Tech Data: Storage Virtualization A Big Play For '09

storage virtualization Infrastructure

For that reason, Tech Data has signed an agreement to carry DataCore Software Corp.'s storage virtualization solutions.

"I clearly think we're starting to see the predictions from this time last year come true, that storage virtualization would be the next great frontier," Peterson said. "The initial virtualization centered around servers. Now we're starting to see a lot more activity and solutions built around storage."

DataCore software helps better utilize storage devices attached to the SAN by creating a virtual pool of capacity that can be allocated and provisioned in realtime as user demand warrants, according to Tech Data. This allows users to have a more efficient, centralized management of their storage, data replication, security, enhanced load balancing and more.

DataCore products available through Tech Data include SANmelody, which converts virtual and physical servers into fully capable storage servers and high-availability iSCSI and FC SAN platforms, and SANsymphony, an open storage networking platform designed for large-scale SANs. The software operates across storage platforms, including those from EMC, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, as well as Linux, Windows and Mac operating systems.

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"Our relationship with DataCore is critical to our virtualization strategy," Peterson said. "When we initially built AIS about two years ago, it was around data center solutions. Key pillars of that were certainly storage and virtualization."

The initial focus centered around server virtualization because that's easier to conceptualize, Peterson said. "A lot of technology advancements were taking place on the server side, like multiprocessors, quad-core processors. That was driving the consolidation of servers and virtualization," Peterson said.

Tech Data expects storage virtualization to attract VARs implementing server virtualization solutions, but also storage-focused VARs with little experience in virtualization. "[Server virtualization] is not a requirement, but if you do have some skills around that, it helps you deploy these products," Peterson said.

With corporate customers looking to become more efficient and save money in their IT investments, virtualization should be a big opportunity this year for VARs, Peterson said.

"Think of the basic concept -- you're optimizing your existing infrastructure. If you have an install base of servers and SANs, adding some software to maximize and optimize those infrastructure investments is a big thing," he said. "This is an area to show some decent growth over the next 12 to 18 months, when you hear hardware business will be flattish to down. Storage is going to be a growth area for us and certainly virtualization continues to grow too."