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IBM's Monshaw Talks Virtual

It's shaping up as a pivotal year for IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Andy Monshaw got there just in time. As part of an executive rotation, he returned as group general manager in January, after five years elsewhere in the company.

Here's what he found: IBM is in the early stages of shipping its new DS8000 and DS6000 SAN systems; it hopes to cash in on its early-adopter advantage in virtualization with the San Volume Controller (SVC); and it recently agreed to sell Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) NAS systems instead of its own. (See IBM's New Shark Tale, IBM SVC Hits 1,000 Mark, and IBM, NetApp Ink OEM Pact.)

All these moves have a common theme -- to steal a march on EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), which is the market leader in SAN revenues and is battling NetApp for NAS superiority. EMC is also about to challenge SVC with a storage router (see EMC Takes Storage Router for a Spin).

We recently caught up with Monshaw to ask him about these topics, as well as the emerging role of blade servers in storage. Monshaw, who most recently served as CFO of IBMs Systems and Technology Group, also discussed how the industry has changed since he was the storage CFO at IBM in 2000.

Byte and Switch: What about virtualization? Why are we hearing so much about it now?

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