Howard Marks - Authors & Columnists - InformationWeek

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Profile of Howard Marks

Network Computing Blogger
News & Commentary Posts: 141

Howard Marks is founder and chief scientist at Deepstorage LLC, a storage consultancy and independent test lab based in Santa Fe, N.M. and concentrating on storage and data center networking. In more than 25 years of consulting, Marks has designed and implemented storage systems, networks, management systems and Internet strategies at organizations including American Express, J.P. Morgan, Borden Foods, U.S. Tobacco, BBDO Worldwide, Foxwoods Resort Casino and the State University of New York at Purchase. The testing at DeepStorage Labs is informed by that real world experience.

He has been a frequent contributor to Network Computing and InformationWeek since 1999 and a speaker at industry conferences including Comnet, PC Expo, Interop and Microsoft's TechEd since 1990. He is the author of Networking Windows and co-author of Windows NT Unleashed (Sams).

He is co-host, with Ray Lucchesi of the monthly Greybeards on Storage podcast where the voices of experience discuss the latest issues in the storage world with industry leaders.  You can find the podcast at: http://www.deepstorage.net/NEW/GBoS

Articles by Howard Marks
posted in March 2008

Fujifilm's Tape Tracker - GPS For LTO

3/31/2008
As expected, the seemingly constant stream of news stories revealing how one organization after another has lost, misplaced, or allowed evil hackers (which some of you want me to call crackers) to access personal data about its customers, employees, and/or clients has spawned a new product. Fujifilm's Tape Tracker combines a GPS receiver and cellular modem to create a James Bondian tracking device cleverly disguised as an LTO tape. All you have to do is slip a Tape Tracker into each Turtle of ta

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Death To Brick-Level Backups!

3/30/2008
Friends, readers, fellow backup geeks, lend me your eyeballs. I come to bury mailbox by mailbox (brick-level) backups, not to praise them. Exchange server administrators shall not backup mailboxes individually via MAPI for it is so slow it causes thy tape drive to shoeshine, takes several times the disk or tape space as an information store backup, is prone to errors, and causes your backup jobs to fail, claiming disabled mailboxes are corrupted. The time has come to throw brick-level backups o

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GoVault - It's The Software, Stupid

3/30/2008
Simplicity is the key to products for the SOHO market. Small business owners are like one-armed paperhangers; accounting, technology, and other administration tasks will always take second place to doing enough business to make next week's payroll. The backup software bundled with Quantum's GoVault uses this year's hot technology, data deduplication, to make backup to GoVault's removable hard drive cartridges simple as any I've seen. All you have to do is pick the folders to backup and set a sch

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Cemaphore MailShadow Google Edition Syncs Exchange

3/26/2008
I've previously mentioned Cemaphore's MailShadow Exchange server continuity software. Today, Cemaphore's announced a MailShadow Google Edition that bidirectionally syncs data from an Exchange mailbox to Google's Gmail and Calendar. The sync is complete enough to allow cross-platform appointment booking and to keep read/unread state so your Exchange mailbox will reflect that you read Big Jim's message on

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ExaGrid's Scalable Data Deduping NAS

3/25/2008
Aiming for the SME market, ExaGrid System's built a line of data deduping NAS appliances with 5 models designed to protect from 1 Tb to 5 TB of source data. A year ago a vendor coming out with a deduping NAS would have been noteworthy on its own, but this market moves fast and I'm not that easily impressed any more. What makes the ExaGrid boxes intriguing now is that you can stack up to 5 appliances into a single grid with 34 TB of disk space and a data ingestion rate of over 2 TB per hour.

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Network Appliance Rechristens Itself NetApp, Picks Bad Logo

3/24/2008
In a stunning demonstration of branding over substance, Network Appliance, the market leader in corporate NAS, has decided that its biggest problem is that its target market of the top 5,000 storage-using organizations in the world had never heard of it. To address this problem it, like FedEx before it, adopted the company's nickname of NetApp as the official name and decided to use the worst stylized N logo since NBC in the '80s. Various other bloggers have compared it to Stonehenge, a staple,

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From The Rumor Mill -- IBM To Buy Diligent

3/23/2008
Israeli business news site Global Online reported last week that negotiation for IBM to buy data deduplicating VTL software vendor Diligent Technologies for $200 million had reached an advanced stage. http://globes-online.com This would follow on IBM's acquisition of Israeli grid storage startup XIV a couple of months ago. Considering that XIV Executive Chairman Moshe Yanai remained a director of Diligent after it

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USB Drive Dongle -Stick One In Your Bag O' Tricks

3/20/2008
It happens to the best of us every once in a while. The CEO broke his laptop screen, or the desktop power supply of the VP of HR, who insists on storing data on his C: drive, bit the dust. Now you have a hard drive full of data in a dead system. How do you mount the drive so you can recover the data? Put it in a spare desktop? Is it PATA, SATA, or the mini-PATA connection for laptop drives that also carries power? For around $30 you can stick a USB drive dongle in your bag of tricks and read the

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The Modular Tape Library -- Flexible Yet Old-Fashoned

3/18/2008
In my life as a consultant I seem to attract clients that need a network janitor. Regardless of whether the cause was a CIO past his prime trying to squeak out a couple last years by keeping the budget down or just a network that grew past its designer's ability, the network's not working right. I've also learned that if the network's not working right, the backup system isn't working at all. As a result, I frequently have to specify a new tape library before I have good capacity planning data.

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Cemaphore MailShadow -- Exchange Failover With A Twist

3/12/2008
E-mail, and more particularly Microsoft Exchange, is a classic example of how user adoption can turn an application mission critical before the IT guys catch on. Most IT departments protect Exchange servers with the same techniques they use to protect other applications. Replicate the data to another disk somewhere and have an idle Exchange server mount the database for failover. Rather than collect data at the file or block level, MailShadow collects Exchange objects at the transaction layer fo

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HP Video - Them Servers Blow'd Up Real Good

3/8/2008
Like many guys, I have to admit a certain fascination with explosions and explosives. If there had been a Patriot Act when I was a young man, I would almost certainly be blogging from a federal pen somewhere as I did combine my fascination with my studies as a chemistry major to make my own little toys. The statute of limitations having run out and the heat being on, so to speak, I limit myself to Mythbusters and other televised explosions. When surfing the Web this afternoon looking for good vi

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MozyPro Resellers And Users Get Reprieve On Price Hike

3/7/2008
In an e-mail yesterday, MozyPro resellers learned that the price hike for server protection that was to go into effect March 1 has been postponed until the 12th (next Wednesday). The delay was "due to the overwhelming amount of feedback from our resellers and the lack of time we've had to respond and address a lot of you." The e-mail includes a FAQ section I've posted below. The biggest news there is that users grandfathered in will be able to expand their storage for existing servers a

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ioSafe Responds to "Fireproof Storage? I Don't Get It"

3/7/2008
I received an e-mail from Robb Moore, the president of ioSafe, responding to my recent post wondering if the whole concept of fireproof storage devices for on-site backup was a bad idea. Restraining myself from making snarky comments to his points I'm posting his message as is, and with his permission, below. I'll probably make snarly comments soon since restraint isn't my greatest strength.

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Hifn Puts Hashing For Deduplication On A Card

3/4/2008
Like BASF in their TV commercials, Hifn is one of those companies that doesn't make the storage and computing products you buy, they make the parts and ingredients that make them better. Amongst those that know it at all, Hifn is best known as patent holder for the LZS compression algorithm used in everything from Cisco routers to just about every tape drive you own. Hifn's main product nowadays are compression and encryption chips that speed up everything from VPN gateways to most of the major

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Last Week's Florida Blackout Reveals Fragile Grid

3/3/2008
Once again last week the utility industry's version of Jimmy McNulty (see HBO's The Wire) disabled two separate protection devices while diagnosing a bad switch at a south Florida substation causing a fault that propagated through the grid. In the process it cut out power to a nuclear power plant causing it to shut down (And why is it nuclear power plant's can't run on the power they generate?) along with power for 3 million people from Miami to Tampa. While most users got their power back in

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Open-E Extends Free Storage Software Offer

3/3/2008
I reported in a previous post Its_Hard_To_Beat_Free that German storage vendor Open-E was giving away its open source-based DSS Lite software that turns a typical PC server into a NAS/iSCSI initiator and target/Fibre Channel initiator and target till Jan. 31. Apparently enough people downloaded the Lite version with its 1 TB storage limit and then decided to buy Open-E's bigger versions to make it worth

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