As I was planning my 2014 calendar over the past two weeks, I noticed that two storage conferences that focused on heterogeneous computing environments and were popular during from 2000-2010 have either gone the way of the dodo bird or are only a shell of what they formerly were. Yet during that same period of time, I met with some storage engineers and architects in the Omaha area who were telling me their environments are more heterogeneous than possibly ever before. While these trends on the surface may seem contradictory, they underscore the growing frustration that management in companies have with IT in general and how they are desperately looking for IT solutions that just work. In the decade ranging from about 2000-2010, the two “can’t miss” conferences in the data storage world were Storage Decisions and Storage Networking World. Data storage was undergoing a huge transformation from being direct-attached to network-attached and these two conferences were at the center…
A recent report from Ferris Research estimates that the total number of business e-mails sent in North America alone will surpass 139 million in 2009 and 143 million in 2010. This volume of email growth continues to put pressure on IT staff in every size organization to manage its inflow, outflow and retention. While the mechanics of managing emails inflows and outflows can be fairly straightforward, when it comes to setting policies as to how long to retain these emails, the picture can start to get a bit hazy.
If somebody had told us that a relative unknown company had come out of nowhere to capture 20% of the small and midsize business (SMB) market in email archiving (according to Gartner) since 2006, we would have thought it a joke. But, that is exactly what we discovered when we recently spoke with ArcMail’s CEO Todd Gates. And while ArcMail has flown under the radar screen of most publications and analysts, once we spoke with Gates and began to understand the technology behind ArcMail, we immediately understood why SMBs like the way ArcMail archives email and why they are bringing ArcMail in-house for their email archiving needs.
Understanding legal hold and how to best approach this difficult topic can lead to a failure of the electronic discovery process for a company and put a company at considerable risk if it does not retain critical documents needed to answer an FRCP request.
In 1978 the Presidential Records Act (PRA) was passed which fundamentally changed the landscape of Presidential records by moving them from a classification of personal information to the public domain. The PRA is explicit in describing that retention of records created by the President of the United States as well as the Vice President is the responsibility of the President. The PRA guides the President in how records should be handled and guides the steps in the proper destruction of records and how they are retained to comply with this federal statute.
Over the past year there has been a lot of talk and speculation about Electronic Health Records (EHR). The topic started making headlines last year as President Obama and Senator McCain sparred over how to best fix health care with EHR touted as the single best way to control the ever increasing costs of medical treatment. Although it remains to be seen if this is actually the case, the recent stimulus bill passed by Congress on February 13th, 2009, has ensured EHR projects will be funded.
The risks inherent to the payment card industry (PCI) and the consumers using credit cards are well documented. High profile PCI data breaches such as the TJX data breach are a painful reminder of the importance of securing consumer information and the need for security standards such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS). Originally created when Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express aligned their individual data security policies, PCI-DSS version 1.2 that was released in October 2008 provided clarification and updates to meet today’s payment card security challenges. One such example is anti-virus software will be required on all systems regardless of operating system.
Cross-platform security has long been an issue. If your network is like most, chances are you are tied to the Microsoft Security paradigm, which does not necessarily play well with non-Microsoft permissions and security. This is not a judgment, but an acknowledgement that a growing number of companies operate in a Windows-dominated world. Binding Windows Clients to a Windows Active Directory domain almost always works. Conversely, if companies need to support a mixed operating system environment for clients and then share files and folders between these different operating systems in a Microsoft AD environment, the experience may be less than pleasurable.
A few years ago, companies wondered “What if?” regarding whether the Serial ATA (SATA) disk drives found in consumer-grade PCs would eventually find their way into enterprise-class storage systems. Now, the question no longer is “What if?” but “Where will it stop?” SATA disk drives have found their way into existing SAN and NAS storage systems as well as emerging Cloud and Grid storage architectures. As this has occurred, SATA disk drives have evolved to keep pace with new demands that companies of all sizes are placing on them.
The Swiss Army Knife’s endearing legacy is that of a tool that has helped everyone from soldiers in the late 1800s to astronauts in the twentieth century deal with whatever situations they might encounter. Of course, part of its appeal is being a low-cost, lightweight, multi-faceted instrument that provides a multiple of options. Much of its cool factor comes from its design to handle whatever challenge an individual might confront. Today’s SMBs face similar challenges. SMBs are entering the largely unknown worlds of D2D2T (disk-to-disk-to-tape) and network attached storage (NAS), for which they need their own version of a Swiss Army Knife to offset the complexities that these storage environments create.
After a receiving a briefing on today’s announcement on HP Data Protector’s enhanced integration with VMware, one has to wonder why HP is making any noise about this new functionality at all. While Data Protector’s enhanced integration with VMware virtual machines (VMs) provides some nice integration and recovery features for its HP EVA storage system as well as EMC’s DMX storage system, it appears all HP did was take a feature it now offers for physical machines and make it available for VMware VMs as well. Further, we saw little in this announcement that would make us think Data Protector is well suited to provide improved levels of recovery for companies that are anything but primarily homogeneous HP shops.
If you have spent any time in the IT world you have seen technologies come and go, but few areas have been subjected to the dramatic changes that storage has endured. As enterprise networks have matured the storage of data has exploded. This has fostered new and inventive ways to store and retrieve critical data like the emerging cloud storage platform. Cloud storage’s time is upon us and as large companies such as Amazon take the lead in this area it has brought legitimacy to the cloud concept. In 2007 IDC released the Digital Universe Study which stated between 2006 and 2010 information stored in the digital universe would increase from 161 Exabytes to 988 Exabytes. Based on this incredible projected growth in data and how cloud storage is evolving we quite possibly are witnessing the future of storage unfolding before us.
Anecdotal evidence gathered by DCIG suggests that 50 percent or more of all companies deploying disk-based storage systems in multiple sites as backup targets are also opting to purchase replication software that replicates data between sites for enhanced data protection. For many companies, this purchase may represent their first foray into replication of any kind. As a result, it’s not surprising that many are unprepared for the types of questions to ask when selecting replication software or what to expect from the accompanying management software.
In Asigra’s recent release of Televaulting 8.0 data security remains at the forefront with their use of the AES encryption algorithm to encrypt data while in transmission across the network; or at rest in its DS-System or BLM Archiver. Televaulting’s approach to encryption key management provides several options in how to best approach encryption key management. Televaulting 8.0 gives users and service providers several key ways to protect data from unauthorized exposure.
Overland Storage’s recent acquisition of the Snap Server line of NAS storage products from Adaptec breathes new life into a product line that had all but faded from view. Adaptec’s lack of focus on the Snap Server line coupled with its changing message about what it intended to do with it made Snap Server a logical acquisition target for Overland Storage, which was actively looking to add NAS to its portfolio of disk-based backup products. But now that Overland Storage has it, the big job of explaining how Snap Server fits into customer backup environments falls to Steve Rogers, Overland Storage’s Director of Product & Solutions Marketing.
Our understanding of LTO-4 tape drive encryption is that individual tape drive vendors may encrypt data in different manners. We cautioned that if you have not standardized on an LTO-4 tape drive vendor, an LTO-4 tape cartridge encrypted by one vendor’s drive may not be readable on another’s LTO-4 tape drive. Our specific quote was “So even if all your tape drives are LTO-4, if they are from different vendors, an LTO tape encrypted by one tape drive may not work in another.”
While SaaS (Software as a Service) gets most of the press, SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) is finding its way into increasing numbers of corporate data centers. Parallel SCSI is a proven and reliable data transfer standard and serves the data center well, but all good things must eventually come to an end. With U320 parallel SCSI being the last stop on the SCSI roadmap, and with the advantages SAS has to offer over parallel SCSI, SAS is almost a certainty for the industry at large and your company specifically.
In a previous blog entry we discussed different technologies available to encrypt backup tapes and the unlimited liabilities associated with the breach of an unencrypted backup tape. Making sure the data on that tape is encrypted, however, is not an automatic cure-all. After all, encryption is only as strong as your key management and, in some states, encrypting backup tapes is no longer enough to protect your company from future risks.
Even if you do not closely monitor the data storage space, chances are still above average that you have seen headlines about BNY Mellon Bank losing unencrypted backup tapes and the ensuing media storm that surrounded this disaster. Since that loss occurred, the aftermath has expanded to affect clients from two other banks. Data losses can occur for any reason. They could be the work of a well-disciplined, external network attack or simply stumbling corporate negligence. In either case, it is unfortunately customers who suffer most as their personal information is compromised.
Overland Storage’s ULTAMUS RAID near-line data protection products and REO SERIES disk-based backup solutions provide a solid starting point for addressing customers’ data protection requirements. However, Pendekanti astutely points out that the market is ravenous for innovation and it’s obvious from recent management changes that Overland Storage feels the need to pick up the pace to become more competitive in the rapidly changing data protection market.