the DROBO guys. If you haven’t seen the DROBO yet, here is the picture.
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Drobo

Drobo

Greg Knieriemen

Greg Knieriemen

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After initial introductions and some food, we settled in the conference rooms at Data Robotics. Some known faces from last nights GestaltIT party were there. The CEO of Data Robotics Geoff Barrall (Also founder of BlueArc), started with the presentation on the features of DROBO and DROBOPRO. For a CEO, I bet he knows exactly what the product offers, not only from a marketing perspective, but also from a technology standpoint, the invention from Drobo is the technology called BeyondRAID. After a few powerpoint slides, Geoff started white boarding the entire BeyondRAID technology. At this point the camera’s were not allowed, but it was great to see how a CEO even understands the nuts and bots of a technology.
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At the GestaltIT party, I had some time to spend with Michael Moran and Jim Sherhart from Data Robotics and I specifically mentioned how much we love the white board sessions and understanding on how the technology works. I think they were not planning for a white board session with their presentation since their understanding is, the white board sessions on the DROBO technology becomes a bit confusing for people in terms of how it all operates under the hood. If my short chat with Data Robotics made them change and come up with a white board session, I am glad. I know everyone in the audience loved it.
The white board session was amazing, Goeff’s presentation lasted for about 60 mins and then Jim Sherhart and Michael Moran took the stage to talk a bit about futures and some more under the hood technology.
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If I had to pick the top 3 most impressive presentations at GestaltIT TechfieldDay 2009, this would be one of those. Very impressive, very impressive when a CEO does it who has a complete product vision.
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Then started the quiz, where for 30 mins they showed us the hands-on demo of the product including some configurations on the DROBO, etc, etc. In team A we had Chris Evans, Simon Seagrave, Rodney Haywood and myself. Went through answering all the questions on the product quiz and got each one of those correct.
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IMG00208-20091113-1441

W.Curtis Preston, Stephen Foskett, Robin Harris, Drobo Engineer

W.Curtis Preston, Stephen Foskett, Robin Harris, Drobo Engineer

Finally the results were declared and Team A had won the quiz. So we all take home a DROBO. Looking forward to receiving it in the mail shortly.
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As we were leaving, we received some very personalized T-Shirts from Bhava Communications with individual Twitter and Blog Addresses imprinted on the T-Shirts.
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At around 4 PM we started to head back to the hotel. Dropped a few folks at the hotel. The next destination was FRY’s – the geek heaven in San Jose. We all were happy to arrive at FRY’s.
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IMG00213-20091113-1620
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Had about 60 mins to shop, I decided to go in there, but had made up my mind that I will not be bringing anything other than myself out of the store, as I just didn’t have any space in my bag to bring stuff home.
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Oh….people bought all sorts of things……..Mac’s, ix4’s, drives, etc, etc. You can imagine what happens when 15 storage bloggers walk into a store….and then walk out of there.
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Finally arrived back at the hotel, and jumped to do a Podcast on StorageMonkeys as a Wrap up for GestaltIT Techfieldday 2009.
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Had a great dinner with the rest of the group in San Jose. People were starting to head back home and say goodbye at around 8 PM. For many of us, we were not leaving until Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.
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Headed back to the bar for more discussions around what we heard and saw today, but before I could finish my first drink…the sleep factor kicked in.
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Will finish my blog post the next morning…..and then will be heading to SFO for a fun day.
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