Chris Evans

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August seems to have been the month for a huge raft of storage-related announcements and I’m still getting to grips with the detail, after being away on holiday for the whole month.  As I start to pick out the news and make sense of how it fits into the storage landscape, I thought I’d start with a few straightforward ones to ease me back into things gently. Pure Storage Pure Storage FlashArrays were originally Fibre Channel only devices (see my review after TFD#8 last year).  In today’s unified world, that could be seen as somewhat limiting, so Pure have announced support for iSCSI and 10GbE in their latest hardware release.  Software enhancements have also been made to reduce snapshot overhead, support VAAI and manage FlashArray via a vCenter plugin.  Full details can be found in the press release.  The addition of VAAI support is an interesting one.  Previous demo... (more)

How Often Should You Check Your Backups?

We are regularly told that checking our own bodies for signs of change is a good thing.  Early diagnosis of disease gives more of a fighting chance of curing the problem.  So, in the IT world, where we assume all of our backups have been taken successfully, how often should we be checking the results and ensuring the backup will work on the fateful day we need to do a restore?  This question was posed by Federica Monsone on Twitter this week.  Here’s an attempt to provide an answer. First of all, let’s consider the whole point of taking backups.  Excluding the inappropriate use ... (more)

Data ONTAP 8.0 – Part III

I’ve twice posted now on Data ONTAP 8.0 shortcomings and this evening I did a little more research with the IBM version of Netapp’s hardware, the N-Series products.  Fortunately, IBM are slightly more generous and informative in their documentation than Netapp and this document (freely available online) provides more background information on the “DOT8″ transition process.  So, I’ve tried to produce a more in-depth objective view of the steps to move to “DOT8″.  Firstly the following diagram provides a clue as to how Data ONTAP has migrated to the current release. Data ONTAP His... (more)

Alternative to Hybrid Drives – OCZ Synapse SSD

It’s hard to believe that over three years ago I asked a question on where hybrid drive technology had reached.  I was thinking of the Enterprise market at the time and as far as I am aware, at this stage, no Enterprise storage array manufacturers have yet integrated these devices into their products.  At the consumer level, of course there are products out there, most well known being Seagate’s Momentus XT drive.  But there is another approach to speeding up the hard drive and that’s to use SSD as a cache but in a slightly different manner.  A good example of this is the OCZ Syn... (more)

The Cyclical Nature of Storage

Perhaps I should have entitled this post “The Cyclical Nature of IT” because the same principles apply. Over time, storage moves back and forth between fully dispersed and fully centralized like a sine wave on an oscilloscope. The Evidence Look at the evidence.  In the 1950′s and 1960′s there was no choice but to be centralized. All we had was mainframe and dumb disk drives.  Storage needed a controller the size of a fridge to work and so was never going to be distributed to the masses any time soon. Then in the late 1970s, in comes Al Shugart and Seagate, giving us the first d... (more)