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Best of the best in 2004: this month the editors of CTR conclude our survey of those products that companies have deemed their best. These are products already making a significant difference in the competitive marketplace. Their influence will grow throughout the year.

Computer Associates BrightStor SAN Designer allows storage architects and storage administrators to more easily plan, deploy and change their storage networks with greater confidence and accuracy. BrightStor SAN Designer leverages extensive industry best practices and interoperability knowledge base designs to dramatically reduce deployment time and ensure smooth, trouble free installation. BrightStor SAN Designer transforms the disjointed steps of planning, designing and upgrading a storage network into an intelligent and streamlined process. It can rapidly audit and document a current storage network within minutes, offering great flexibility and detail never before offered in the industry.

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The process of planning, designing and documenting a storage network has traditionally been a tedious, time-consuming task, often requiring many weeks of trial and error. Powerful discovery, visualization, report generation and a repository of knowledge and industry best practices encapsulate the skills of many experienced designers into a single, easy to use application. BrightStor SAN Designer enables storage architects and storage administrators to understand the impact of a new design or network expansion project before the purchase of expensive storage equipment. BrightStor SAN Designer hides complexity by adding storage and interoperability design intelligence to the number one network and design application--Microsoft Visio.

BrightStor SAN Designer is highly flexible. It can be used to design from scratch or upgrade a current storage network. Recommended and pre-configured fabric designs from a variety of vendors ensure that the design will be implemented correctly the first time--every time. Storage administrators can set up and save their favorite design layouts as well as pre-configured disk arrays using simple drag and drop techniques. A "what if" analysis can be performed that will validate planned enhancements resulting in more reliable and higher performing storage networks.

The combination of CA's BrightStor SAN Designer with BrightStor SAN Manager and BrightStor Storage Resource offers a complete storage infrastructure lifecycle management solution that is unmatched in the industry.

www.ca.com

In 2003, SANsymphony 5.2 changed how CIOs view storage by combining consolidated storage control and resource management into a hardware-independent software package. Typically, customers are forced to buy storage software features that are bound to purpose-built hardware, and the two are retired and re-purchased simultaneously at great cost. SANsymphony provides disk virtualization, automated provisioning, data replication, storage resource management, automated quality of service management, dramatically faster performance and several other critical features in a portable software product that remains constant while storage hardware is added, replaced or upgraded. Enterprise customers find that the software alleviates administrative tasks and enables them to focus on 2004 compliance and business continuance preparation instead of the operational complexity and cost of proprietary storage boxes.

In addition to the operational benefits of the product, customers take advantage of the newfound purchasing leverage enabled by SANsymphony. The software's uniform support for a range of hardware, from top-end enterprise arrays all the way down to cost-effective serial ATA drives, gives IT managers the freedom to select devices that provide the best price/performance at any given time. No matter what they choose, all storage devices benefit from the performance boost provided by SANsymphony, which produced the most impressive Storage Performance Council benchmark results in 2003, both in terms of total performance and low system cost. Other features, such as the innovative automated provisioning feature, Network Managed Volumes, and asynchronous data replication over IP, provided tremendous advantages by improving disk utilization and reducing the cost of disaster recovery.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

www.datacore.com

EqualLogic's PeerStorage Array delivers the industry's first automatic storage platform capable of creating a single pool of storage characterized by operational simplicity, functional integration, and high data availability. The PeerStorage solution delivers the benefits of consolidated storage in a modular, self-managing, IP-based storage area network that is affordable and easy to use, regardless of scale. By eliminating complex tasks and enabling fast and flexible storage provisioning, PeerStorage solutions dramatically reduce acquisition and operational costs and make enterprise-class shared-block storage practical for the mid-range storage market.

Each self-contained storage array integrates powerful, self-managing software with a fully redundant, hot-swappable hardware architecture to deliver the benefits of consolidated storage in a scalable system that installs in 20 minutes. Complex storage administration tasks are automatic and transparent to the user, dramatically simplifying storage administration. Administration tasks performed by the PeerStorage Array include RAID configuration, load balancing, on-demand storage provisioning and snapshot management.

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As more storage is required, additional PeerStorage Arrays can be added quickly and easily to the PeerStorage group. As arrays are added to the group, self-managing software enables group members to collaborate in a scalable storage grid that behaves as a single pool of storage.

www.equallogic.com

FalconStor's VirtualTape Library Appliance (VTL), powered by IPStor, is a turnkey solution that uses disk to enhance the speed, reliability, and availability of tape media, without changing existing tape backup software and procedures.

The VTL Appliance increases the speed and reliability of existing third-party backup applications by using disks to emulate industry standard tape libraries, and leverages iSCSI, Fibre Channel or IP to transfer data to and restore data from a disk-based virtual tape at ultra high speeds. It also maximizes reliability by eliminating robotic mechanical failures and physical tape media errors.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Data movement between the VTL Appliance's disk-based virtual tapes to physical tape media is accomplished as a secondary task, and can be completed any time of day, without impacting application performance.

IPStor's ability to master leading industry players' storage devices to perform I/O load balancing and transparent storage controller failover/failback enables the VTL Appliance to deliver the highest levels of performance, reliability and availability.

Other features of the VTL Appliance include:

* End-to-end path/appliance/storage high availability for non-stop backup and restore operations when configured in pairs

* Remote vaulting and offsite tape storage by provisioning virtual tape media and libraries over an IP network

* Facilitation of the consolidation and provisioning of backup resources (tape library and media) to lower administrative costs.

www.falconstor.com

NovaStor's NovaNet-WEB v5.1 online backup software works over any TCP/IP connection and turns an ordinary server into a powerful, fully automated network backup system, providing a single, low-cost backup solution for corporate end users, VARs, ASPs, and ISPs.

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NovaNet-WEB 5.1 provides midrange and large enterprise environments with a reliable, automatic and totally secure solution for backing up business-critical data and confidential information to a network server on a regular basis. It allows remote offices to use FastBIT(TM) technology to securely back up data to the central data center every night. It permits mobile users to easily back up data in minutes using encrypted transmissions. It enables VARs, ASPs and ISPs to offer customers an automated, secure, off-site backup service.

With a NovaNet-WEB 5.1 client/server software package, IT professionals can more easily implement and manage backup requirements of different users and departments. It is also a welcome solution for companies looking to reduce IT costs without endangering data protection and for start-up ASPs and ISPs who require a reliable, low-cost solution.

On the client side, NovaNet-WEB 5.1 runs on each user's computer to regularly backup important files to the backup server. Features include firewall support; convenient Getting Started Wizard; comprehensive backup scheduling; interactive backup modes; customizable backup sets, file selections and filters; and FastBIT(TM) technology for blazing fast backups.

The software also operates the backup server as a service that can easily add, remove or modify backup users; create user data CDs; enforce storage quota limits; support multiple user authentication techniques; eliminate redundant files and configure instant error/warning notifications.

www.novastor.com/ispservices

The R2000 server backup and recovery accelerator dramatically accelerates the backup and recovery performance of existing backup servers, designed specifically to accelerate data backup and recovery over high-speed Ethernet networks. A sharable storage device, the R2000 uses iSCSI technology to consolidate data from multiple backup servers, whether local or remote. IT professionals can use the R2000 to "assign" or "reassign" backup data storage among servers with varying capacity requirements, deferring new storage purchases and improving operational efficiency. The R2000 provides FC disk speed, flexibility and security at a fraction of the cost of competing solutions.

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The R2000 delivers the fastest, most secure way to move data from disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T). The R2000 improves the overall backup process by consolidating backups of many servers quickly onto disk. The R2000 is designed to "sit" between backup servers and tape devices to significantly accelerate backup and recovery performance, reducing the disruption caused by the backup process while maintaining the path to tape (still the foundation of backup and recovery). The REO R2000 is part of the Overland Storage REO SERIES product family, the highest-performing backup and recovery appliances available. The REO SERIES includes the R2000 backup and recovery acceleration appliance and RX2000 expansion module.

www.overlandstorage.com

The Spectra T950 library with LTO, SDLT, SAIT or AIT tape technology delivers more than 200% greater storage density than its nearest competitor. By storing more data in a smaller space, the return on data storage investment for users is maximized.

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The Spectra T950 library's compact and scalable design makes it easy to match growing capacity needs while saving valuable data center floor space. By redefining the geometry of how media is stored in a library, the Spectra T950 delivers greater capacity in a smaller footprint. This system of racked media, cartridges, interchangeable drive and media bays and multiple frame capabilities enables users to efficiently scale capacity to match requirements now and into the future.

The Spectra T950 library was designed to fit optimally in a modern data center or colocation environment. Unlike octagonal or L-shaped libraries, the Spectra T950 library fits perfectly in a data center row. A single frame--offering up to 950 LTO or SAIT tapes with 12 drives, or 830 tapes with 24 drives--is only 31 inches wide. If necessary, service can be accomplished through the front and back of the frame. The TeraPack design allows rapid media entry and removal, eliminating the need for a large access door and associated clear space.

The Spectra T950 has performance speeds of up to 33.7TB/hour hour compressed with 120 SAIT slots. Pricing for a 15-slot Fibre Channel Spectra T950 library with two LTO-2 drives starts at $90,000.

www.spectralogic.com

Open File Manager is enterprise-class software that enables your backup application to back up open files in a distributed Windows and NetWare environment, ensuring business continuity and protection of mission-critical data. It is a reliable, easy-to-use, disk-level open file solution that is cost-effective and scalable from workstations to servers.

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Since 1995, Open File Manager has been the leading open file management solution with over 300,000 licenses sold for Microsoft and NetWare environments. Its rich feature set helps IT professionals automate backup of open files through system-wide volume synchronization, improve application availability and lower operating costs. It seamlessly works with leading backup software, including Computer Associates BrightStor ARCserve, VERITAS Backup Exec and NetBackup, IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, Hewlett Packard Data Protector and more.

Key Benefits:

* Ensure business continuity and protection of mission-critical data

* Improve application availability and lower operating costs

* Avoid incomplete backups and eliminate backups with corrupted open file data

* Standardize on one solution to back up open files across your enterprise

www.stbernard.com
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Title Annotation:Best of the Best; Computer Technology Review
Publication:Computer Technology Review
Article Type:Product/Service Evaluation
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Words:1883
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