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IBM R&D Aimed at Storage

Despite the ivory tower connotation of its name, IBM Corp.'s (NYSE: IBM) Almaden Research Center has practical applications in mind for some of its imminent storage developments.

IBM is targeting areas such as file-system extensibility and disk reliability -- not the sexiest of topics in storage circles, but among the more pressing concerns of storage managers today.

Researchers at Almaden, the company's facility in San Jose, Calif., discussed their progress during a visit by Byte and Switch last week. Almaden is one of eight IBM labs and home to much of the company's storage research.

Among the promising developments was the long-running Storage Tank project. "Storage Tank has turned out to be a great incubator for many different, second-generation projects," says Linda Duyanovich, manager of storage software and storage systems at IBM Research. "It's lent itself to a variety of different extensions."

Started seven years ago, the Storage Tank work emerged a year ago in the form of IBM's SAN File System (SAN FS) (see IBM's Big Fat File System). The product virtualizes multiple file systems on a SAN and presents them through a single global namespace, providing file sharing across heterogeneous systems.

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