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EMC Launches Storage Virtualization Platform

EMC officially unveiled its storage virtualization platform last week but told solution providers they may have to wait until next year before they can sell it.

Mark Lewis, executive vice president and chief development officer at EMC, said the Invista virtualization product will be available next quarter to Global 2000 enterprises on a direct sales-only basis.

Lewis said he expects the platform to be ready for EMC's enterprise partners next year. The Hopkinton, Mass.-based company is working on an edition suitable for smaller customers and may create a software-only version for embedding into other storage devices, Lewis said.

Keith Norbie, business solutions manager at Nexus Information Systems, a Plymouth, Minn.-based solution provider, said Invista seems to be a solid, fully baked solution. But it also is the type of architecture-changing technology that takes a year or more to get into a customer account, Norbie said.

EMC rivals IBM and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) also recently have introduced products for virtualizing storage, and those products are available to the channel. However, those products are configured in the form of storage arrays behind which other arrays are connected. In contrast, Invista fits EMC's belief that virtualization must separate the hardware from the software, Lewis said.

Invista takes advantage of new intelligence being built into SAN switches from Brocade Communication Systems, Cisco Systems and McData to allow dynamic mapping of applications to their required data. As data volumes are migrated to other locations such as during a technology refresh, that migration does not disrupt the applications, Lewis said.

The volumes can sit on storage arrays from multiple vendors, including EMC, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and HDS. The mapping is handled by Invista Control Path Cluster modules, which are Intel CPU-based appliances that sit outside the data path.

When Invista is released next quarter, it will be bundled with all necessary software and either a Brocade or Cisco switch, EMC said. A bundle with a McData switch is expected early next year.

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