EMC aims to extend the storage area network concept to handle all data access.
The storage company outlined a roadmap this week that includes two key concepts, 'universal data tone' and its own take on Sans.
Universal data tone is a variation on the IT Dialtone and Webtone ideas put forward by many IT companies including Sun. All aim to allow users to access and manipulate information, stored anywhere on the vastest of networks, as easily as speaking on the telephone.
Key to this dream is data storage that is networked, intelligent and allows easy access to information regardless of location. This is where the San comes in, providing a dedicated network to link multiple servers, storage resources and users on a network, and offloading much of the processing from the core system.
With companies such as Compaq and 3Com (see Newswire 4 November) jumping on this bandwaggon, EMC needed to trump their roadmaps in order to protect its standing in the enterprise storage market.
However, despite the visionary plans, the first products towards delivering universal data tone are similar to those being developed by many rivals, focusing on centralised storage management and Sans based on the Fibre Channel high speed interface standard.
With management software providing a greater point of difference in Sans than hardware, EMC said it will ship Volume Logix this month. This works with its Symmetrix storage hardware to control access to data and balance data between different devices to maximise performance.
EMC also promised Fibre Channel connectivity to NT servers and clusters from HP, Dell, Compaq, Siemens and NCR.
Robert Dutkowsky, executive vice president at EMC, believes the growth of NT will be the strongest spur to Sans because it provides a single platform, making it easier to consolidate multiple servers and storage systems.
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