|Exam Name||:||HP Storage Essentials SRM Enterprise Edition|
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|Updated On||:||February 19, 2019|
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Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) took the 1st step toward automating its storage aid management (SRM) and mixing it with its general statistics middle management framework these days as a part of a extensive IT capabilities platform initiative.
HP launched HP automatic Operations 1.0, a collection of products for automating the management of servers, networks, applications, storage and clients. automatic Operations 1.0 is primarily a rebranding of items HP acquired from Opsware Inc., Mercury Interactive Corp. and Peregrine programs Inc., together with HP OpenView, and is split into three segments: enterprise carrier Automation, enterprise service management and IT provider administration.Storage suits into the company service Automation community, which is particularly the Opsware records middle automation suite combined with Storage essentials and the Radia configuration management software. HP closed its $1.6 billion acquisition of Opsware in September.
HP is bundling its Storage necessities SRM with Opsware's application Storage Automation system (ASAS). For now, this exchange is particularly cosmetic – the ASAS GUI will launch Storage essentials. but HP plans to thoroughly integrate the products by the end of next year into an software called HP Storage Automation.
The Storage essentials group, which came to HP when it bought SRM startup AppIQ Inc. in 2005, will work to combine intellectual property that Opsware bought when it purchased another SRM startup, CreekPath programs Inc., in mid-2006.
unlike Storage essentials, ASAS can connect to servers, networks, applications and shoppers to link SRM to different IT areas. but the integration could be a protracted technique, pointed out Evelyn Hubbert, senior analyst for infrastructure and operations at Forrester research.
"They need to do lots of work getting it to look at SAN and NAS," she spoke of. "Storage essentials does all that, but integrating it will take some work to reconcile with the Opsware application. Over the subsequent one year, we'll see what they have got. it's a really high-degree integration at this factor."
Hubbert thinks HP's automation method receives it off to an excellent beginning in what she sees as "the race for all these [networking] carriers to in the reduction of the amount of time IT spends on operations. that point goes through the roof."
She observed a fresh Forrester survey discovered that 80% of IT work involves retaining and operating the ambiance and handiest 20% on innovation.
"We suppose it be time to rethink IT operations," talked about HP's Helen Tang, director of product advertising and marketing. "We consider nobody out there is doing some thing like our automatic operations."
Others are definitely on the identical path. EMC Corp. is within the early levels of integrating and automating network administration capabilities it picked up from its acquisitions of Smarts and nLayers with its SRM application. Cisco methods Inc., IBM, Symantec Corp. and CA Inc. all have a wide array of network and storage management products. BMC software Inc. last month partnered with startup Onaro Inc. to integrate storage trade management capabilities into its IT functions management portfolio.
"HP sees the reference to storage and the network," Hubbert mentioned. "They recognise, if I actually have purposes, i would like storage devices as a result of I actually have facts. I feel their competitors are additionally realizing the delineation between components, akin to storage and network purposes are all beginning to turn up. The key is placing the functions on top of the components, so as a substitute of managing the community and applications, we're managing and provisioning a provider."
The last installment of a 3-half series on storage resource administration takes an in-depth examine one of the vital leading providers/products, in response to fingers-on adventure.by means of John Echaniz
Having examined the storage aid administration (SRM) market in time-honored, this article makes a speciality of probably the most main items within the house and what differentiates them from their rivals. there are lots of items that operate portions of SRM-related performance (e.g., Akorri’s center of attention on performance, Onaro’s focus on alternate administration and root-trigger evaluation, etc.), however for the functions of this text, insurance became limited to greater gamers in the market that present end-to-end packaged solutions.EMC ControlCenter
Of all of the SRM applications available nowadays, none is more firmly established than EMC ControlCenter (ECC). mostly due to the incidence of EMC’s hardware, ECC has been the market-share chief considering the fact that SRM equipment begun to pop up on the storage administration panorama. It continues to guide the pack today, regardless of growing to be challenges from steadily maturing competitors.
ControlCenter became firstly developed to help storage management operations simplest on EMC hardware; EMC concentrated its development efforts on deep support of its personal apparatus first, with certain emphasis on Symmetrix arrays. as the market started to demand multi-dealer help, construction focus shifted to expand ECC’s management reach, whereas carrying on with to consolidate further and further advanced EMC storage administration capabilities in the utility’s GUI.
however nearly all of SRM valued clientele do not rely on SRM GUIs for provisioning activities, ECC users are the definitely to make use of this performance, because it is awfully sound, chiefly on native EMC hardware. cloth management facets are easy, and most EMC-primarily based replication services are included into the product in a way that users-after they are proficient-can handle for commonplace local and far off copy techniques. ECC’s help of host working methods, mainframes, Fibre Channel switches, and arrays is expansive, and the infrastructure used to run these operations scales to extremely significant environments.
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ECC’s reporting module, StorageScope, extracts a wealth of information from ECC it is simply attainable and customizable via a web browser for pre-canned and some consumer-specific reporting. The records that resides inside ControlCenter’s repository is also obtainable through an SQL client and API, which opens the door for additional facts use and customization for greater-advanced companies. additionally, besides the fact that children now not yet incorporated into the reporting interface, it is possible to set thresholds and document on key performance warning signs, akin to disk utilization, cache usage, and port throughput. The 6.0 release of ECC, released this summer season, more desirable the seem to be and suppose of StorageScope and integrated the previously separate File level Reporter functionality. in this product release, StorageScope can have its own Oracle-based repository for less difficult integration and greater efficiency.
EMC’s acquisition of VMware and VMware’s established market success have pushed ECC’s aid of VMware situations in the product’s 6.0 free up. during this free up, ESX servers will also be totally found out, featuring views of all the virtualized guest hosts within them. whereas storage virtualization is not absolutely supported, ECC is able to discover Hitachi data methods’ USP arrays. although, the assist for these programs is limited to basic array discovery and reporting, and since ECC isn't mindful that the array is in fact virtualized, there nevertheless is still the possibility of inaccurate potential reporting if each the USP array and the virtualized arrays in the back of it are found out.
ECC’s general depth of functionality comes with a few drawbacks. To preserve its strong aspects as a SAN grows, ECC may also require many servers to address the agent site visitors, as neatly because the multiplied number of objects comprising the storage infrastructure. Add to this the need for greater servers to assist heterogeneous arrays, and an ECC administration infrastructure can start to sprawl. Like most SRM equipment, ECC setting up is frequently carried out through dealer services, but in bigger environments, ongoing ECC management also will require full-time attention to preserve the application performing smartly. for this reason, EMC regularly sells features around ECC administration; ControlCenter is most a good option to a consumer when it is managed by using someone with giant product skills.
while the product’s heterogeneous reach is enhancing, multi-seller disk array, NAS, and tape machine assist continue to be ECC’s primary weaknesses. specifically, help for community equipment’s systems is a significant blind spot, primarily given NetApp’s primacy within the NAS house. HDS and IBM array help is restricted to little more than primary discovery and operation with the latest liberate. With the nearer adherence to SMI-S standardization in ECC 6.0 (and with the maturation of SMI-S itself), discovery and help of arrays from companies similar to IBM and HDS will enrich gradually. That stated, for retailers the place EMC hardware is well-known, ControlCenter remains an effective option for storage management.HDS HiCommand Storage functions supervisor
To address its personal SRM performance wants, Hitachi records programs all started re-branding and promoting the AppIQ StorageAuthority Suite in 2004. With Hewlett-Packard’s acquisition of AppIQ in 2005, this utility kit became the standard SRM device for HDS storage environments. it is now offered via HDS (HiCommand Storage services supervisor, or HSSM), HP (Storage necessities), and sun (sun/StorageTek Operations manager), and additionally through vendors comparable to Engenio and SGI. every vendor has its own packaging nuances, but the underlying product is a similar.
on account of its unbiased origins, HSSM changed into greater prepared for multi-dealer storage environments than a few of its opponents. Array support started with the most frequent carriers and fashions and increased to enrich App-IQ OEM companions. The utility’s host, swap, and array help base is monstrous, and on the total, HSSM is not problematic to configure. In specific, HSSM’s help for NetApp contraptions is impressive; although clients cannot actively control NetApp filers from HSSM, the console gives wide configuration and utilization records, down to minute particulars.
HSSM’s all-in-one server setup makes for a relatively painless configuration adventure. The console is run totally via a browser, so no client install is required throughout a distributed consumer base.
The facet of HSSM most liked by its users is the GUI. neatly-equipped and intuitive, the person interface is logically assembled and is able to address massive quantities of facts in a way it is easy to traverse. mainly, the product’s topology views are very positive in tracking part connectivity devoid of overwhelming the administrator.
HSSM additionally gives optional points for managing and monitoring particular applications, corresponding to Microsoft alternate and a whole lot of databases. clients can gain beneficial perception into the efficiency qualities of these applications and the accessories at the back of them. This can also be accomplished through extra gadget configuration, without further brokers.
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regardless of these advantages, HSSM has some challenges to overcome. primary amongst these is the scaling issue offered by means of the all-in-one server infrastructure, which inherently limits the breadth that an setting up can accommodate. A connected subject is the time it takes the application to function aspect discovery across a large installed base. Many operations are elegant on this discovery procedure, so such delays can affect clients if the invention system runs into hours of company operation.
The facts made available through full discoveries is quite beneficial, however the host-discovery technique can be arduous in some environments. for example, for full host discovery, administrators ought to set up the CIM extension on each and every host and provide the host’s IP address, person identify, and password to the HSSM server. On accurate of that, home windows hosts require an further proxy device. Some clients have opted to forego comprehensive host discovery as a result of this manner.
HSSM’s reporting component provides strong storage ambiance statistics, from excessive-stage usage summaries to precise element configurations. These reporting capabilities, although, require a daily facts refresh, that could often be time- and processor-intensive.
The reporting element, peculiarly the customized reporting capability, is the product’s one interface component that isn't very handy to use and navigate.
although it is the SRM fabricated from alternative for HDS storage environments, there are extraordinary practical omissions in HSSM involving HDS hardware. as an instance, HDS’s local and far flung replication operations (ShadowImage and TrueCopy) aren't available from the HSSM GUI. also, HSSM does not entirely assist HDS’s array-based storage virtualization answer; it isn't at present capable of handle the invention of a TagmaStore array and the arrays it virtualizes without double-counting the storage. Tighter integration with HDS’s storage virtualization functionality would support both options (HSSM and Tagma-keep) achieve more suitable market adoption. as it stands, HSSM does deliver a extremely effective and practical device to view, manage, and record on a storage network from conclusion to end, and further market adoption will assist HDS force enhancements to meet customer needs.IBM TotalStorage productiveness center
IBM’s TotalStorage productivity middle (TPC) is a modular strategy to SRM including TPC for Disk, textile, facts, and Replication, every of which was a separate Tivoli product in prior generations of the application. These elements had been built-in into a consolidated DB2 database and GUI front-end. Like HSSM, TPC depends on the SMI-S usual for heterogeneous machine aid and communique and as such gives a wide latitude of array, swap, and host insurance.
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numerous utility vendors have demonstrated that field use will force product advancements. If a becoming client base makes use of a product actively, the product is greater likely to improve through feature requests and universal feedback. IBM has accurately dependent TPC for Disk as a replacement for ESS expert-the tool prior to now used to video display efficiency on IBM’s older Shark arrays. This decision on my own brought about a significant increase in TPC utilization. IBM is now additionally including the “constrained” version of TPC with income of its DS line of disk arrays. With TPC components already installed within the records center, it becomes significantly more convenient for clients to discover other accessories of the product and sooner or later increase their usage of it.
TPC is geared toward IBM hardware, while presenting simple performance for different vendors’ apparatus, which is to be expected of items that depend on the SMI-S general. TPC for Replication offers huge aid for IBM’s local and far off replication operations (FlashCopy and Metro replicate). while these capabilities do not yet prolong to non-IBM arrays, the performance offered through the GUI is deep and complete. TPC’s help of NetApp hardware (which IBM re-manufacturers) is also very good, presenting effective perception into filer utilization and quota levels, and even file-level information.
users have discovered the TPC GUI intuitive and simple to make use of. even though it isn't as slick as some of its opponents, it is comparatively essential to use; most directors never crack open the clients’ manual beyond initial deploy because the tree-view design is conducive to exploration. The topology viewer comes with a handy formulation for innovative drilldown, enabling users to “pin” definite levels of display while holding their normal context. in this method, the screen can deal with a large number of accessories with out fitting overwhelming to the consumer.
yet another great distinction for TPC is its aid for IBM’s storage virtualization solution, the SAN quantity Controller (SVC). although it best supports the IBM virtualization answer at the moment, TPC is the handiest SRM tool out there that may manage, monitor, and report on storage virtualization, with visibility into the SVC’s inner workings. TPC is able to computer screen traffic in the course of the SVC’s nodes, which become in the past a major blind spot for efficiency troubleshooting in a virtualized storage environment. Going ahead, IBM will do well to provide improved visibility into digital-disk to managed-disk relationships to facilitate more-huge troubleshooting. TPC’s summer season release (version 3.three) delivered change administration performance to the product within the kind of wizards that help users plan and execute configuration changes and music their background. It also brought performance for examining SAN configurations against customizable gold standard-follow policies. With these advances, TPC looks to be extending its attain into the exchange management area the place vendors comparable to Onaro have found success.
Like its rivals’ items, TPC’s products even have some shortcomings. The product ships with literally a whole bunch of canned stories that cover a wide spectrum of information in regards to the storage business. That said, superior users who want to extract and manipulate the reporting facts could have a tricky time digging into the underlying information; the database is open, however no longer naturally documented, which inhibits its use.
TPC agents introduce some drawbacks as neatly. These brokers will also be pushed remotely, however not “silently;” guide interaction is required for each and every faraway agent setting up. here is improved than desiring to make a physical discuss with to each server, however the capacity to automate the agent push would make the average agent rollout system simpler. TPC brokers require a few more firewall ports to be opened than its rivals, which may serve as a major impediment in environments with stricter firewall rules.
finally, the material brokers required by TPC for cloth require undue proliferation. For appropriate switch administration through TPC, a cloth agent need to run on at the least one host related without delay to each and every change the consumer desires to manage, and fundamental redundancy rules call for two brokers deployed per switch. improving upon this circumstance will motivate greater clients to undertake TPC for fabric as the swap administration tool of choice, but unless then clients will proceed to depend on native change management tools.
The consumer community for the whole TPC suite is still pretty restricted in dimension, despite the product’s turning out to be popularity. TPC for Disk is by a long way probably the most common a part of the suite, since it is essentially the most automatically effective element to storage managers. TPC for fabric, facts, and Replication stay fantastically flippantly utilized in assessment, but as storage managers become more everyday with the product’s benefits, the TPC suite will become more commonly adopted.Symantec CommandCentral Storage
in comparison to its primary rivals, Symantec is at an inherent drawback when it's jockeying for place within the SRM space. where other carriers have bundling alternatives for their storage administration equipment in hardware offers, Symantec must count essentially on the comparative advantages of its SRM tool, CommandCentral Storage (CCS). valued clientele regularly use array purchases as negotiating leverage when they are due to the fact array management software, and supplier-provided SRM equipment are constantly greater feature-wealthy when managing their carriers’ personal hardware. These two market components have labored in opposition t Symantec, but the CCS building group has been capable of differentiate its product in an more and more crowded market.
CommandCentral Storage makes use of a mix of SMI-S and supplier APIs to obtain huge part help while featuring functional depth throughout a wide variety of hardware. for instance, CCS makes use of the EMC Clariion API to provide advanced LUN binding functionality on Clariion arrays, where some of the other products are greater functionally constrained. Even in environments the place CCS is used day by day, it is not ordinary for storage provisioning; that stated, the product’s designers deliberate for it neatly by taking the hybrid strategy to multi-vendor assist.
One big energy of CCS is its consolidated use of brokers. the place different SRM items have a wide variety of agents used to manage different types of add-ons in a storage infrastructure, CCS relies on one installable agent this is configurable to control a lot of diverse accessories. The equal agent- set up kit is used to manage hosts, arrays, switches, and particular functions all the way through an atmosphere. This makes ambiance tuning considerably less demanding: directors can configure distinctive assortment add-ons (i.e., “explorers”) as an ambiance grows, with out the should install further applications.
CCS has additionally differentiated itself throughout the skill to push brokers to servers across an ambiance. notably in shops where servers have a consistent preservation login and password, CCS’s Agent Push Utility can load agents on multiple containers through batch jobs that require no guide intervention. Symantec may further prolong its advantage in this enviornment through constructing greater automation across the prerequisite-checking procedure. Host qualification nonetheless takes considerable time and effort, which slows down the basic deployment manner significantly.
Database visibility within CCS is peculiarly valuable for storage managers and DBAs alike. once the base agent is configured to compile database suggestions, CCS offers a consolidated view of databases across an information center, together with edition tips and tablespace utilization. CCS is capable of reveal the complete facts course, which is terribly constructive when troubleshooting.
CCS has also taken competencies of Symantec’s market share in the clustering and server quantity management space. The utility has amazing visibility into cluster utilization-another big advantage in the SRM market-and offers identical perception into Veritas volume manager and File device configurations. With the prevalence of the Symantec Storage groundwork suite in the Unix world, in all probability Symantec will catch on this position in the future by using bundling CCS agents with Storage foundation. Such product convergence might help CCS profit considerable market share via disposing of some of the basic impediments to SRM adoption.
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Symantec has included the acquisition of Invio into the CCS combine within the form of Veritas procedure Automation manager, a workflow engine supposed to drive collaborative tasks akin to storage provisioning via a standardized, auditable method. it is a features-intensive effort to design and put into effect and has no longer yet been used widely; that talked about, this module has the abilities to carry some order to chaotic storage environments, so it will be value tracking how the SRM market reacts to this supplemental CCS providing going ahead.
As mentioned in the past, Symantec has some disadvantages when it's competing with SRM products from storage hardware carriers. These negative aspects have stored the CCS market share noticeably small compared to SRM items from vendors such as IBM, HP, HDS, and EMC. as a result of this smaller consumer base, there had been fewer opportunities for CCS to be actually challenged with container use, which capacity its general product stability may also lag in the back of the different products. SRM equipment interact with such distinctive and a lot of add-ons that companies cannot hope to check every aggregate of part, driver, and firmware on any gigantic scale. steady field comments is absolutely important for SRM device success.
CCS has experienced some performance considerations in larger environments. In shops with server counts in the heaps, the managed object count may grow to a degree where CCS’s GUI response times lag drastically. When this occurs, CCS may come upon element responsiveness complications, that allows you to necessitate further guide intervention to hold atmosphere information current. How- ever, this summer time’s release of CCS 5.0 provides a few improvements during this area; as an example, the brand new server architecture more suitable the product’s database usage, lowering its reliance on reminiscence. The 5.0 unencumber also contains tunable aspect discovery, for you to enable “delta” processing as opposed to full statistics pulls, which in flip, will make atmosphere discovery more-productive. These enhancements should alleviate many, if not all, of the efficiency challenges in the four.three edition of CCS.
CCS has additionally had some challenges with reporting. One formulation for mitigating efficiency complications in bigger environments is to break out ambiance administration into diverse CCS servers. world rollup of CCS statistics was meant to be completed by its data Rollup Utility (DRU), but this system changed into at first intended for backup reporting and experienced scaling and stability problems on the storage facet.
The 5.0 unencumber will abandon the DRU process in choose of enterprise Reporter, a Cognos-based reporting equipment that will permit for simpler record customization, and international rollup of CCS circumstances for reporting applications.
Canned stories in CCS are fairly confined, but useful. once more, in higher shops, facts growth within the 4.three version can develop into too a whole lot for CCS to tackle, particularly when working intensive experiences equivalent to trended utilization. CCS additionally comes with a separately installable statistics Module, which can be used for file-level reporting. This produces helpful perception into growing old data, and distinct file copies, nevertheless it should be used sparingly as a result of the data boom it could produce. The aforementioned enhancements in 5.0 will additionally boost the reporting efficiency via stronger use of the CCS database.
On the total, Symantec CommandCentral Storage has many advantages, besides the fact that children to date it has suffered from lack of common use. although, because the product’s user base grows, and as Symantec establishes tighter integration with its different products, CCS may be ready to make huge leaps forward within the SRM area.Conclusion
during the last several years, SRM equipment have matured regularly and have viewed greater widespread use and adoption.they're increasingly considered to be a common a part of fundamental storage revenue and are being used as key elements of information centralization and management. ultimately, the cost of SRM items need to lie in IT funds discounts; the extra these tools allow IT shops to do greater with much less-to manipulate, record, plan, and troubleshoot with ease-the extra these products can be integrated into average operations.
For SRM to in reality fulfill its trade promise, these tools have to build on the development they’ve made over the last few years. among the many more pressing challenges, they must contain deeper, greater-meaningful pass-seller assist and seamless world aggregation, and that they should increase of their capability to automate storage operations in the event that they will ever profit acceptance by means of veteran storage administrators. beyond these challenges, as SRM matures further to overcome archive management, backup integration, and records deduplication administration- subsequently delving into the information itself-SRM will truly be capable to give that long-promised single standpoint through which the storage world may also be managed.
elements 1 and a pair of of this series of articles regarded in June 2007 and July 2007, on pages 31 and 33, respectively.
John Echaniz is director of client solutions on the NovusCG (www.novuscg.com). NovusCG’s Justin Schnauder, technologist, and David Askew, client expertise government, additionally contributed to this text.consultant SRM carriers
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In-Depth2010 Redmond Magazine Readers Choice Awards
After the Triple Crown in 2008 and the Grand Slam in 2009, Redmond introduces another level of prestige for exceptional Readers Choice winners: the Five-Star Award.The Triple Crown wasn't enough. Neither was the Grand Slam. Some products so dominate the Readers Choice Awards year in and year out that they deserve their own elite status, their own mark of excellence. They deserve five stars.
This year, Redmond is expanding its Readers Choice Awards designations once again to honor products that have achieved a half-decade of dominance in their respective categories. The Five-Star Award is reserved for offerings that repeatedly earn the respect and admiration of readers. In order to win a Five-Star Award, a product must win a category for five consecutive years.
In years past, we awarded Triple Crowns and Grand Slams only to outright category winners. This year, though, we've expanded those awards, along with the Five-Star Award, to include ISV Winners. An ISV Winner is the highest-placing non-Microsoft product in a category won by a Microsoft offering. (An ISV product that wins outright is simply a winner and is not labeled as an ISV Winner.)
Microsoft so dominates the Readers Choice Awards that we're seeking to honor those products and vendors that don't have the built-in advantage of coming out of the big campus in the Pacific Northwest. So, there are Five-Star Award winners that lost to Microsoft in their respective categories but still took home the big prize. And in one category, there are even two Five-Star winners.
It's not easy to win a category five years in a row, even as an ISV Winner. But these products, like legendary generals and the world's greatest hotels, are in a stratosphere all their own.
NETWORK AND SYSTEMS MANAGEMENTBest Network Management Product 39 products in categoryCisco Systems LAN Management Solution, 13 percent, WinnerSolarWinds Network Management Software, 12.3 percent, Preferred ProductMicrosoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), 8.4 percent, Preferred Product
Cisco Systems LAN Management leapfrogged SolarWinds for the win, as SolarWinds earned a second consecutive Preferred Product honor. But perhaps the biggest surprise was Microsoft SCOM, last year's winner, dropping all the way to third place and Preferred Product status.
Best Application Management Product43 products in categoryMicrosoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), 16 percent, WinnerCitrix XenApp, 11 percent, ISV Winner and Preferred Product Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, 9.3 percent, Preferred Product
It's a second win in a row for Microsoft SCOM, which entered the survey for the first time last year and promptly won the category. Citrix XenApp knocked out Novell ZenWorks as ISV Winner, while another Microsoft product was the final honoree.
Best Performance Management Product35 products in categorySolarWinds Orion Network Performance Manager, 11.7 percent, WinnerMicrosoft System Center Operations Manager, 10 percent, Preferred ProductMicrosoft System Center Essentials, 8.6 percent, Preferred Product
Finally, SolarWinds topples SCOM from the top rank in the Performance Management category. SCOM won a Grand Slam -- four consecutive category wins -- last year, but failed to get five stars as Orion Network Performance Manager just beat the Microsoft product to the tape this year. System Center Essentials checks in as a Preferred Product.
Best General Network Monitoring Tool60 products in categoryCisco System Syslog Analyzer, 12.8 percent, Winner, Five-Star AwardMicrosoft System Center Configuration Manager, 10.7 percent, Preferred ProductHP OpenView Operations for Windows, 8.9 percent, Preferred Product
Once again, Cisco Syslog Analyzer takes this category over a Microsoft product, but this time's it's SCCM, rather than SCOM, jumping into second place. Syslog Analyzer has been either winner or ISV Winner of this category three years running, so it earns a Five-Star Award honor. HP OpenView Operations for Windows offering finished strong again this year in the Preferred Product category.
Best Interoperability Product9 products in categoryMicrosoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, 50.9 percent, WinnerMcAfee ePolicy Orchestrator, 18.3 percent, Preferred Product and ISV WinnerMKS Toolkit, 7.7 percent, Preferred ProductQuest Authentication Services, 7.7 percent, Preferred ProductVeeam nworks Management Pack for VMware for SCOM, 7.7 percent, Preferred Product
SCVMM devoured this category in 2010 just as it did in 2009. It'll be up for a Triple Crown in 2011. McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator finished strong and repeated as ISV Winner, but the real story here is a tie for third among three products in a nine-product category. MKS Toolkit, which won a Triple Crown in 2008, slipped into a dead heat this year with Quest Authentication Services and a product from Veeam Software.
Best Bandwidth/Traffic Monitoring Product10 products in categoryBarracuda Web Filter, 24.6 percent, WinnerCitrix Branch Repeater, 17.3 percent, Preferred ProductLightspeed Systems Total Traffic Control, 14.7 percent, Preferred ProductScriptLogic Perspective, 12.6 percent, Preferred Product
One-time Triple Crown candidate Lightspeed Systems Total Traffic Control takes Preferred Product status once again, but it's Barracuda Web Filter that wins for the second year in a row. Citrix Systems Inc. and ScriptLogic Corp. also had strong finishes in this category.
Best Web Usage Monitor18 products in categoryWebsense Enterprise, 20.3 percent, Winner, Five-Star AwardBarracuda Web Application Firewall, 10 percent, Preferred ProductBarracuda Web Filter, 9 percent, Preferred ProductGFI Web Monitor, 8.5 percent, Preferred Product
Websense Enterprise won this category for the fifth consecutive time and earned a Five-Star Award. Barracuda Networks had another good showing here, and GFI Software cracked the Preferred Product list with Web Monitor.
Best Asset Management/Resource Inventory Product26 products in categoryMicrosoft System Center Configuration Manager, 20.8 percent, WinnerMicrosoft System Center Essentials, 16.8 percent, Preferred ProductNovell Asset Manager, 6.6 percent, Preferred Product and ISV WinnerScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 5.5 percent, Preferred ProductSymantec Altiris Service and Asset Management Suite, 5.5 percent, Preferred Product
SCCM wins this category for the second year in a row; System Center Essentials takes second place. Novell Asset Manager just beat out products from ScriptLogic and Symantec Corp. to repeat as ISV Winner in this category. It'll be up for a Triple Crown in 2011.
Best License Management Product11 products in categoryMicrosoft System Center Configuration Manager, 30 percent, Winner, Five-Star AwardMicrosoft Systems Management Server, 23.8 percent, Preferred ProductScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 12.3 percent, Preferred Product, ISV WinnerSymantec Total Management Suite, 10.9 percent, Preferred Product
Results in this category remained mostly unchanged from 2009, except that Systems Management Server siphoned off some votes from SCCM, which nevertheless won the category easily and scored a Five-Star Award. ScriptLogic and Symantec easily finished at the top ISV entries; as ISV Winner two years running, ScriptLogic will be up for a Triple Crown in 2011.
Best Compliance Tool44 products in categoryMicrosoft System Center Configuration Manager, 24.6 percent, WinnerScriptLogic File System Auditor, 8.6 percent, Preferred Product, ISV WinnerSymantec Control Compliance Suite, 4.6 percent, Preferred ProductMcAfee Vulnerability Manager, 4.3 percent, Preferred Product
That's two wins on the trot for SCCM, which takes the highly competitive Compliance category by a comfortable margin. ScriptLogic File System Auditor checks in as ISV Winner, bumping out McAfee Vulnerability Manager. Symantec rounded out the Preferred Product honors.
Best Non-Microsoft Browser5 products in categoryMozilla Firefox, 60.1 percent, Winner, Five-Star AwardGoogle Chrome, 27.8 percent, Preferred Product
Look out! Firefox, Winner of a Five-Star Award, might still be the toast of the non-Internet Explorer crowd, but Google Chrome -- which garnered just 14.4 percent of votes last year -- made a major move in 2010. Safari finished a very distant third, and Netscape Navigator actually beat out Opera to avoid last place.
Best SQL Tool37 products in categoryScriptLogic Security Explorer for SQL Server, 18.3 percent, WinnerSql Power Tools Zero Impact Enterprise Monitor, 10.7 percent, Preferred ProductQuest Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise, 8 percent Preferred ProductThe second-place finisher in 2008, ScriptLogic Security Explorer for SQL Server is now a two-time winner and will be up for a Triple Crown next year. Quest Software Inc. and Sql Power Tools Inc. swapped spots for 2010, but still beat out the competition to achieve Preferred Product status.
INSTALLATION AND DEPLOYMENTBest Software Distribution Product19 products in categoryMicrosoft System Center Configuration Manager, 26.8 percent, Winner, Five-Star AwardMicrosoft Systems Management Server, 17.5 percent, Preferred ProductMicrosoft System Center Essentials, 12.9 percent, Preferred ProductSymantec Deployment Solution, 10.1 percent, Preferred Product, ISV WinnerScriptLogic Desktop Authority, 8 percent, Preferred Product
Clearly, Microsoft has a handle on the Software Distribution category, at least among our readers -- which should come as little surprise in a publication that is, after all, called Redmond magazine. Symantec and ScriptLogic earned Preferred Product honors, but nothing could touch SCCM, which won this category easily and picked up a Five-Star Award. As an ISV Winner two times running, Symantec Deployment Solution will be up for a Triple Crown next year.
How much does your storage actually cost? This question has vexed IT departments and storage managers for deca...
Most IT departments budget storage purchases based on the needs (and desperation) of various application users. So if a capacity planning tool projects that the Oracle database will grow another 500 GB in the coming year, IT budgets the necessary storage purchases. In other cases, additional storage is purchased only on an emergency basis, such as if an application performance problem appears.
But these outdated paradigms overlook the business value of storage to the enterprise. Users demand unlimited storage growth and peak performance for all of their data because they're not the ones footing the bill.
The emergence of chargeback storage techniques is rectifying this problem. With chargeback storage tools, IT departments can assign real values to the storage assets that are actually being used by applications and departments. This allows IT to not only identify the true costs of storage but possibly recover them, as well.
Chargeback storage: More than an accounting tool
Contrary to what chargeback storage implies, it isn't just an accounting or billing tool. Chargeback storage is part of a management process -- a means of applying realistic values (or costs) to all the storage assets in a company, then tracking the utilization of those assets by application or department. IT departments use chargeback data to recover storage costs from application or departmental users, as well as (often in conjunction with capacity planning) to budget for the future.
"There's a big disconnect between actually charging and using [chargeback storage] as an elevated form of storage resource management or storage resource reporting," says Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at the StorageIO Group.
While some storage resource management (SRM) tools offer basic chargeback storage features, vendors of standalone chargeback products emphasize reporting and billing capabilities. Most chargeback products can track which storage resources are being used, along with the department or application using the storage, then assign a value or cost to the resources. The same model works with other resources in the enterprise in addition to storage capacity, including charging for CPU time, network access and storage performance, e.g. service level agreements (SLA).
"Even if you're not going to charge [recover costs] for storage, if you need to plan, manage or monitor how you're doing, you need to be able to account and report on storage," Schulz says. "Ironically, SRM tools are a step in that direction." Real utilization data from the chargeback tool can be compared to utilization estimates to see how the department, application or overall organization is performing against forecasts.
Heterogeneity is a requirement for chargeback storage tools. A chargeback model based simply on the amount of storage used has no real bearing on the level of service being delivered or paid for. Consequently, the notion of performance plays a role in chargeback costing. Unless you're operating in a single-vendor environment, heterogeneity in the chargeback tool is needed to collect information and gauge performance across the many storage types, interfaces and applications in an organization.
Determining the true cost of storage
While the concept of chargeback storage is simple, the correct use of chargeback storage relies on realistic costing for each storage tier and system. In short, you have to establish the appropriate costs before you can charge those costs back to a user. This quantum leap is what often poses the biggest roadblock to deployment.
Many IT organizations simply guess at costs or else assign costs across the business arbitrarily. "The criteria that's used for the allocation typically involves the number of people that are in each business unit, or maybe it's the percentage of revenues contributed," says Mike Hogan, director of services development at GlassHouse Technologies Inc. "It has nothing to do with the consumption of IT services."
While no single formula is used to set costs, the three principal cost factors are technology, process and people. Technology costing involves the storage itself, starting with an evaluation of each service level needed in the organization. There may be multiple service levels that mix storage systems with data protection schemes to establish a "menu" of services. For example, service level one may provide Tier 1 storage with a recovery point objective (RPO) of one hour, while service level two may use the same Tier 1 storage with an RPO of 24 hours. In such a case, level one would require more aggressive data protection, e.g. continuous data protection (CDP), and would be far costlier per gigabyte or other "unit" of storage.
But costing should also take into account the process and the people needed to implement and support each service level. Processes may include the staff time needed to partition, back up, recover and maintain each service level. Since it's easy to determine such staff costs, it's a simple matter to shift labor costs to each corresponding service level.
For example, 40% of the total staff cost may be assigned to service level one, 25% may be assigned to level two and 15% may be assigned to level three, leaving the remaining 20% free to handle lower levels or other tasks. There may be other costs, but ultimately the storage administrator can arrive at a "unit cost" for each service level. Now, those costs can be plugged into a chargeback tool and allocated to users based on real usage.
Total storage utilization also plays a role in consumption-based cost allocation. "The other thing I have to factor into that unit cost is the cost of unallocated capacity," Hogan says, noting that unallocated storage adds the cost of inefficiency to the unit storage costs being passed back to the business. This is why increasing the utilization of a service level actually drive downs storage costs. Hogan underscores the importance of accurate costing, even if you're not ready to implement chargeback technologies soon. "It still makes total sense to take this approach and get to unit-based costing and management because now I can influence how my customers are consuming. It's an indirect way to drive out costs now."
Deploying chargeback tools
Chargeback tools consist of several elements that must be deployed and configured. The core data collection and reporting tool requires installation on a server, whether it's a dedicated appliance or a server set aside for storage/system management, or a virtual server carved from a physical server. Chargeback systems also require data collectors (agents) installed on various storage systems. The agents collect information about storage utilization and service levels. The collected data is then stored in a repository -- some amount of storage set aside for the chargeback system. The chargeback tool accesses the repository, performs analytics and deposits the results back to the repository. In time they are delivered to IT.
As with any agent-based system, there are concerns about processing and network overhead. Ideally, a chargeback system's agents and analytics should introduce little performance penalty to the network, but chargeback agents need to coexist along with other tools vying for network time. It's common to see the server group, network group and storage group all deploying agents and gathering information from across the infrastructure to determine utilization and performance. All this activity can hurt performance.
"You might start out with a chargeback focus for storage, but what are your peers doing in other groups?" Schulz asks. "Is there any way to roll some information up?" It may be possible to consolidate some data acquisition to support multiple analytical systems, including chargeback, while maintaining performance.
Software agents also require processing time on each system where they're installed, along with periodic updates, patches and fixes. Intrusive agents can be difficult to maintain and complicated to manage. "If the benefit of putting that agent on a system is outweighed by the complexity to manage it, then agents probably aren't a good thing," Schulz says, noting that it may be acceptable to place agents onto key systems only, rather than all systems. This also ties into the biggest oversight in chargeback storage deployment, which is excessive complexity -- implementing features and functionality that aren't needed. For example, agents may not be needed to accommodate a basic level of chargeback reporting if that's all that's really needed.
Chargeback tools counter unrealistic user demands
At National Medical Health Card Systems (NMHC) Inc., an independent pharmacy benefit manager, the storage infrastructure supports pharmacy card benefits processing, copayment information, drug eligibility data, pharmacy payment details and drug utilization interaction reporting. About 90 TB of total storage is spread across three storage tiers, including 40 TB on two Hewlett-Packard XP24000 enterprise arrays, 20 TB on two HP EVA8000 midlevel arrays and 25 TB distributed among three AS400 servers.
All this storage had evolved into a ubiquitous utility that users often undervalued. As such, user demands had become a serious problem, resulting in costly, long-term storage requests that didn't make much sense for the organization. "The user community always thinks that there's enough storage out there in the company, and they can keep saving stuff forever," says Babu Kudaravalli, senior director of operations, business technology services at NMHC. In addition to longer retention demands, Kudaravalli points to increasing file sizes and repetitious file storage as major storage drains.
The challenge for Kudaravalli was to rein in unrealistic storage requests, while maintaining adequate (and cost-effective) capacity and performance. The company's initial response was to implement storage quotas, such as limiting the size of Exchange mailboxes. But this solution offered mixed results because of the many exceptions required.
So Kudaravalli turned to the chargeback features in HP's Storage Essentials SRM software already in use in the NMHC data center. By applying realistic costs to each disk partition, (LUN) and tracking utilization by department, Kudaravalli was finally able to attach a meaningful cost to each department's storage use.
"When you are aware of the cost, people make more sensible decisions," Kudaravalli says. While NMHC does not actually recover costs from users, the "cost awareness" initiative has impacted department heads, and he has seen new storage requests significantly curtailed.
Although early versions of HP's chargeback module proved time consuming to load and difficult to set up, recent updates to the software have chargeback features far easier to implement, Kudaravalli says. Chargeback tracking in HP StorageEssentials is limited to each disk partition, so it's impossible to subdivide the partition between multiple users -- a possible disadvantage in some situations. However, the chargeback module does support tiered storage, allowing NMHC to offer users real-cost comparisons between service levels. "Sometimes we can justify an application on Tier 1 storage, even though it costs much more than Tier 2 based on service levels," he says. "If I move an application from A to B, 'this' is the reduction in cost." Ideally, he'd like to see a more detailed cost analysis broken down by file type.
Although there were no formal return on investment (ROI) calculations applied to the adoption of chargeback storage, Kudaravalli notes that the cost savings in moving just 10 TB from Tier 1 to Tier 2 has paid for the chargeback tool in under a year. By analyzing file types and access patterns, NMHC is revisiting quota limits on common storage applications, like email and migrating large amounts of infrequently accessed data to Tier 3 archives. "By distributing the data to three different platforms, we've actually minimized a single point of failure," he says. "We've spread the risk from one storage system to three."
The countdown to Christmas is on, and post-holiday sales will soon follow. With a whole new generation of Windows 8 PCs now in the wings, and more smartphone and tablets always arising, now could be a good time to hold off on buying a brand new device (either as a gift or for yourself), in favor of updating an existing model with sharp new accessories.
Here are 25 suggestions for useful and/or entertaining add-ons, including eight accessories each for PCs, smartphones and iPads and other tablets, plus an overall winner which can work across multiple devices that probably dwell somewhere inside your household.
Just to name three of them, the products range from Seagate’s FreeAgent GoFlex external PC hard drive (HD) to GoGroove’s FlexSMART Univeral Car Mount for mobile devices and a new docking station from ZAGG which works interchangeably with iPads and Android OS tablets.
The tips are drawn from the online pages of NotebookReview and its five sister publications in TechTarget’s TechnologyGuide family of Web sites: DesktopReview, TabletPCReview; DigitalCameraReview, PrinterComparison, and Brighthand, a site specializing in smartphones and other handheld devices.
Read on to find out pricing and other details about these 25 cool add-ons for PCs, smartphones, and tablets.
In today’s economy, it might not make that much sense to get rid of an existing notebook or desktop PC that’s still functioning just fine. With the right add-on accessories, you can give an existing PC a brighter display, an abundance of expanded multimedia file storage, and a wide assortment of other new capabilities. Eight ideas follow.
Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex
With people downloading more videos, music and photos from the Web all the time, Seagate has followed up at 3TB drive introduced last year with the industry’s first 4TB external hard drive. Other features of the next gen hard drive include an illuminated capacity gauge and software for automatic continuous backup.
For all of that high capacity, the FreeAgent GoFlex is rather reasonably list-priced at $299.99. When will we see an even roomier 5TB product entry? Time will tell.
Read more about the product.
Western Digital My Passport
If you’re looking for an external storage drive with a somewhat lower price point and/or a sleeker form factor, The Western Digital My Passport Essential line-up continues to deliver solid performance.
WD’s latest edition adds USB 3.0 to the drive’s earlier 2.0 functionality, for speedier file transfers. Capacity ranges as high as 1TB.
Read more about the product.
HP Compaq LE2202x Essential Display
If you’re ever seen either an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone (and who hasn’t by now?), then you’ve witnessed the brilliance of IPS display technology.
With its Essential Display lineup, HP brings IPS to affordably priced desktop PC displays, at list pricing as low as $179 for the 21.5-inch LE2202x model.
Read more about the product.
Kensington Orbit Trackball
Has the time arrived to replace an aging mouse with a brand new pointer? If so, the Kinsington Orbit Trackball could be the perfect choice.
This wireless trackball mouse has gained earned our recommendation due to its responsiveness, smooth and comfortable build, ease of use, and design. It also helps that Kensington throws in free software and a 5-year limited warranty. The Orbit will work with Microsoft Windows 7, Windows XP, and Vista, in addition to Apple‘s Mac OS PCs.
Read more about the product.
Others are taking more innovative approaches to computing input. Back in September, Swedish firm Prestige International first announced plans to deliver the Penclic Mouse, a new peripheral aimed at bringing together the best aspects of pen and mouse computing in a single gizmo.
Now the Penclic is available for purchase, just in time for the holidays. As its name implies, the Penclic consists of a digital pen attached to a flexible joint, sitting on top of a moveable mouse.
Read more about the product.
Logitech Wireless Touchpad
In anticipation of more gesture-driven Windows 8 computing, Logitech is breaking ground in quite a different way.
The new Logitch Wireless Touchpad lets you scroll through documents and Web pages with the use of two fingers, for example, or swipe with four fingers to switch from one application to the next. Thus far, the touchpad supports Windows 7 PCs.
Read more about the product.
750GB Seagate Momentus XT
Actually, the 750GB Seagate Momentus XT would be better described as an upgrade, as opposed to an add-on, because it’s only available in an internal form factor.
We’re including it here, though, because it represents the latest in a line of “hybrid” drives which promises to deliver ultra-fast application launch times at a fraction of the cost of pure solid state drives (SSDs). Seagate’s second gen hydrid drive produces both more storage and faster performance.
Read more about the product.
Panasonic HDC-SDX1 Camcorder
Since when does a camcorder qualify as a PC add-on device? When the camcorder doubles as a Webcam, that’s when.
The Panasonic HDC-SDX1 Camcorder turns in superior performance as a Webcam, while also functioning well as a light and versatile standalone camcorder. Panasonic has rolled some high-end camcorder features into this entry-level device, list-priced at $500.
Read more about the product.
Some add-on accessories for smartphones are specific to either iPhones or various Android OS models. Others, however, can be used with any phone — and in some cases, with PCs and tablets, too. Keep that in mind as you browse through the following gizmos, which add functionality such as on-the-go battery recharging, in-vehicle use, enhanced music listening and playback, easier text input, and more.
Bluetooth Watch with Caller ID Display
A smartphone doesn’t offer the larger display space of a PC, or even of a tablet. What’s more, it isn’t always convenient to look at a smartphone display, anyway — let’s say, if you’re in a business meeting or riding a bike.
In response, Geek.com offers a Bluetooth display watch with caller ID and controls to let you see who’s calling and decide whether to take a call immediately, let it go to voicemail, or reject it.
Read more about the product.
Motorola Atrix HD Multimedia Dock
Question: How do you give a smartphone the same functionality as a notebook or desktop PC? Answer: You plug it into the Motorola Atrix HD Multimedia Dock.
Motorola’s dock comes with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse desktop set. Yet the sole catch — and it’s a big one — is that the dock only works with Motorola’s Android-enabled Atrix 4G phone.
Read more about the product.
Kensington PowerLift Dock for iPhone
For users of Apple’s iPhone, Kensington produces quite a different type of dock.
The Kensington PowerLift Dock for iPhone incorporates a stand with a small external battery that can do an excellent job of extending the mobile operating life of eithe an iPhone or an iPod.
Read more about the product.
GoGroove FlexSMART Universal Car Mount
Many different car mounts are devised specifically for iPhones, and for various and sundry Android phones. Yet what if you can’t find a car mount for your model, or if you’re less than impressed with what’s available for your phone?
There are lots of “universal” car mounts out there, too, but many aren’t all that great. The GoGroove FlexSMART, on the other hand, is a car mount that features a little of everything anyone might need, starting with an innovative gooseneck connection to the car’s cigarette lighter port, which doubles as its mounting point. Also included are a powered USB port, for charging any device (even those that don’t take a universal microUSB plug); a built-in FM transmitter; a 3.5mm plug; and a backlit digital display.
Read more about the product.
Jawbone ERA Bluetooth Headset
For listening to music and other pursuits, lots of folks use low-end wireless headsets, priced as low as under $20. For those who want to step up the audio, Jawbone’s ERA Bluetooth Headset offers wideband-quality sound, some audio UI capabilities, and even an accelerometer.
Priced at $130, the headset works with any Bluetooth-enabled device, including PCs and tablets along with smartphones
Read more about the product.
ThinkGeek’s TK-421 Case with Flip-Out Keyboard
Some Android OS phones — such as the Motorola Droid 3, for example — still come with hardware keyboards. Yet the iPhone, of course, does not.
For iPhone owners who want to add that feature, ThinkGeek’s TK-421 is a protective case with a swivel-out hard keyboard underneath. List-priced at $49.99, the lightweight gizmo weighs in at only about an ounce-and-a-half.
Read more about the product.
With or without special features such as swivel-out hard keyboards, tons of different protective cases are available for various sorts of smartphones. OtterBox, for instance, offers a range of effective protective solutions for just about any phone model. Even when there are omissions, OtterBox ultimately seems to take care of that.
To cite one example, for a while, the OtterBox line-up did not cover Apple’s latest iPhone model, the 4S. In October, however, OtterBox started to release cases in its Defender, Reflex, and Commuter series which will accommodate both versions of the iPhone 4. Browse though the OtterBox Web site, and you’ll see protective cases specifically tailored to Android OS phones from Dell, LG, HTC….You name it.
Read more about the product.
At first glance, Samsung‘s Galaxy Player looks more like a smartphone than an accessory. In fact, you might even mistake the player for a Galaxy S II phone, since the two devices are similar in appearance except for small differences around screen dimensions. More specifically, the Galaxy Player (shown at left) comes in 4- and 5-inch versions whereas the Galaxy S II phone (pictured above at the start of the Smartphones Accessories section) is available with either a 4.2- or 4.5-inch screen, depending on mobile carrier.
The player, though, is actually specifically designed as a competitor to Apple’s iPod and as a “companion” to Samsung’s Android phone. Some might find toting both types of Samsung gadgets to be a bit cumbersome. However, for anyone downloading large volumes of digital multimedia content, the WiFi-only player can serve very useful purposes for playback and extra storage, particularly when used inside the house.
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Kotego Dot Panoramic Camera Accessory
The iPhone’s camera keeps getting better, due not just to improvements in the camera itself but to a growing number of impressive camera accessories. Take, for example, the new Kotego Dot Panoramic iPhone 4/4S add-on.
You can now can shoot videos of what’s “all around you,” instead of just what’s directly in front of you. The Kotego Dot is a clip-on lens — or as Kotego calls it, a “panoramic viewing accessory” — that lets you shoot 360-degree panoramic video and then share the digital footage via Facebook, Twitter, and Kotego.com.
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ACCESSORIES FOR iPADS & OTHER TABLETS
While iPads and other tablets offer roomier displays than smartphones, these bigger mobile gizmos share similar needs around device protection and battery recharging, Onboard storage can generally use a boost, and alternative input methods can also come in handy. Here are eight products that can increase the functionality of iPads and/or Android tablets.
Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad 2
A stylus can serve as a convenient method on inputting information into a tablet, and it offers greater precision than tapping or gliding your fingers on the touchscreen.
We’ve found the Wacom Bamboo Stylus to be well constructed and extremely useful for day-to-day operating needs. Priced at merely $30, the stylus might work as a great stocking-stuffer for an iPad 2 owner.
Read more about the product.
Seagate GoFlex Satellite Network Drive
The Seagate GoFlex Satellite is a slick device for extending the storage capacity of either an iPad or an Android tablet.
Offering up to five hours of continuous streaming, the Satellite doesn’t require a connection to an outside power source. We’ve found that the satellite works particularly well in movie streaming.
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Western Digital My Book Live
MSRP: $159.99 for 1 TB
The WD My Book Live might not be the simplest thing to set up, but once you get going with it, the expanded storage is practically seamless.
You can easily jump back and forth between browsing the Web and accessing files stored in My Book Live, all without messing with your WiFi settings.
Read more about the product.
Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg
The Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG functions as both a wireless keyboard and protective casing against any bruises, bumps or falls.
Zagg now makes separate models specifically designed for the iPad 2 and for Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, for example.
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For those more interested in style than in a wireless keypad, Morphie sells a wireless protective case offering full access to the iPad 2’s ports and controls, magnetic integration for waking the tablet and putting it to sleep, and the ability to convert to a stand with a wide range of viewing angles.
Priced at $49, the Morphie Workbook is a folio-styled case made from plush-looking synthetic leather.
Read more about the product.
For anyone who owns both an iPad and an Android tablet, the FLEX swings either way — iPad or Android — with just the flick of a switch.
This wireless, rechargeable keyboard from ZAGG is both lightweight and compact, with tactility that will be appreciated by touch typists and thumbers alike.
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AirStash, a product from a company of the same name, is an SD card hub small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It provides up to 32GB of storage per SD card.
Users can also carry and swap out multiple SD cards for even more storage. AitStash also supplies its own WiFi network for data access, plus a free app for iPad users.
Read more about the product.
HELO TC RC Helicopter
After working on your iPad all day, why not have some fun with Griffin’s HELO TC RC Helicopter?
Even when the iPad-driven helicopter started crashing and flying out of control, we had a blast. While a battery life indicator would be greatly appreciated (and perhaps an accompanying orchestra playing Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” when the chopper is airborne), the HELO TC RC Helicopter is still a highly enjoyable gadget.
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And the Overall Winner Is…
HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer
Although the HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer is marketed mainly to the enterprise market, this mobile printer be quite useful to just about anyone who does any work away from the home or office, even if that’s only on get away weekends to the mountains or the lake.
Featuring a long-life lithium ion battery, the compact portable printer outputs up to 500 pages when fully charged.
What’s more, this Windows-driven but Bluetooth-enabled printer is capable of syncing with a variety of devices, including Android, RIM Blackberry, Symbian and Windows Phone mobile gadgets.
Read more about the product.
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