It looks like Xiotech is going to cop the “Best Announcement at Spring SNW ’08” prize. See the nifty flash intro.

I did speak to Ellen Lary, Engineering VP last night after going through their mobbed booth. Later today I have an appointment with Steve Sicola, Xiotech’s CTO. I’ll have a more complete report later. Here’s what I’ve gleaned so far.

Remember Atrato?
Interesting stuff:

  • Sealed unit starting at 1.5 TB. They had a 1 PB system on display in 3 54 RU – i.e. bigger than you use – racks.
  • 5 year warranty and nifty blue LED light. Are we in a data center or a cocktail lounge?
  • Uses the draft T10 DIF (Data In Flight or Data Integrity Field, Data Integrity Feature – depending on where you read it – evidence that humans have a far greater problem with data integrity than computers do) standard to protect data within the array.
  • Uses Seagate’s own drive test software to attempt repairs on drives in place. Ellen said that about 70% of drives work normally after a power cycle.
  • If power cycling doesn’t work, the box can perform a complete reformat of the drive, starting with laying down tracks and proceeding on to what you and I consider “formatting”.
  • If a particular head is the problem, they can electrically disable that side of a platter while continuing to use the rest of the capacity of the drive.
  • It is cheaper to put in a couple of extra high-end drives than it is to make a service call. This won’t be true in China of course.

The best announcement that WASN’T made at Spring SNW
A company has figured out how to enable long distance synchronous replication. Here in America we like things big – including our idiots in Washington – and our disasters are no exception.

Hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanos, floods, blizzards, tornados and fires – and purblind ideologues – can lay waste to hundreds or thousands of square miles. So normal synchronous replication distances don’t cut it for gotta-have-it infrastructure.

The still-in-stealth-mode company’s Chief Engineer, Montgomery Scott, explained that by running dilithium crystals a little hot, a special hyperspace “tunnel” is created enabling . . . .

Just kidding. Their actual solution looked good in principle but the devil is in the details. I asked all the hard questions I could think of and they had answers for all of them, so it looks like they have something real.

Look for a fall announce.

The StorageMojo take
Those of you wondering if this year would be more of the same old, same old, fear not. The spirit and fact of invention is still strong in the ever-more-vital storage industry.

Comments welcome, of course. Would you use 1,000 mile synchronous replication if you could get it?