EMC builds virtualisation storage router

EMC is to begin beta testing of an enterprise-class "storage router" that will be able to pool storage capacity and migrate data...

EMC is to build an enterprise-class "storage router" that will be able to pool storage capacity and migrate data seemlessly between boxes without affecting business applications.

The router is based on virtualisation software acquired with VMware that can move business applications between servers and automatically adjust the capacity among the storage subsystems that support them. 

Chief executive officer JoeTucci said that with storage spending expected to increase by 3% to 4% during the next year - and with storage capacity needs expected to grow by 60% - increasing performance through server and storage virtualisation technologies and automated processes will continue to bring down storage costs. Those costs have already plummeted by 30% in the past year. 

EMC executive vice president of open software Mark Lewis said EMC's storage router product should be available in the latter half of 2005. The router will target users with "petabytes" of storage needs, and could reside on switches from any of the leading suppliers, including Brocade Communication Systems, Cisco Systems and McData. 

"I'm not worried about time to market on this one," Lewis said. "We've taken a lot more time than other companies that have tried to race a product to market." 

IDC analyst Rick Villars said the planned router will move the functionality usually contained in an array controller into the network, allowing storage to be presented in a unified fashion to application servers. 

Lewis added that EMC has already begun developing a common look and feel to all of its supported platforms, including applications acquired from Legato Systems, content management company Documentum and VMware. 

"The basic user interface should be the same," he said of the multiyear integration project. "It's akin to Microsoft Office, you just know where the pull-down windows are."  

EMC eventually plans to sell a single information lifecycle management (ILM) product that will handle the storage of data from creation to deletion on various types of storage, based on automated policies. That process, however, will take years, Lewis said. 

The company also expected to add support for IBM mainframe applications as well as its data mirroring and replication software, including long-distance data mirroring or peer-to-peer remote copy and extended remote copy. 

Lucas Mearian writes for Computerworld

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