Virtualization gets boost: Hot get hotter
By Alan Earls
Late last month, Hewlett Packard agreed to acquire StorageApps, one of the leading providers of storage virtualization solutions, in an all-stock transaction with a value of $350 million. The acquisition was seen as strengthening HP by adding virtualization as a key component to the IT giant's storage offerings. But HP isn't alone in lusting for virtualization. Indeed, according to analysts, virtualization is becoming part of almost every vendor's strategy.
Why? Well, according to HP, virtualization technology allows customers to more easily implement and manage storage networks. The technology also enables customers to pool storage devices from different vendors, easily add capacity and readily move data among the devices -- independent of server operating systems or network infrastructure.
In a report issued earlier this year by Boston, Mass.-based Aberdeen Group, Inc., Analyst Dan Tanner advised IT customers to consider the potential benefits of storage virtualization which, he said, include: creating virtual volumes that can span multiple storage units, enabling heterogeneous "mix and match" server and storage device usage, serving as a platform for cross-device storage services, and enabling secure storage sharing and efficient storage utilization. In particular, he hailed the virtualization technology specifically provided by Vicom Systems, Inc., Fremont, Calif. -- another important virtualization player.
"I think the virtualization space is hot," says Arun Taneja, analyst with Enterprise Storage Group, Inc., Milford, Mass. Taneja says the "winners" haven't yet been decided but contenders include the above-mentioned StorageApps and Vicom along with Datacore, FalconStor, Compaq, and Veritas. These companies have "amply proven that real value can only be derived from SANs if virtualization is part and parcel of the solution," says Taneja.
Taneja says every large server and storage vendor is either developing its own virtualization technology or will need to go buy it. "Those players that are demonstrating real products have a great chance of getting acquired," he says. However, Taneja adds, the race is not just amongst the "names you know."
"There are a bunch that are still stealth -- and VCs are still funding new companies," he says. And, he adds,"HP buying StorageApps for $350 million certainly gives the industry a boost: In this economy, a $350M deal for a new technology is a big deal."
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About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, MA.
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