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Notes From Underground

Remember virtualization? After all the bubble-era hype, followed by so much deafening silence, the casual observer would be forgiven for thinking that this particular storage networking technology had failed to establish itself.

But we can happily report that virtualization is alive and well and living on in SANs throughout the world, albeit under some assumed names. In effect, it's gone underground, to emerge cleverly disguised.

Today virtualization is the technology underpinning a raft of network-based storage applications, or services, as they are now more fashionably dubbed. There is data replication, mirroring (local and remote), snapshotting, migration, and more all of which rely on the management of virtual volumes to operate in large SAN environments.

There are multiple approaches, all of which put virtualization squarely in the network. As detailed in the
report I have just completed for Byte and Switch Insider on the subject, the intelligent switch has emerged as the
most logical place from which to present data to multiple servers and carry out management functions across multiple storage devices. So switch vendors such as Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA), and are developing next-generation switches to handle the basic control-path functions that a virtualization engine

There also are newer companies, such as Incipient Inc., which markets its Distributed Virtualization Engine to perform all the applications mentioned above and offers a single-console management platform to run the whole infrastructure.

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