CES 2011 Storage Wrap: Hot New SSD, Cloud, SOHO NAS Products

Keeping Up With Storage At CES And Storage Visions

The primary focus of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) seems to be on new ways for business and home users to access digital content. That digital content has to be stored somewhere, which makes storage one of the bedrock technologies on which the consumer electronics market is built.

Both CES and the Storage Visions conference, which while separate were both held last week in Las Vegas, provided a glimpse at some of the new SSD, storage cloud, and digital content storage customers can expect in 2011 and beyond. Turn the page for a look at some of these technologies.

Buffalo Technology: SMB Network Storage

Buffalo Technology, Austin, Texas, used CES 2011 to introduce its TeraStation Pro family of network storage solutions. The five models in the new family are built on the Intel Atom D510 dual-core processor, and offer such business-class features as Active Directory support, disk quota support, data replication with device failover, dual Gbit Ethernet ports, hot-swap hard drives and ten licenses of NovaBACKUP Business Essentials software. They scale to up to 24 TBs of capacity.

The new TeraStation Pro appliances are slated to ship next month. The highest-end model, the TeraStation Pro 8, is list-priced at $6,499.99 with 24 TBs of capacity.

Continuity Centers: Secure Private Cloud Storage For PCs

The MobileVault private storage cloud from Woodbury, N.Y.-based Continuity Centers was specifically built to provide quick backup and recovery of laptop and desktop data. MobileVault is built and hosted within the company's SAS70 audited data centers, and Continuity Centers said called it the only cloud-based backup software to receive the Federal Government’s highest security rating – NIST FIPS 140 Type II. MobileVault offers block-level delta-backup and data deduplication to keep the backup and recovery process fast even over cell-based 3G and 4G networks.

Hitachi GST: New Storage For Consumer Electronics Video Devices

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, San Jose, Calif., unveiled two new families of consumer electronic-optimized hard drives for the digital video recorder (DVR), IPTV set-top-box, video surveillance, and emerging hard drive-embedded TV markets. They include the 3.5-inch CinemaStar 5K2000 family with 2-TB and 1.5-TB capacities, and the 2.5-inch CinemaStar C5K750 family with 750-GB, 640-GB, and 500-GB capacities. They all feature low power consumption and quiet operations, and are optimized for the audio/video market.

Imation: Upcoming Removable HD Storage Appliances

Imation, Oakdale, Minn., used the Storage Visions conference to unveil a couple of upcoming additions to its portfolio of RDX removable hard drive cartridge-based appliances, both of which are slated to ship in the first half of 2011. The first is the RDX "A8" multi-cartridge storage device, an iSCSI-based network-attached device that holds up to eight RDX cartridges of interchangeable capacities for a maximum capacity of 8 TBs. The second is a new docking station for a single RDX cartridge with a USB 3.0 interface for use as external storage or for backing up data.

Intel: Ultrasmall SSD

Intel, Santa Clara, Calif., showed its recently-introduced Intel Solid-State Drive (Intel SSD) 310 series. The Intel SSD 310 delivers performance similar to that of the Intel X25-class SSDs, but in one-eighth the size. Measuring only 51x30x5mm, the SSDs target dual-drive notebooks, single-drive tablets, and low-power, rugged embedded industrial or military applications. When paired with a high-capacity hard drive in a dual-drive system, the Intel SSD 310 can improve overall PC system performance by up to 60 percent, Intel said.

Iomega: Personal Storage Clouds

Iomega, San Diego, introduced its new Iomega Personal Cloud technology which allows a user to open access to his or her files to multiple users who can share and edit those files via secure login from anywhere in the world with no remote access fees. The host of the personal cloud can invite up to 250 other users or devices to join with a password and an invitation access code to form an encrypted connection between the users.

The Personal Cloud technology will be bundled free of charge with all Iomega's NAS devices in the first quarter of 2011.

Micron: New SSDs For Flash-based Notebooks

Micron Technology, Boise, Idaho, unveiled a new line of its RealSSD solid-state drives for flash-based portable PCs. They incorporate the company's 25-nanometer NAND flash technology, and feature from 64 GBs to 512 GBs capacity. The new 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch form factor SSDs support the SATA 6-Gbps interface, and reach read speeds up to 415 MBs per second. They can also be used in desktops, workstations, and industrial applications which require low power consumption and/or high shock and vibration resistance. The drives will be available to OEMs under the C400 name, and to business customers under the Crucial m4 SSD name.

OCZ: Pushing SSD Performance To The Extreme

OCZ, San Jose, Calif., introduced its new SATA 6-Gbps MLC-based Vertex 3 Pro SSDs which were built with new SandForce controller technology that gives them performance of up to 80,000 IOs per second (IOPS) and 550 MBs per second transfer rates for the prosumer and gamer market. OCZ also unveiled the Z-Drive R3 PCI-Express SSD. This SSD is also based on the SandForce controller, but targets Tier-0/1 data applications with its PCIe interface, performance of over 1 GB per second and 135,000 IOPS, and capacity of up to 1.2 TBs.

Plextor: Next-generation SSDs

Plextor, Fremont, Calif., introduced its next generation of 2.5-inch SSDs with a new high-speed SATA 6-Gbps interface and read speeds of up to 400 MBps. The new drives are expected to ship during the first quarter of 2011 with capacities of 64 GBs, 128 GBs, and 256 GBs, and target power users, gamers, system integrators, and industrial applications such as those found in medical or government sectors.

Promise: Adding Smart Device Access To Digital Content At Home

Promise Technology, Milpitas, Calif., introduced its SmartStor Zero Digital Media Server and SmartStor Fusion Stream DLNA Digital Media App for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android smart devices. The SmartStor Zero is a two-bay home and SOHO NAS and digital media server which lets consumers stream and manage digital media on a home network and browse content. They can select and control playback using a Digital Media Renderer (DMR) such as Windows 7 Media Player, Samsung DLNA TVs, WDTV Live, and XBOX 360. Fusion Stream also lets users create, save, and load playlists.

QNAP: Expanded NAS Offering

QNAP Systems, Taipei, Taiwan, expanded its Turbo NAS server line at CES with its new TS-x59 Pro+ lineup. They feature dual-core Intel Atom D525 1.8-GHz processors for data throughput of up to 113-MBs per second, and come in desktop models with 2, 4, 5, 6, or 8 hot-swappable drives as well as an 8-bay, 2U rack-mount unit. All the Pro+ models include 1 GB of RAM, dual Gbit LAN ports, iSCSI support, and extensive RAID support.

QNAP also unveiled new SOHO NAS appliances based on Marvell 1.6 GHz embedded processors, as well as a beta of its NAS management software.

Seagate: Drumming Up 3rd-Party GoFlex Support

Seagate, Scotts Valley, Calif., used CES to introduce a new program to allow third-party IT vendors to incorporate slots on their products to support Seagate's removable GoFlex external hard drives. Seagate's GoFlex drives plug into an external docking device with one of a variety of interfaces including USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire 800, or eSATA. Under its new Certified GoFlex Storage System program, third-party developers of products ranging from media players to computers to televisions could incorporate a GoFlex slot, providing consumers a seamless method to access digital content.