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Virtualization Buyers Keep Exit Open

NEW YORK -- Storage Decisions -- Early adopters have this piece of advice for organizations looking to implement block storage virtualization: Make sure you have an easy way out of your first cut at the technology.

Three virtualization customers on a panel here today agreed it's best to make sure you can reverse your decision if you change your mind about how best to virtualize. There are several reasons for this.

First, many products used for storage virtualization -- especially those involved with intelligent switches -- are new. Something better might come along. Also, it is possible to implement the virtualization in more than one way -- in-bound, out-of-band, in appliances, with intelligent switches, or in the array. A storage manager may decide the first try isn't the best fit after all. And the benefits in managing and organizing storage that virtualization brings can be negated if the solution locks the customer into one vendor.

Each panelist offered a different implementation perspective. Chevron senior project manager Malcolm Hope is adding block virtualization carefully. Hope says he's running FalconStor IPStor software on two appliances outside the data path as part of his initiative to consolidate hardware and software following a series of mergers and acquisitions. He has an eye on adding in-band devices if all goes well.

"We're moving through this fairly slowly. We'll roll it out in one place and make sure it works," he says. "You have to spoon-feed this to your environment. When you say in-band, people in your organization think it will degrade performance. You have to prove it works 'side band' before you introduce it in-band."

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