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Announcing a self-contained San storage sub-system, Compaq expects the market to heat-up with other vendors also expected to compete in a new open market.
Compaq's StorageWorks Nas Executor E7000 system is claimed by the company to resolve the San versus Nas debate with an integrated system that "delivers the combined strengths of a fully virtualised Nas-San fusion".
Highlights of the system include file-level access, storage virtualisation, and what it claims is unlimited scalability. Roger Archibold is Compaq's vice president and general manager of the enterprise storage division. "Embedded virtualisation enables us to separate the physical storage devices from the logical subsystem. We can now dynamically assign the capacity. On the mainframe, disk utilisation is around 70 per cent, whilst in disk systems it is about 40 per cent. Disk systems are the most misused assets in corporations. Could you imagine a similar utilisation of a corporation's cars whereby 60 out of 100 vehicles are never used?"
But Archibold believes that competition will increasingly open up the storage market as virtualisation systems that can cope with any supplier's boxes will become the accepted norm. And as the cost of disk storage continues to head downwards, Archibold expects an increasing battle with the other major storage suppliers.
"Competition is good for the market and has brought incredible advances in features and functions. Next year we will support heterogeneous storage. Customers will have investment protection because they will be able to get more feature function out of their storage as San wide architectures are implemented. It will be a cost structure that will make it hard for EMC to compete. I think we are already beginning to see changes."