Trio Refines Storage Virtualization Tools

By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2005-04-04 Print this article Print

IBM, Network Appliance and Hitachi are pushing storage virtualization to help administrators remedy shrinking capacity and poor utilization rates without increasing the number of storage arrays in their IT environment.

IBM, Network Appliance Inc. and Hitachi Data Systems Corp. are pushing storage virtualization to help administrators remedy shrinking capacity and poor utilization rates without increasing the number of storage arrays in their IT environment.

Improving the reach of its SFS (SAN File System) offering, IBM is revamping the storage virtualization product to automatically move data across various storage pools to and from tape, according to set policies. The redesigned SFS will be available by early next year, said Jens Tiedemann, general manager for storage software at IBM, in Armonk, N.Y.

Adding tape to the mix of SFS will improve ILM (information lifecycle management) by increasing speed and scalability and easing compliance, archiving, and backup and recovery efforts, analysts say.

According to sources, IBM plans to pit its SFS tape functionality against storage rival EMC Corp.s DiskXtender. EMC will introduce an updated version of DiskXtender next quarter, while EMC Storage Router storage virtualization technology will debut this quarter, said EMC officials in Hopkinton, Mass.

Customer Brian Perlstein, IT technical architect for Oakwood Healthcare System, in Dearborn, Mich., said data-volume growth cant be managed solely by adding new storage boxes.

"We were running out of floor space, and we had systems that needed more disks," said Perlstein, who runs IBMs SVC (SAN Volume Controller) virtualization product.

Perlstein used SVC to consolidate and centralize the management of 16TB of storage featuring a document imaging system and several Microsoft Corp. SQL Server databases on IBM Enterprise Storage Server F20, DS4000 and DS4300 boxes. He said disk drive utilization increased some 80 percent.

For its part, NetApp last week announced the availability of the V-Series, its rebranded gFiler product, revamped to leverage NetApps Data OnTap 7G virtualization software. The enhancement enables the V-Series to support tiered storage and third-party storage products from IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc., said Jeff Hornung, vice president of enterprise file services and storage networking for NetApp, in Sunnyvale, Calif.

HDS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., is leveraging the broad demand for NAS (network-attached storage) to drive its storage virtualization-based TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform functionality deep into customer environments.

This week, HDS, in Santa Clara, Calif., will introduce the Hitachi NAS Blade, which supports as much as 512TB per NAS cluster and 2 petabytes of NAS storage per TagmaStore deployment.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.
Brian Fonseca is a senior writer at eWEEK who covers database, data management and storage management software, as well as storage hardware. He works out of eWEEK's Woburn, Mass., office. Prior to joining eWEEK, Brian spent four years at InfoWorld as the publication's security reporter. He also covered services, and systems management. Before becoming an IT journalist, Brian worked as a beat reporter for The Herald News in Fall River, Mass., and cut his teeth in the news business as a sports and news producer for Channel 12-WPRI/Fox 64-WNAC in Providence, RI. Brian holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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