How do storage virtualization offerings differ?

There are numerous players in the storage virtualization market today, but I can categorize them as in-band vendors (typically appliances), out-of-band vendors and Split Path Architecture for Intelligent Devices (SPAID) vendors.

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For the in-band category, we have companies like IBM with its Storage Virtualization Controller (SVC) product, DataCore Software Corp. with its SANsymphony, FalconStor Software Inc. with its IPStor. Those are three good examples of what companies are in the game, and all three are seasoned players with storage virtualization product offerings for between three and five years.

StoreAge Ltd., which was recently acquired by LSI Corp., has essentially been the only out-of-band product in the industry. The Storage Virtualization Manager (SVM) product runs on its own Intel server-based appliance. It has also recently ported that software to purpose-built appliances from QLogic Corp. and Emulex Corp.

The SPAID category of products includes products like Network Storage Platform (NSP) from Incipient Inc. and Invista from EMC. These are similar to an out-of-band architecture, but both are designed to utilize an intelligent switch in the network environment. For example, both Incipient NSP and EMC Invista work with Cisco Systems Inc./Brocade Communications Systems Inc. intelligent switches.

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) represents a small fourth category of storage virtualization where the feature is actually implemented within the storage cabinet itself. The TagmaStore system is one good example of this approach.

Check out the entire Storage Virtualization FAQ guide.

This was first published in August 2007

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