Virtual Storage Still on Horizon

By eweek  |  Posted 2002-02-04
A year since the promises began, storage virtualization is still little more than a blip on the screen, though some vendors are trying to push ahead.

Hitachi Data Systems Corp. will gradually add virtualization through new releases of its HiCommand software, starting with Version 2.0 this week, said Hu Yoshida, chief technology officer of the Santa Clara, Calif., company. Next week, Veritas Software Corp., of Mountain View, Calif., will announce a product based on its ServPoint virtualization software. In addition, Sun Microsystems Inc. this week will announce a virtualization deal with Vicom Systems Inc.

With the exception of one company, Hewlett-Packard Co., virtualization, or the concept of managing numerous storage systems as one pool, has been promised but only delivered in prototypes and beginner functionality. HP bought and integrated Storage-Apps Inc.s products last summer.

EMC Corp., whose CEO and president, Joe Tucci, said last fall that the Hopkinton, Mass., company "will do that in the not-too-distant future," will no longer discuss virtualization plans.

Other vendors said the technologys development has been slowed by shifting priorities away from virtualization to vendor-agnostic storage management software—some of which fulfills some of virtualizations promise—and by the difficulty in developing virtualization products.

"I think a lot of vendors out there figured out it was a lot easier to talk about than to implement," said Brian Truskowski, vice president of technology and strategy for IBMs storage group, in San Jose, Calif. For IBM, products branded as StorageTank will bring functionality beyond the entry-level virtualization from partner DataCore Software Corp.

Nevertheless, skeptical users are turning their attention instead to management software.

"You [need] many different views into that environment," said Philip Brown, senior data center manager at Focal Communications Corp., in Arlington Heights, Ill. "For me to think I can have this virtual view ... theres the unrealistic, and then theres the reality of what you can afford to do."

Rocket Fuel