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File virtualization outlook
Access to unstructured data hasn't changed much in the past 15 years, but big changes are happening now. NAS system architectures are moving toward more scalable, multi-node scale-out architectures with global namespace support. NAS behemoth NetApp finally incorporating technology acquired from Spinnaker in its Ontap 8 release, enabling customers to build multi-node NetApp clusters, is indicative of the change.
File-system virtualization products are complementing traditional scale-up and next-generation scale-out NAS systems to provide a global namespace across heterogeneous file stores in the enterprise. While they're currently mostly deployed for the purpose of data mobility and storage tiering, they're likely to play a significant role in the future in providing an enterprise-wide, global unified namespace for all unstructured data.
BIO: Jacob Gsoedl is a freelance writer and a corporate director for business systems. He can be reached at
This was first published in September 2010