by April 5, 2008 0 comments



Apart of the total IT budget of an organization is reserved for data storage
and management; and using this budget effectively is one of the challenging
tasks. There are several innovations in the recent past which have made data
management simpler and also disaster-resistant. One such innovation is online
storage management sites and tools. Online storage as the name suggests stores
data online, thus making it reachable anytime, anywhere. By using online storage
not only can you store data but also share and manage it. There are a number of
sites which offer online storage space, and there are a few which even offer
advanced features such as Content management.

Here, we will be disscussing such sites and tools. Most sites provide free
sign up and a fixed amount of storage space, which could be extended by paying.

By simultaneously using these websites one can store large amount of data
free of cost.

1800edrive
This site provides its users with 25 GB of storage space and once
configured, you can use it like a logical drive, which you create on your
network or you can simply access the website and store as well as read your data
there. Once you have configured 1800edrive as a logical drive, you can simply
drag and drop data to it. The 1800edrive provides encrypted data transfer and
works transparently with Windows browser. Not only does this site provide online
storage space, but it also lets its users manage that space. On top of that it
let you create content in different formats like html, xml, txt and more.

Configuring 1800edrive onto your desktop is quite simple; just go to the
website and sign up using your email address. After filling up a few personal
details you will receive an email confirmation providing a link to activate your
account. Once your account gets activated, you can use all the features
including network drive creation.

MediaMax
This provides an online storage space of 25 GB, and is powered by
Streamloader. It provides its users with a secure place to store, access and
share personal content. The content could be anything ranging from movies,
videos to photographs.

Xdrive has an appealing
interface , which not only looks cool, but is also quite simple to be used.
One can chose from the Xdrive, Xdrive desktop and Xdrive desktop Lite
options while using this site for online storage

Interestingly, even those who don’t have a MediaMax account can upload large
files to MediaMax, but they can’t host their content on the sites which
authorized users can.

For free backup and synchronization of their content one can download
MediaMax XL beta software, and then further by using the MediaMax file manager,
you can organize, download, play, share or host your files.

Xdrive
With this online storage site one can store and share 5 GB of content.
Signing up is easy; all you need is an AOL account. One can use Xdrive as Xdrive
Classic, Xdrive Desktop Lite and Xdrive desktop. Xdrive classic provides a Web
interface to manage your account. The Xdrive Desktop Lite is a light weight
desktop application for managing content. Xdrive Desktop can be used for backup,
drag and drop and content management onto your computer.

The interface provided by Xdrive is the most appealing amongst all five that
we have discussed here.

4share
4share provides users with a free storage space of 5 GB. Just provide your
email address and you immediately get a free account. The key feature of this
site is Windows-based interface which is simple to use, and there is even
anti-virus support and password protection for folders.

Diino
This online storage site provides 2 GB of free storage space. Diino doesn’t
have a browser- based Web interface; so for using this application first you
have to download it onto your computer. The interface of this application has a
Diino player integrated in it, and email management, blog facility and backup
features are also there.

One can even access Diino through a mobile phone. It provides a lot of
flexibility to the user. With Diino, apart from the free plan there are paid
plans that you can choose from as per your needs.

Storage Management Tools
With about 120 percent increase in capacity of disks annually and drop in
per megabyte storage costs the obvious costs of managing storage should have
declined, but in reality most organizations are spending more on storage devices
every year. The reason is the ever increasing data and lack of proper management
tools. After discussing the free online storage sites, now we will throw some
light on a few storage management tools which will help organizations to cope
with the challenges of storage management.

Brocade SAN Health Diagnostics Capture
Managing a SAN is one of the greatest challenges faced by organizations.
Brocade SAN Health Diagnostic Capture is a free utility that can be used to
monitor the SAN’s health. This utility can be downloaded from

www.brocade.com/support/sanhealthdownload.jspX

Key features
This tool will automatically discover, analyze and report important aspects
of your SAN including switch topology and performance details. The results are
presented in standard Excel and Visio format.

Installation
The basic system requirements for installing this utility onto your desktop
includes: Intel Pentium processor 133 MHz or higher, Microsoft Windows 95 or
higher, and 64 MB RAM / 10 MB available hard disk space.

Download this utility from the above mentioned URL, open the zipped file and
then run InstallSANHealthDiagnosticsCapture.exe. This will install the
application on your system. The basic configuration steps of the tool are
mentioned in the screen shots 1-6.

There is one more tool known as SAN Health Professional provided by Brocade
which is available free of cost and can be used for analyzing SAN data captured
by the SAN Health Diagnostics Capture tool.

To configure SAN Health
Diagnostic Capture, click on the ‘new’ button on the interface and then
click on the ‘Site details’ tab at the bottom
Provide the details, which will
act as a title to the generated report. Click on ‘Report return’ tab and
provide the email address where you want the tool to return the reports

 

Click on the ‘SAN details’ tab
and fill in the details. These details will act as a title to SAN health
report which you will be getting through email
Enter the switch or EFCM server
IP address and login credentials to add the fabric to your audit set where
the EFCM server is Brocades storage management server

 

Go to the ‘Start audit’ tab,
click on ‘Preflight Check’ button and if entered details are correct, Start
audit button gets enabled. Finally, an encrypted data file with .BSH
extension gets generated
Upload the .BSH data file and
this tool will generate a detailed report. One can upload two files in this
appliance simultaneously and also compare changes

SAN Health Professional
One can download this utility from www.brocade.com/support/sanhealth
prodownload.jsp. This application is used for analyzing complete data captured
by capture tool and is important in change management.

Installation
The basic system requirements for installing this utility remains the same
as above, with the only exception that it works only on Microsoft Windows 2000
or higher versions. Refer to figure 6 to know how to use this.

This free tool can be used to
accumulate storage metrics of your servers and provides you statistics about
storage consumed on them

Storage Assessment Tool
One major challenge in the storage management is the unused data residing
over the storage space. As price associated with storage hardware is high and
lots of resources are wasted in managing unused data, overcoming this issue is
critical for any organization.

Storage Assessment Tool is a free and easy to use software to accumulate and
report storage metrics of servers thus providing a report that can be used in
storage management. This tool from Quest software can be downloaded from
www.quest.com/Stor age-Assessment-Tool/, and can be used for free for 60 days.

Key features
This tool is easy to install and run. It provides various kinds of reports
that can be used in load balancing exercises, handling server lease expirations
and deployment of new storage devices on network. With the help of this tool one
can easily reduce physical server count.

One of the key feature of this tool is the identification of files which are
taking up disk space i.e. .avi, .mpeg, and then these files can be easily
removed

Using it, one can scan up to 50 unique computers on the network and get an
idea about money which could be saved if disks are cleaned up. Several reports
which one can get using this includes Enterprise Storage statistics Reports,
Enterprise Storage Recovery Reports, Potential Conflicts Reports and Data
Migration Challenge Reports. The Enterprise Storage Recovery reports give an
idea about the storage space that can be saved if all unused and duplicate data
is removed.

Sandeep Koul

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