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When a Router's Not a Router

You know an emerging technology is hot when vendors new and old latch onto the same buzzword for a multitude of different products.

We're talking about storage routing here: Everyone either has it or needs it, but no one is quite sure how to define it. Confusion reigns on the exact meaning of the term "storage routing," and unlike obscenity, you might not know it when you see it. A simple Web search for storage routers, for instance, might turn up products as wide-ranging as multiprotocol switches, distance gateways, and virtualization appliances.

The brains behind product branding efforts aren't helping either. The forthcoming "Storage Router" from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) which Hopkinton marketing insists is only a working title, subject to change – sticks out as a classic case in point. In fact, you wouldn't get EMC to disagree with that assessment.

"I don’t think discussing this product in the context of a router is appropriate," says Rob Sadowski, product marketing manager for the "Storage Router." "It has caused some confusion."

Instead of routing, EMC's device virtualizes storage-network traffic, inspecting packets and redirecting them to appropriate areas in conjunction with other vendors' switching platforms (see EMC Takes Storage Router for a Spin}.

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