A: Storage pooling means taking all of your SCSI RAID, Fibre RAID and SAN storage - regardless of how many storage vendors you currently have - and with the use of clustered file systems, virtualization and storage resource management tools (or a combination thereof) consolidate it into a single storage pool. That pool can then be carved up, managed and presented - either through Fibre and/or SAN over IP - to hosts in heterogeneous and enterprise host environments.
The reasons for pooling are varied: to preserve an existing investment, or to simplify management and backup. More than this though, storage pooling may let you extend the functionality of your existing storage technology. Some pooling solutions may give you enterprise-class features that would otherwise be available only for a high price via a proprietary, vendor-specific product. Examples might include volume copying, volume snapshots and local and remote mirroring or replication, extending to the entire storage pool. These can make business continuance, backup, application development and disaster recovery easier to implement.
Joel Lovell, storage consultant, Storage Engine Inc.