Stories by Mario Apicella

  • BlueArc Titan 3200 a giant among NAS systems

    We don't have Olympic Games for file server systems but the SPEC SFS (System File Server) benchmark serves as the next best thing, providing a comparable rank of file server performance. If you sifted through all of the SPEC SFS results published to the SPEC Web site, you'd find that the fastest NAS systems are from NetApp, BlueArc, and EMC, who take what in Beijing would have been a gold, a silver, and a bronze medal, in that order.

  • VMotion and FCoE: A match made in admin heaven

    In a recent review, I consolidated FC and Ethernet networks using FCoE (fibre channel over Ethernet) and Cisco's new Nexus 5000 switch. As the review showed, the combination merged the two transport protocols easily, allowing FC frames to channel through a 10G connection without giving up features or performance.

  • Debating the merits of SSDs

    Would you pay several times more for a technology that yields only dubious performance advantage? How about if that technology is experiencing a high rate of product returns from early adopters?

  • Debating the merits of SSDs, part two

    Healthy debate is often necessary to get a balanced view of an emerging technology. Somewhere between endorsements and detractions, a realistic understanding of the long-term outlook for a technology arrives. As such, I have decided to turn to a guest once again for the second installment in what I hope to be an ongoing debate over the merits of flash SSDs (solid-state drives).

  • Price makes Imation SSDs a tough sell

    Solid-state drives (SSDs) have been around for many years. Their high cost, however, has limited their deployment to special environments, such as the military, where their rugged, shock-resilient design, coupled with extremely fast performance, justifies the expense.

  • Solid-state upgrades: Risky business

    Hardware upgrades can be a blast. Slide 2GB more RAM in your machine and everything just works faster and smoother. Updating a laptop or desktop with an SSD (solid-state drive), however, can be tricky and not so rewarding, as I am finding.

  • Storage that takes care of itself

    I've said it before, but I'll say it again: SFF (small form factor) drives allow you to squeeze more spindles into the same rack space, giving you better performance in the same real estate. As an bonus, using 2.5-inch drives reduces the amount of electricity you use and creates less heat than using their larger cousins, essentially making your storage array less demanding on your wallet and on the electric grid.

  • Time to bury big-drive "diskosaurs"

    The EonStor B12 from Infortrend represents an intriguing proposition: an enterprise-class storage solution in miniature, built on 2.5-inch SAS drives. One look at this small-form-factor vision of the future, and you'll be reconsidering the long-term viability of behemoth arrays.

  • Sun's StorageTek Honeycomb is sticky and sweet

    Most storage solutions are optimized for fast access and frequent updates, a formula that fits the requirements of transactional applications to a tee but isn't necessarily well suited to archiving files that - whether by law, or policy, or practice - either must not or will not be changed.

  • Upgrading to solid state

    Now that loose SSDs (solid state drives) are available, you may be wondering how best to take advantage of the technology. Here's a breakdown of where retrofitting current machines with solid state could reap worthwhile rewards.

  • Brocade's big, fat datacenter fabric

    At 104 kilos, the Brocade DCX Backbone would be on the lighter end of middle linebackers in the NFL, but it's well-built to fill the middle of a storage network. Unveiled in late January, the DCX represents the first deliverable of Brocade's DCF (Data Center Fabric), the company's newly designed architecture that promises a more flexible, easier-to-manage, policy-driven network, one that embraces multiple connectivity protocols and is better able to respond to applications' demands and to support new technologies such as server virtualization.

  • Make interoperability the goal

    Getting storage vendors to play together nicely is no easy task. When they do, it is an event worthy of pause -- even if the gathering proves more about self-service than boosting the interoperability of their wares.

  • EMC's solid-state play begs for benchmarks

    I would bet dollars against pennies you didn't miss the EMC buzz about SSDs (solid-state drives) in Symmetrix. The vendor carefully orchestrated the announcement in hopes of capitalizing on the most interesting innovation to its portfolio in a long time.

  • Dell could beat EMC in joint AX4 release

    As you may have heard, Dell and EMC this week trumpeted branded versions of the Clariion AX4 storage solution -- in Dell's case, the AX4-5 -- aimed at SMBs. Developed jointly, the technology differs little, yet market strategy may mean Dell will reap deeper rewards.