A fixed fixed content strategy
StorageTek has finally introduced a fixed content storage product, similar to EMC's Centera. The LFCM 100 uses Permabit's Permeon software to provide the hash addressing and fixed content algorithm base. But the product is only for sale in North America - suggesting support limitations or licence limits. Permabit's product was only available in North America when we wrote about itin March last year.

Centera was introduced in 2003 and EMC was updating it in June last year. StorageTek is well over a year behind EMC in its introduction of a fixed content storage product. Since then HP, Network Appliance, ExaGrid and HP have all introduced fixed content storage products. We thought StorageTek would start talking about the product last November.

The StorageTek product uses standard NFS and CIFS file interfaces to read and write data, said to be faster than EMC's proprietary API method. The company has a roadmap for fixed content suggesting an extension to different categories of content from the initial e-mail. Europe could receive a StorageTek fixed content product in the spring.

Centralised remote site D2D backup
Overland Storage is providing Multi-SitePAC software for its REO disk-to-disk (D2D) backup appliances. With it REOs in branch offices and other remote sites backup the local information to disk. It's then mirrored, in virtual tape format, to a REO in a central site and, voila, you have disaster recovery for your branch offices. The central REO can consolidate all the data and stream it out to tape for additional protection. The branch office REOs provide the near instantaneous restore that is a D2D hallmark. To save on network bandwidth the remote site backups are incremental and the data is compressed. The software will cost from $1,395 - c£750 - and be available from February.

While we're talking about virtual tape...
ATTO Technology has added CommVault Systems and EMC's Dantz unit products to certifications for its Diamond VT virtual tape drive array. Galaxy and Retrospect applications respectively treat the ATTO box as a tape library or drive and thus their users can enjoy the 2 - 15 times faster backup speeds of backing up to disk.

Maxtor retreats.
Maxtor, the struggling hard drive manufacturer which replaced its senior management last year in a torrid few months is, it is understood, going to announce a withdrawal from the 2.5 inch (notebook) disk market. This leaves it with 3.5 inch drives sold for arrays, servers and desktops - a commodity market, and, latterly into personal video recorders and similar consumer devices. It's future could be ugly, signalling further consolidation in the HDD market, which could lead to higher prices. The company refused to comment on these matters saying it was in a quiet period.

World-beating tape library from UK start-up?
UK start-up supplier M5 Data is going to announce new products that connect via Fibre Channel or iSCSI. They will use Bridgeworks protocol bridge technology to do this. M5 Data is described by the DTI thus:- "M5 Data designs, develops and manufactures world leading mid-range tape libraries and is the only totally UK-based company of its kind. Libraries developed by this team are in use throughout the world." The DTI is here a little ahead of the curve. M5 Data has no products for sale yet. It doesn't even have a website.

The people behind M5 Data came out of tape drive manufacturer M4 Data. It became a division of Quantum in February 2001, which sold it off to Pinetree Peripherals in December 2002. M5 Data was founded in 2003. According to Mackintosh Consultants' information it is developing what it hopes will be "world-beating" tape libraries. That surely means a D2D front end and more. On the other hand, perhaps not.

Bridgeworks supplies library partitioning modules enabling many servers to share one library. They each think they have a dedicated library. This suits small and medium enterprises who can't buy a library per server and don't want to equip each server with an auto-loader. So just maybe M5 Data is a company to watch out for when it makes its expected announcement in the spring.