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IBM Details Linux-based Storage Strategy

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Looking to close the gap on EMC Corp. and Veritas Software Inc. in the Storage Management Software sector, IBM Corp. on Tuesday shed light on its three-pronged strategy to embrace Linux technologies and standards-based management interfaces.

Big Blue promises to increase the amount of data
that customers can store and speed up data transfer. By leaning heavily
on a Linux-based virtualization engine, Storage Tank and Standards-based
management interfaces, IBM said its offerings would “remove barriers” to
data access and reduce IT costs for customers.

“Customers are at a point where proprietary vendor initiatives and
technology complexity are preventing them from effectively managing and
exploiting networked mission-critical data…We’re working to remove
barriers to data access with (technology) that will help customers plan and
transition to highly intelligent and cost-effective storage networks,” said
Linda Sanford, senior vice president of IBM Storage Systems Group.

With the Linux-based virtualization engine, IBM has developed software aimed
at reducing the total cost of ownership by enabling systems administrators
to view and access a common pool of storage on a network, and to increase
storage use on existing storage servers.

The latest push by IBM comes just one day after Computer Associates, another player in the space, unveiled its Enterprise Storage Automation strategy, promising functional
intelligence, dynamic storage provisioning and policy definitions to IT

Research from Gartner’s Dataquest has pegged revenues from worldwide storage
software in 2001 in the vicinity of $5 billion, a lucrative market
for the top four players. IBM believes its standards-based push will give
it a leg up on the competition.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based tech giant is touting its Storage Tank as the first
file system optimized for accessing, saving, sharing and managing files on
storage networks.

It embraces open management standards-based management interfaces centered
around the software model proposed by the Storage Networking Industry
Association (SNIA) and designed to allow any storage system or device, such
as Storage Tank and virtualization engine, to be managed by standards-based
storage management software, including software from IBM’s Tivoli Division.

Emphasis On Interoperability

Taking a jab at what it described at “narrowly focused efforts” by
competitors aiming only at the storage block level, IBM said its software
roadmap addresses customer needs at both block and file levels by combining
technologies with open, industry-wide programming interfaces to support
interoperability with software from other vendors.

“In addition, IBM’s roadmap for the delivery of storage infrastructure
software from its Storage Systems Group complements the storage management
software roadmap from Tivoli,” IBM said.

The company said the virtualization engine would be implemented on the IBM
eServer xSeries systems running Linux, and promising to provide a single
point of control over disk storage capacity (block level management) within
a storage network. The architecture is complementary to the “Shark” IBM
TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server.

“This is intended to allow customers to move data, add physical disks and
reallocate spare storage capacity without impacting the performance or
availability of applications,” Sanford said.

IBM said it would provide Storage Tank application server support for
multiple operating systems, including AIX, Solaris, HP/UX, Linux, and
Windows 2000/XP platforms. To prod industry adoption of Storage Tank, Big
Blue said it would release a free source code reference implementation of
the application server module and publish the protocol between the
application server and the metadata server.

This story was first published on InternetNews, an site.

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