IBM today made a company wide commitment to storage area networking including new products, test facilities for customers and partners as well as multi vendor support.
Analysts welcomed the move because it was strategy based, not just product based. One also pointed out that IBM and other vendors have been offering storage area network (San) products for a long time but have only just jumped on the bandwagon.
Storage area networks (San) take storage off the Lan and on to a dedicated network enabling more flexible and more cost effective storage.
IBM says its strategy includes providing its customers with the hardware, software and services to develop and implement Sans, regardless of operating system, server platform or applications.
New products include San optimised Netfinity server and NT based systems, multi vendor tape pooling capability, Lan free back up, recovery and archiving software (from Tivoli) and new San Fibre Channel Fabric hardware.
IBM will also make its San Fabric components, such as switching chips and fast microprocessors, available to third party San vendors - a familiar IBM move to get more of its products used by OEMs.
IBM is planning a storage solution interoperability lab for customers, business partners and vendors at the National Testing Centre in Gaithersburg in the US.
The company has high expectations of its San initiative, and hopes to be the "premier total San solutions provider," according to James Vanderslice, senior vice president of IBM technology group. "No other company can bring together a combination of storage, services and servers and software to take advantage of this important trend," he added.
This is almost true, according to Janet Waxman, director of servers, storage and distribution at IDC.
"I can't say they're the only ones who have everything, but they're the only ones of their class who make their own disk," she said.
"It's a great announcement for IBM, because it's a strategy announcement as opposed to a product announcement. One of the most important aspects is that it is a company wide announcement," said Waxman.
For customers, Sans are less expensive and more flexible than direct connect storage because customers can share storage between servers, said Waxman. One downside however is that because of the flexible access, data protection and user privileges must be tightly controlled, she added.
Mainframes have offered the benefits of storage area networks for a long time, according to Waxman, but recent attention has focussed on client/server.
"IBM has had a San position for a long time with Escon, so it's not like it is new to IBM, but it's great that it is getting out and marketing it as a solution," said Waxman. "With the explosion of storage, everybody needs it, and that's why storage area networks are taking off."
To comment on this story, email [email protected]
Intel's neural network USB stick could bring AI to the masses
Dubbed Barnard's star B, newly discovered planet is believed to be rocky
Also, what's a USB stick?
Gravitational waves become extremely weak by the time they reach the Earth and require highly sensitive equipment for detection