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Thin Is Definitely In

6:00 PM -- Is thin provisioning the next big thing? Announcements today from HDS and EqualLogic have underlined the growing momentum behind the technology, which is increasingly being touted as a way for users to get the most out of their storage infrastructure. (See Hitachi Bulks Up and EqualLogic to Add Thin Provisioning.)

The technique aims to ensure that physical disk capacity is only used as it is needed. (See 3PAR Debuts 'Thin Provisioning' and A Data Reduction Dossier.) Other vendors that have already made moves into this space include LeftHand Networks, Compellent, HP, and NetApp, which has already deployed thin provisioning on its FAS offerings. (See LeftHand Adds 10-GigE SANs, LeftHand Secures $25M, VeriStor, Compellent Team Up, and Cardinal Uses CommVault, NetApp.)

The next vendor to throw its weight behind the technology looks to be EMC, which already offers thin provisioning on its low-end Celerra systems. "Stay tuned for updates as we deliver thin provisioning across our broader SAN portfolio," says EMC spokesman Colin Boroski, hinting that the high-end Symmetrix platform could be next.

At least one analyst urges users not to get too carried away with all the vendor hype about thin provisioning, explaining that it is yet to reach killer-app status. "At this stage, it's not make or break," says Tony Asaro, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group.

HDS claims around 10 early adopters of its high-end thin provisioning technology, although only one of these, United Airlines, has been made public.

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