HP, Brocade Ally On Storage

HP has brought together its in-band and out-of-band virtualization technologies under a single manager, said Mark Sorenson, vice president of HP's storage software.

By the end of the year, the company plans to add the out-of-band features of its VersaStor technology, which it acquired via the merger with Compaq Computer, to the in-band SV3000 storage appliance developed by StorageApps, acquired by HP in July 2001, Sorenson said.

>> HP has brought together its in-band and out-of-band virtualization under a single manager.

While HP is already selling its Continuous Access Storage Appliances (CASAs), it had yet to release products based on its VersaStor technology.

The CASA sits between hosts and heterogeneous storage devices in a SAN in such a way that all IO information is routed through the appliance, with the CASA presenting the logical unit numbers (LUNs) of the storage devices to the hosts. The CASA supports more than 90 percent of the storage devices in the market today, Sorenson said.

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Brocade, meanwhile, plans to integrate into its SAN switches the virtualization capabilities it acquired in its November purchase of Rhapsody Networks, said Tom Buiocchi, vice president of product management at Brocade.

Rhapsody developed switches with technology that allows storage volumes to be accessed by multiple servers, allowing data mirroring between remote data centers and data replication across sites and between arrays from different vendors.

Brocade expects to add those capabilities to its Silkworm switches by the end of they year, Buiocchi said. That application platform also will be VersaStor-aware to allow HP's SAN capabilities to be seamlessly extended across a new or existing SAN with no need to rip and replace existing equipment, he said.

Solution providers have found it difficult to get clear information on the virtualization plans of vendors such as HP and Brocade, said Carl Wolfston, director of Headlands Associates, a storage specialist solution provider based in Pleasanton, Calif.. "As a reseller, I'm going to sit back and watch," he said. "[It's] such a high-end expense, and not many people are interested in it yet."

Wolfston has just started working with HP's CASA and said that despite HP's claims that it connects to almost any storage device, there are some limits based on applications.

"On paper, the SV3000 looks good," Wolfston said. "HP's engineering folks are great people. But this virtualization stuff,what's going on?"