By eWeek Editors  |  Posted 2002-07-08 Print this article Print


The last thing a company wants to do after spending years developing a killer storage box is to tell their competitors how they did it. Open source is a software-only phenomenon, while good hardware gets patented when possible to preserve value.

Beyond the proprietary hardware level, however, open-source technologies are being used to provide added functionality and manageability to appliance solutions.

During the last few years, open-source software has opened the storage appliance world to non-Windows-based alternatives, and eWeek Labs expects this to continue.

The biggest benefit of open source in the storage arena is that the availability of source code gives hardware vendors the flexibility to take unnecessary elements out of the operating system and build key market differentiating capabilities on top of it.

A second major benefit is the lack of license fees associated with open-source components such as the Samba file sharing suite, which provides capabilities comparable to the Windows Appliance Kit without forcing server and client licenses on customers.

Network-attached storage systems based on Linux and BSD operating systems, as well as the Samba file sharing suite, are obvious examples of open source used by storage vendors, but they do not represent the absolute potential of open source in the storage market.

Storage vendors such as FalconStor Inc. and Dot Hill Systems Corp., for example, have built advanced storage virtualization features on top of the Linux kernel to create storage appliances that carve up storage area network resources.

We expect to see more storage management appliances flooding the market, and we will be very surprised if many of them didnt rely on open-source software. —Henry Baltazar


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