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June 2011

Three vendors still stalking storage virtualization

Overwhelmed by all the buzz around server virtualization? There are still solid alternatives -- with real benefits -- to virtualizing storage systems. External storage virtualization (ESV) is the use of intelligent storage controllers that provide volume management, data management and protection features by creating a virtual storage system using external hardware and capacity. The goal of ESV is to consolidate management and intelligent features, and to enable tiering and heterogeneous replication. If you implement a high-end intelligent ESV system, you can scale with lots of dumber and less-expensive systems behind it, creating a great balance of high-end capabilities with lower cost hardware. This all looks good on paper, but if the value proposition is so apparent, why hasn't ESV become the dominate storage infrastructure in our data centers? There are several reasons why ESV isn't pervasive. The first is that there are only a handful of leading vendors providing ESV solutions, including Hitachi Data Systems, IBM and NetApp...

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