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Storage Smarts On The Network

Partnership between HP and Brocade will let users service the business across multiple storage arrays.

The storage industry is plagued by the incarceration of the most important software--the stuff users need the most. Leading storage vendors keep it locked up inside their own storage arrays. Customers who don't buy the hardware lose out on key traits such as business continuity because they don't get the replication or mirroring software.

But that's about to change, thanks to a partnership between Hewlett-Packard, sneaking its way up the storage market food chain with a complete suite of products and an agnostic approach to the market, and Brocade Communications Systems Inc., the switch vendor at the heart of the Fibre Channel SAN market.

On Tuesday, Brocade will unveil seven storage vendors as partners for its Silkworm Fabric Application Platform. This new switch, which will be seen in public for the first time at Brocade's user conference in Las Vegas at the end of March, includes chipsets at the port level to enable it to take on backup and recovery, replication, and volume-management functions that have been trapped in storage-array systems until now. With intelligence on the switch, customers will be able to service the business across multiple storage arrays. The new partners include Alacritus Software, CommVault Systems, and FalconStor Software.

HP said earlier this month that its VersaStor technology-virtualization software, which gets better utilization out of storage architectures, would be available on Brocade's Fabric Application Platform during the third quarter. At the HP Enterprise Network Storage Architecture user conference this week, Howard Elias, senior VP and general manager of HP's network storage solutions, said the vendor plans to support HP, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, and IBM arrays thanks to the Fabric Application Platform. Says Elias, "Our Continuous Access Storage Appliance should be able to take point-in-time copies, independent of the array type."

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