Jeffrey Cochran, senior enterprise network engineer for the Nebraska Book Co., says his company, which sells textbooks and operates college bookstores, uses Drobo devices for more flexible storage needs, such as Websites, compared with the EMC SANs the Lincoln company also uses.
"It sounds a little funny, because we have these itty-bitty Drobos in a rack next to the EMCs," he says.Cochran says he can "go out and buy a couple of terabytes for a couple of hundred bucks," while buying 4TBytes for the EMC SAN could cost him up to $30,000. While the Drobo will never replace EMC because of the space and speed the SAN can provide, "for lower-level administrative tasks or storage, Drobo certainly fits the bill perfectly," Cochran says.
New features in the Drobo devices include thin provisioning to help SMBs deal with capacity and utilization planning, says Kevin Epstein, VP of marketing and product management for the Santa Clara, Calif., company. Users can tell an application such as Microsoft Exchange that the device has 20TBytes, but put in just 8Bytes, and the device will let the user know when it's getting full, he says.
With the new products specifically targeting the SMB space, Drobo is looking to move into a growing market that has historically made do with either stripped-down enterprise offerings or higher-end personal storage products -- neither of which really satisfied the SMB storage demand: higher-end features and capacity with an ease of use and price point similar to consumer products, says Liz Conner, senior research analyst for storage systems and personal storage at IDC, a Framingham, Mass., consultancy.
She was particularly interested in the 12-bay model because that is a "sweet spot" for SMBs. Though she noted that other vendors already have 12-bay versions on the market, features such as management tools, data tiering and 24/7 support really tailor it to small businesses, which typically have small or minimal IT staff and may not have someone with storage-specific knowledge, she says.
The new models of the devices start at $2,199 and consist of an eight-bay file-sharing Drobo with remote backup and an eight-bay iSCSI-attached storage area network Drobo, each of which are available now. A 12-bay iSCSI SAN version with expanded redundancy, support for thin provisioning and deprovisioning, and data-aware tiering is expected to be available in the second quarter.
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The computer maker unveiled 39 new products or related IT solutions for business users to be released during the next year, including a revamped line of Dell Latitude laptops, a new OptiPlex family of desktop computers and new Dell Precision workstations. The strategy behind the development of these new products is to incorporate designs and features that today's knowledge workers have come to expect in computers because they grew up with them, says Steve Lalla, VP and general manager of Dell's commercial client products group.
"In some instances, employees have been bringing their own laptops, tablet computers or smartphones into work, a phenomenon called the 'consumerization of IT,'" Lalla said at a launch event held in San Francisco. Dell has found that enterprise customers want to give workers lightweight and stylish laptops, and allow social networking apps and collaboration capabilities, but still manage and secure their IT.
"It's about how to bring all of this new technology together, how to contemplate what compute gets done at the end point, what compute is done in the data center and how to tie that all together seamlessly," he says. All products incorporate Dell Data Protection security, including automatic data encryption and Remote Data Delete for the laptops in the event a machine is lost or stolen.
The laptops and desktops have been designed for, among other things, convenient maintenance by IT staff, adds Ken Musgrave, director of industrial design at Dell. Even though Latitude laptops come in different sizes with different-sized screens, they all have the same-size keyboards for simpler replacement if necessary. The OptiPlex desktop computer comes with the machine and the monitor built as one unit to avoid cabling hassles. Also, the laptops are protected against scrapes and scuffs with a cover made of the same material as the liner used in pickup truck beds, Musgrave says.
"[Dell's] new lineup is probably one of the strongest that they've had in years," says Tim Bajarin, principal analyst with the research firm Creative Strategies, "and most likely will help them maintain a pretty strong position in the enterprise space." In the past, enterprises acquired technology that workers used only to get their work done, Bajarin says, but that has changed as people use technology for their work and personal lives simultaneously.
"Now, with the whole issue of people taking their work home and the device being a central part of their personal as well as business lifestyle, [enterprises] have no choice," he says. "They can control the corporate entity part of the technology, but they have really got to give flexibility to [workers] to let them use these devices for consumer purposes, as well."
Dell also teased the upcoming release of a new tablet computer with a 10-inch screen that will run Microsoft's Windows 7 and be targeted at business users. It already markets two models of the Dell Streak tablet that runs Google's Android operating system.
Dell said pricing for the Latitude laptops starts at $859, for the OptiPlex desktops at $650 and for the Precision workstation line at $840. More details on availability of the new products is expected in the next few weeks.
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What do you do once you realize one of your servers has been compromised? I recently had the opportunity to hear Linux Journal's own Kyle Rankin give a very impressive talk covering this situation at the Southwest Drupal Summit in Houston, Texas. more>>
Data can also be recovered from physical to virtual, physical to physical, and physical to virtual infrastructures. In addition, there is no per-server or per-client charge for the functionality.
With the announcement, Falconstor is differentiating between disaster recovery and remote replication, says Bobby Crouch, product marketing manager for the Melville, N.Y., company. Remote replication is simply a remote copy of the data, without the application and the infrastructure that enables users in the organization to make use of the data.
"When there's a disaster, customers don't care that you have a remote copy," he says. "They can't access the application that uses that data." In addition to providing copies of data, the software enables users to resume servers, storage, networks and applications, and works with most operating systems, virtual machines and networks. This is required because business applications increasingly have an awareness of transaction integrity, with applications such as SAP behaving differently from applications such as Oracle, says Crouch.
The software has three modes: Recover, or recovering data; Test, or a non-disruptive testing function that lets users create recover jobs and refine them to ensure that they're correct; and Clone, which creates a tertiary copy of the data that can be used for functions such as data mining and analysis, Crouch says.
RecoverTrac means that the disaster recovery features in Falconstor's CDP and NSS products are now more practical and easier for organizations to use and implement because many disaster recovery solutions today are not really ready to do turn-key disaster recovery, but instead require testing or professional services to set up, says Jerome Wendt, president and lead analyst at the Datacenter Infrastructure Group, an Omaha, Neb., consultancy.
The product is particularly appropriate for two sets of users: existing FalconStor users who have already implemented Falconstor's CDP and NSS, as well as users who are willing to implement NSS and CDP in their environment to use RecoverTrac, he says. On the other hand, there is nothing to prevent FalconStor from taking and applying RecoverTrac's technology and using it to manage other storage vendors' storage virtualization and CDP/replication offerings to achieve the same thing, though Wendt was not aware of any plans on FalconStor's part to do so.
The RecoverTrac functionality is included in Falconstor's CDP and NSS products now for no additional charge. Those products range in price from $2,000 per terabyte to $6,000 per terabyte, depending on volume. RecoverTrac is integrated both with VMware's Site Recovery Manager and Microsoft's Cluster Adapter, and supports both the VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors.
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