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SGI downplays StorageTank hoopla

SGI wants the world to know that IBM's new SAN file system is nothing new. The company says it has revamped its own shared file system to accomodate new platforms.

"There is no spoon" -- Neo, from the Matrix

If you are a fan of the Matrix trilogy of movies you are familiar with the point in the movie that the chosen savior of the human race, Neo, realizes he actually can save real humans from extinction at the hands of a computer generated reality.

Attempting to sidestep it's own extinction, Silicon Graphics, Inc.(SGI) is working on making sure the IBM SAN File System, (aka StorageTank) does not overshadow it's own product, InfiniteStorage Shared Filesystem CXFS. A system that Pacific Title & Art Studio -- a Hollywood postproduction house, that had its hand in the Matrix special effects, uses as a shared file system.

According to Gabriel Broner, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Software and Storage, before SGI won any Academy Awards for CXFS they had to hunker down and re-tool the system. CXFS debuted in 1999 has similar attributes to IBM's SAN FS including, data management with automation policies.

"You can view them as either a clustered file system or a SAN file system depending on how they are deploying it. They are probably closer to a SAN file system," said Yankee Group Senior Analyst Jamie Gruener. "The important difference is how much communication is occurring between nodes in the file system. Each of these systems are multi-node, meaning it sits on multiple platforms of servers and storage, the important thing is you have to keep in mind there are going to be communications occurring between each of those nodes within the environment."

The issue of communication and multi-platform is something that has pigeon-holed SGI -- but a problem they recently began to rectify. The issue plaguing the widespread success of CXFS was a reliance on SGI's proprietary OS, IRIX. But, the company recently announced added support for Solaris, AIX, Linux 32 and Linux 64, Windows (NT, 2000, XP) -- and soon it will extend to Mac OSX.

More on Shared File Systems:

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Solve file-sharing headaches
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IBM unveils SAN file system
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Part 2: Shared file systems: a mixed blessing

Additional resources:

IBM unveils storage management system...Storage Tank Rolls out of IBM...IBM's Big Flat File System

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