Storage News Roundup: Intel Cougar Point Recall, WHS 2011 and SBS 2011 Essentials, Fusion-io, Mozy, InnoDisk


This was an exciting week, and one that had many home server blogs heating up the RSS feeds with both a big Intel flaw found and Microsoft releasing much anticipated release candidates.

Intel’s Cougar Point- Sandy Bridge Recall

Intel announced this week that it is financially bracing for a $1 billion USD recall ($300M in lost revenue, $700M to repair and replace)  of recently released Cougar Point motherboards. The bug affects the four SATA 3.0gbps ports and has a 15% chance of rendering those ports unusable within three years. Intel is recalling all Cougar Point materials out there and has begun manufacturing a new chip revision to fix this bug. It will probably be eight weeks or so until Sandy Bridge moves back to full-swing momentum, or about the same time as AMD’s Bulldozer arrives. Major retailers and etailers have pulled motherboards from inventory, and OEMs have delayed the launch of many new products. From what I hear, the C200 (Sandy Bridge Xeon chipset) launch is still up-in-the-air but we should hear more about that soon as it allegedly also contains the hardware bug.

As someone with multiple Sandy Bridge systems, this is not a huge issue if you have network attached storage like many readers. Simply use the Sandy Bridge’s 6.0gbps ports for boot drives and access files over the network normally. No big issue! Also note, PCIe x4 ports can use RAID cards and HBAs so the risk here can be mitigated for the time being.

Microsoft Releases Windows Home Server 2011 and Small Business Server 2011 Essentials Release Candidates

Microsoft finally released the release candidates of Windows Home Server 2011 and Small Business Server 2011 Essentials previously known as projects codenamed Vail and Aurora respectively. Many were quick to confirm the lack of Drive Extender v2 technology in the release candidates however as was shown in April 2010 on ServeTheHome and again in February 2011, this is not a big deal as there are clear workarounds.

Some users that have pre-built Windows Home Server v1 appliances will be a bit left out as 32-bit only CPUs, low memory capacity, and lack of onboard RAID enabled chipsets will make upgrading the pre-built hardware a challenge. In hardware reviews, this is why I have preferred fast 64-bit CPUs, 4GB+ memory counts (ideally 8GB+) and at least raid 1/ 10 RAID controllers like the LSI 1068e based parts and the ICH10R for DIY Windows Home Server builds. Note, these same add-on controllers can also get one around Cougar Point’s four faulty 3.0gbps ports.

Fusion-io Shipped 15PB of its Solid State Drives in the last 12 Months

Fusion-io announced this week that it had shipped over 15PB of storage. Considering the high cost and relatively low capacity (compared to rotational disks) of the products, this is quite an accomplishment for a young company.

Stating the obvious, Benjamin Woo, Program Vice President of Worldwide Storage Systems Research for IDC was quoted as saying “[w]ith 15 petabytes of Fusion’s server-deployed ioMemory technology shipped in just the last 12 months, it is increasingly clear that server-side flash has moved past the bleeding edge and is making its way into the mainstream of enterprise computing.”

For those wondering, Fusion-io is not a competitor for the OCZ RevoDrive X3 noted last week as the Fusion-io products are consumed more in markets where nanoseconds count (e.g. high frequency trading firms.)

Mozy Discontinues the Mozy Unlimited Plan

Another company mentioned last week, Mozy announced that unlimited online backup would be discontinued in favor of a free 2GB Mozy for- Free online plan and two new tiered storage plan. Customers in the 50GB of online storage will see a $1/ month bump to $5.99/month. For $9.99/month Mozy will offer a 125GB plan.

“[f]or the first time since 2006, we’re adjusting the price of our MozyHome service. As part of this change, we’re replacing our Unlimited backup plan. The backup market has changed since we introduced MozyHome Unlimited in 2006, and our new plans are designed to help us continue serving the data protection needs of our customers.”

Existing customers have until 1 March 2011 for the new pricing to take effect however new customers will see the changes immediately.

InnoDisk Releases a JDEC MO-297 Form Factor Hard Drive

I am eagerly awaiting the miniturization of solid state drives below the 2.5″ form factor. As an avid Macbook Air 11.6″ user where there is no room for a 2.5″ drive, innovation in smaller SSDs is a welcome step in the right direction. MO-297 is basically a smaller form factor intended for tablets and smaller form factor laptops.  InnoDisk recently released their slim J-80 MO-297 SSD to cater to this new form factor.

Feel free to suggest news items for next week or provide feedback on the Forums.


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