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Compaq Gains on Virtualization

The battle for control of storage networks using virtualization technology is heating up, and PC and server giant Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) is quietly mustering its forces.

Its latest ally is little-known storage networking startup, Troika Networks whos server cluster “controllers” enable Compaq to claim a first step on the road to a complete virtualization offering (see Top Ten Private
Storage Networking Companies
).

So why all this fuss about virtualization? Listening to vendors in this market talk about virtualization strategies is like listening to a politician running for election: “Virtualization, virtualization, virtualization...” It’s analogous to healthcare and education: If you don’t mention it at least three times in every sentence, forget it -- you’ve lost.

In broad terms, virtualization lets IT managers use multiple storage devices as a single, “virtual” pool, rather than manually assigning specific devices to particular purposes. Thus, it enables multiple applications or multiple servers to use any available space on a storage network, irrespective
of the physical boundaries within the storage pool.

A key benefit of virtualization is that it makes for more efficient use of existing storage by cutting the cost and time involved in managing it. It’s also supposed to improve application reliability and performance and provide more flexible data access for critical applications.