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EMC Set To Launch Storage-Virtualization System

Storage router will help combine heterogeneous systems into a single storage pool for greater utilization of disk arrays.

EMC Corp. will reveal its long-awaited storage virtualization system Monday, industry sources say. The product is a combination of hardware and software that will run on intelligent storage area network switches from Brocade Communications Systems, Cisco Systems, and McData.

Storage virtualization combines storage systems from multiple manufacturers into a single storage pool for greater utilization of disk arrays. It's seen as an aid for information-life-cycle management, the movement of files between expensive disk arrays and lower-cost media for data archiving.

An EMC spokesperson declines to comment on the product launch, but says a Webcast is scheduled for Monday.

The system, which EMC has referred to in the past as Storage Router but which will be renamed, consists of an intelligent SAN switch plus an out-of-band Control Path Processor. Hosts can connect directly to the intelligent switches either directly or through a nonintelligent front-end fabric. Storage arrays can be connected to the intelligent switches directly or via a back-end fabric.

The product employs split-path architecture for intelligent devices, or "Spaid," an out-of-band method "that uses specific switch-based functions to create the virtualization," says John Webster, an analyst with Data Mobility Group, who was briefed on the product. It will compete with IBM's in-band SAN Volume Controller and Hitachi Data Systems' TagmaStore virtualization products.

Hitachi's TagmaStore, which was launched in September, places the intelligence for performing logical-to-physical address translation within the control units. Hubert Yoshida, Hitachi's chief technology officer, says doing so allows logical partitioning of up to 32 virtual-storage machines, each with dedicated capacity, cache, and ports.

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