Compaq dives into virtual storage-pool

Compaq Computer Corp., has announced that it plans to deliver new storage pooling technology under the label VersaStor, providing virtual storage resources on demand. Compaq says that the VersaStor technology creates an environment where data is stored in a dynamic pool and can be moved transparently and efficiently across networked storage systems.

Analyst William Hurley of the Boston, Mass.-based Yankee Group says that it's notable technology, but that Compaq is not alone in bringing virtualization to the storage environment. "Virtualization means that it is able to look across the entire storage environment and create a centralized storage pool," said Hurley. "It's an innovative concept in that it's new to the industry. It's notable, but [VersaStor] certainly isn't the first incarnation of virtualization." DataCore Software Corp., and HighGround Systems, Inc., also offer dynamic storage virtualization tools.

There's one key difference in the Compaq solution according to John Webster senior analyst and IT advisor for Illuminata, Inc., in Nashua, N.H. "There's an essential difference in the way that Compaq is handling the data management," he explained. "There are some data security issues that Compaq is addressing by saying we're not going to intercept I/O in flight. They're going to manage the SAN functions from a separate, dedicated server." He pointed out that other solutions service data "in-flight" meaning that incoming data is intercepted and serviced out of cache, making it vulnerable to loss should the device fail. " Compaq is not going to intercept or get in the way of the I/O," he said. Webster said that handling the data in this fashion increases the speed and reliability of the SAN management application.

Compaq says VersaStor will allow companies to manage multi-vendor environments by moving their operations into a single storage pool, creating a management resource that will offer customer investment protection for current and future storage technologies.

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