IBM Pushes Back StorageTank Release

IBM has delayed the launch of its next-generation heterogeneous storage management suite.

IBM has delayed the launch of its next-generation heterogeneous storage management suite.

The companys forthcoming line of StorageTank products -- which is expected to include a global file system, storage resource management, and hardware virtualization – will launch in 2003 and will include policy-based automation, officials of the Armonk, N.Y., company said Tuesday.

IBM began developing the suite in 1999, and announced it in late 2000. Since then it has acquired resale rights to DataCore Software Corp.s SANsymphony 4.0 virtualization product, and in 2001 IBM announced that the suite would debut later in 2002.

Tuesday, officials said the new target date is 2003.

"We are not saying anything more specific than 2003," said Mike Zisman, general manager of storage software, declining to give any product details. "This is not a product announcement… I think a lot of people really underestimate the testing it takes."

The StorageTank products will use Linux-based servers for the virtualization component, with various parts of open code, Zisman said. The core storage management components will link with a Common Information Model (CIM) client, something that IBMs working with rival and recent partner Hitachi Ltd. on. Together, the companies are challenging the more loosely aligned and informal partnership of Houstons Compaq Computer Corp. and Hopkinton, Mass.s EMC Corp.

Zisman played down the EMC threat, and threats from software-only firms like Veritas Software Corp. StorageTank "has nothing to do with [EMCs] AutoIS or Veritas," he said.

"Its quite remarkable that a company as strong in technology as IBM keeps dragging its feet in terms of the rollout," said analyst Shebly Seyrafi, of A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc., in St. Louis, Mo. Potential customers "are not going to wait much longer," and the delays could be a boon to IBMs rivals, he noted.