Storage Virtualization's on the Move

There's a big, untapped market out there

December 14, 2007

2 Min Read
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Could storage virtualization be about to step out of the shadow of its more widely deployed server cousin? Despite a relatively slow uptake of the technology, announcements this week from EMC and VMware hint that virtual storage could be on the upswing.

"Our research shows a strong correlation between server virtualization and storage virtualization," says Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Tony Asaro.

Attempts by EMC and VMware to present coherent storage virtualization strategies is only part of the picture. A quick glance at other vendors playing in this space, such as IBM and HDS, suggests that there is more demand for this type of technology than was originally thought.

IBM, for example, has over 10,000 customers for its SAN Volume Controller (SVC) solution, according to Asaro. "That's significant, that's a market now," he says. "IBM has gone after every one of their storage customers and said, 'Hey, you should really install our SVC.' "

It's a similar story over at HDS, which has sold over 6,000 of its Universal Storage Platform (USP) V systems, according to the analyst. In total, ESG estimates that around 15,000 storage virtualization systems have been shipped worldwide by a range of vendors, which includes FalconStor, DataCore, Sanrad, and NetApp.Although it's still relatively early days for EMC and its Invista solution, there appears to be no reason why the vendor can't use its existing installed base as the springboard for storage virtualization. "EMC should take the same approach that IBM has," says Asaro. "That's to go into their existing accounts that have DMX and Clariion, and say 'We're going to use storage virtualization to move data between systems.' "

Despite supplier enthusiasm, though, users appear to be taking a pragmatic look at the whole issue of storage virtualization.

One of these, Shane Yoder, enterprise systems manager of Dickinson, N.D.-based cabinet manufacturing firm TMI Systems Design Corporation, who is an early adopter of VMware's storage virtualization software, is not getting carried away.

"I don't really have a big need for some of the larger storage virtualization features that people talk about, like being able to access multiple different storage vendors with the same namespace," he says.

Bottom line? Storage virtualization is becoming a data center reality. But customers aren't ready to join a hypefest. They'll be looking long and hard at the practical aspects of whatever new gear emerges.Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • DataCore Software Corp.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)

  • FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC)

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Sanrad Inc.

  • VMware Inc.

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