Storage UPDATE--Virtualization Heats Up--December 27, 2004

Don't let overzealous antispam software block your copy of Storage UPDATE--add [email protected] to your list of allowed senders and contacts.


This email newsletter comes to you free and is supported by the following advertisers, which offer products and services in which you might be interested. Please take a moment to visit these advertisers' Web sites and show your support for Storage UPDATE.

Free White Paper: High Availability for Windows Services

Windows IT Pro VIP


1. Commentary
- The Virtualization Wars Heat Up

2. New and Improved
- Local Data Replication and Disaster Recovery
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

==== Sponsor: Free White Paper: High Availability for Windows Services ====

It is no stretch to say that Windows high availability must be a fundamental element in your short- and long-term strategic IT planning. This free white paper discusses the core issues surrounding Windows high availability, with a focus on business drivers and benefits. You'll learn about the current market solutions, technologies and real-world challenges including cost-benefit analyses. Plus, find out how to assess technical elements required in choosing a high availability solution, including the robustness of the technology, time-to-failover, and implementation difficulties. Download this white paper now!


==== 1. Commentary ====
by Elliot King, [email protected]

The Virtualization Wars Heat Up
With the release of the next generation of its virtualization software earlier this month, IBM has fired a shot across archrival EMC's bow. IBM officials touted Virtualization Engine Suite for Storage, coupled with its SAN Volume Controller, as "the killer application in the storage area." Ron Riffe, a storage software strategist at IBM, said, "With it, we will be able to take share from EMC."
The IBM announcement could lead companies to take a second look at virtualization and reconsider virtualization as a useful storage approach. Vendors and pundits have often promoted virtualization as a method to achieve better storage utilization and efficiency. The argument is simple. Storage virtualization lets administrators manage isolated islands of storage as if they're one big pool. Therefore, storage control are streamlined and data migration efforts are automated and simplified.
But the simple argument hasn't always been persuasive. In many cases, the worrisome questions surrounding virtualization have eclipsed its potential benefits. Some administrators have worried about virtualization's implicit complexity. Would they be able to track where data actually resides? Moreover, if one element in the virtual pool were to fail, what would be the effect on the other elements?
And there are other concerns. Although some pundits have blamed EMC for spreading fear and uncertainty, end users have been concerned that virtualization could slow performance and have wondered whether virtualization technology is sufficiently scalable.
In some ways, the IBM announcement, therefore, signals a shift in the way virtualization benefits are being presented to the market. According to Riffe, the IBM announcement has three equally significant components. First, he said, the IBM SAN Volume Controller is the first virtualization-oriented product to pass the Storage Networking Industry Association's (SNIA's) Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S). Second, it supports the entire EMC product line, as well as technology from Hitachi. Third, it has set a performance record for a storage performance virtualization product, according to the Storage Performance Council's SPC-1 benchmark test.
By being SMI-S compliant, the SAN Volume Controller can interoperate with a wide range of storage management technologies. And by encompassing the entire EMC line, it lifts the proprietary lock on EMC storage infrastructures.
That, according to Riffe, is the key significance of virtualization. It unlocks the proprietary lock-in technologies that storage vendors have used to maintain control of their customers' infrastructure. Although storage vendors have talked about interoperability, they have long used services such as copy services and specific device drivers to raise the costs of moving to competitors' technologies.
With this announcement, Riffe argued, IBM now lets end-users pick and choose technology from a huge array of vendors. When vendors actually have to compete for business, prices often fall. Moreover, if end-users can pick solutions that more exactly meet their needs, as well as consolidate their storage infrastructure appropriately, they might well be able to lower their overall total cost of ownership (TCO) in the process.
The last part of the IBM announcement--setting the SPC-1 benchmark for virtualization technology--is key because it directly addresses one of the major concerns end-users have had about virtualization. With a mark of more than 100,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS), the SAN Volume Controller is twice as fast as the previous record holder. Moreover, Riffe contended, the benchmark demonstrated that the software can scale into very large operations and still offer superior performance.
If the SPC benchmark result helps alleviate concerns about the performance of the virtualization layer, the use of virtualization approaches in other IT applications has also raised the comfort level. After all, with the use of RAID technology, administrators might not know the precise physical location of a specific piece of information. Moreover, from the spread of VPNs to grid computing, virtualization is becoming a common concept up and down the hardware stack.
The IBM announcement might serve as a convenient marker to signal the next generation of virtualization, but it isn't the only piece of evidence that the market it shifting gears. This fall, Hitachi introduced virtualization technology with its new TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform (although companies have to buy pricy Hitachi hardware to gain access to the virtualization). And EMC is reportedly readying a virtualization solution for release in 2005.
Competitive pressures could help drive virtualization technology forward. With SMI-S, software vendors will be able to develop applications that run on top of the new infrastructure. And many analysts anticipate that storage virtualization will ultimately play a key role in the effectiveness of utility computing as well as information lifecycle management (ILM). By freeing the storage infrastructure from its proprietary shackles, a new wave of innovation could be unleashed.
Comment on this article at

==== Sponsor: Windows IT Pro VIP ====

Get Exclusive Access to Windows IT Pro Print Products Online!
Our VIP subscribers get online access to all of our print publications, plus a print subscription to Windows IT Pro and exclusive access to our banner-free VIP Web site. Now we've added even more content from the archives of SQL Server Magazine! You won't find a more complete and comprehensive resource anywhere--check it out!

==== Announcements ====
(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

Get the Cliffs Notes to Migrating from Novell NDS to Windows Server 2003
Migrating from Novell NDS to Windows Server 2003 means moving from an established directory service to the latest version of Active Directory. Missing a step in the migration process could mean real problems. Use our quick reference guide as a cheat-sheet to help you manage each step of the migration process. Download the guide now.

Sensible Best Practices for Exchange Availability Web Seminar--January 27
If you’re discouraged about not having piles of money for improving the availability of your Exchange server, join Exchange MVP Paul Robichaux for this free Web seminar and learn how to maximize your existing configuration. Survive unexpected outages, plan for the unplannable, and evaluate what your real business requirements are without great expense. Register now!

Are You a Hacker Target?
You are if you have an Internet connection faster than 384Kbps. In this free on-demand Web seminar, Alan Sugano will examine two attacks (an SMTP Auth Attack and a SQL Attack) that let spammers get into the network and relay spam. Find out how to keep the hackers out of your network and what to do if your mail server is blacklisted as an open relay. Register now!

Token Authentication: Getting It Right
More and more companies are taking the first steps toward leaving passwords behind and implementing tokens for at least a portion of their users and systems. In this free on-demand Web seminar, join Randy Franklin Smith to find out the advantages of implementing token-based Reduced Sign-On (RSO) and learn how you can you make a solid business case to management that justifies the costs. Get valuable checklists of key evaluation and testing points and critical success factors for rollout time. Register now!

==== Event ====
(brought to you by Windows IT Pro)

Get Expert Advice on Implementing a Service Management Plan
Our expert panel delivers tips, techniques, and insight to get you closer to a service management plan in this free on-demand Web seminar. Get real-world perspectives on industry trends and examples of how to leverage service management for maximum results and how to implement a plan for your business. Register now!

==== 2. New and Improved ====
by Jason Bovberg, [email protected]

Local Data Replication and Disaster Recovery
SANRAD announced the availability of SANRAD LDR, the first in a series of data-replication and disaster-recovery solutions for SANRAD-enabled IP SANs. The product is available through SANRAD's broad network of storage networking Value Added Resellers (VARs) throughout the world. SANRAD LDR permits campus-wide data replication and disaster recovery for multi-building/multi-site organizations such as military installations, universities, medical centers, local and state government offices, and financial institutions, providing business continuity for any operation that requires uninterrupted access to data. SANRAD LDR scales license-free to support 256 servers, 64,000 volumes, and up to 5.4PB of capacity. For further information, contact SANRAD on the Web.

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows IT Pro What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]

==== Sponsored Link ====

Data Protection from NSI and Microsoft
Instant recovery and data protection solutions for Exchange and SQL servers;12746138;8214395;l?


==== Contact Us ====

About the commentary -- [email protected]
About the newsletter -- [email protected]
About technical questions --
About product news -- [email protected]
About your subscription -- [email protected]
About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]


This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows IT Pro, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today.

Manage Your Account
You are subscribed as #EmailAddr#.

You received this email message because you asked to receive additional information about products and services from the Windows IT Pro Network. To immediately unsubscribe, click this link:
Thank you!

View the Windows IT Pro privacy policy at

Windows IT Pro, a division of Penton Media, Inc.
221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538
Attention: Customer Service Department

Copyright 2004, Penton Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.