September 22, 2020 | Let's face it, in modern times,
redundancy is important. It really is. Not too many of us
would live somewhere without having a spare key stashed
away, ready if we needed it. Many of us would also keep
a flashlight or, at least, candles in case the power should
fail. And not one of us-- I hope--would would drive a daily
commute to work without a spare tire in the event that one
of the regular tires might fail. As our lives have become
increasingly encoded to ones and zeros, the need to provide
redundancy in digital data storage has become increasingly
important as well. Enter the technology known as RAID (Redundant
Array of Independent Devices), a virtual spare-tire for
servers on the clich?d information super-highway, and Adaptec's
much promoted "RAID Everywhere" initiative.
"RAID Everywhere" is designed to provide mainstream PC
servers and high-end PCs with what may be needed most in
the event of a failure--redundancy. On the heels of the
initiative's anouncement, Adaptec has also announced three
new RAID cards. "More than 75 percent of today's whitebox
servers, and nearly half of all PC servers shipped today
don't have adequate RAID protection--that's an alarming
statistic," said Jeff Loebbaka, vice president of channel
marketing at Adaptec. "Critical data exists in businesses
of every size, yet the benefits of RAID have simply not
been widely available, whether due to cost, complexity,
or support issues."
Indeed, one key problem that Adaptec faces as it attempts
to push RAID into the mainstream is FUD (fear, uncertainty,
and doubt). Many small to mid-sized businesses may know
of the benefits of RAID, but are scared off by an uncertainty
of how to implement the technology, or what kind of investment
is required to implement a RAID solution effectively. "We
want to do the same thing for RAID that we've done with
our SCSI products," said Robert Cox, marketing manager at
Adaptec. "That is, create a product that is more reliable
and easier to use out of the box." Even Adaptec's included
Storage Management Pro software, which is written in Java,
is designed to provide a generic user interface across multiple
platforms and take the complexity out of setting up and
maintaining a RAID system.
Adaptec's three new offerings include two 64-bit Ultra160
SCSI RAID controllers, the 3200S and 3400S, which are two
and four-channel versions, respectively. Adaptec also introduced
its 2100S, a half-size, single-channel SCSI RAID controller.
The 3400S, 3200S, and 2100S controllers are priced at $499,
$825, and $1,120, respectively, offering a flexible range
a doughnut for every PC?
Not quite, Cox said. The "RAID Everywhere" initiative is targeted
at small to mid-sized business, a market segment which more
often than not can benefit from the features of RAID. Companies
that work with large amounts of data, such as audio/video
editors, graphic designers, and ecommerce providers are among
those that stand to benefit from embracing RAID. "A single
disk drive failure could cost a company in both downtime and
lost work," said Cox. "RAID can help prevent this." Although
SoHo (Small office/Home office) and consumer users are not
targeted in Adaptec's push, Cox said he expects a number of
these users to adopt the technology as well.
Adaptec, which accounts for an estimated 80 percent of
the SCSI market, expects RAID to complement its SCSI technology.
Because RAID technology is designed to provide not only
redundancy, but speed as well, many companies that have
adopted SCSI for its performance may look to RAID for an
additional boost. This could be particularly enticing for
applications such as DVD authoring, or MPEG-2 streaming
over a LAN, which call for large amounts of data to be effieciently
moved from one location to another.
"The explosion of the Internet has created a situation
where the need for data storage is doubling and quadrupling
every year," says Cox. "I've recently heard a figure that
Yahoo! adds a terabyte of storage per week. While Yahoo!
may be at the extreme end of the spectrum, this is reflective
of an overall growth of digital data." As well the need
for a redundancy that Adaptec hopes to provide with its
"RAID Everywhere" initiative.