Big Four In Storage Ready To Interoperate - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Big Four In Storage Ready To Interoperate

Storage-network vendors are cooperating to make management easier

This might be one of the signs warning that The End Is Near, but for some, it'd be worth it. The Big Four in storage--Compaq, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, and IBM--say they will cooperate to make managing heterogeneous storage networks easier.

Next week, the four plan to certify and document how their systems will interoperate with each other's products on storage networks connected by Fibre Channel switches from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. and McData Corp. Moreover, they will give every customer a single point of contact for support once they call for help, in theory eliminating finger-pointing.

This could have a widespread impact for buyers. The four storage vendors accounted for as much as 83% of the $4.87 billion Fibre-Channel storage-network market last year.

De facto storage network standards are being considered by the Storage Networking Industry Association. But the vendors, according to an industry source who asked not to be identified, led by a call from Compaq, opened their management interfaces and exchanged all the necessary information before they approached the association a few months ago.

Dean Holland, senior AIX system administrator at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee in Chattanooga, Tenn., helps maintain a 16-terabyte (and growing) storage network based on IBM's Enterprise Storage Systems and McData switches. He says the insurer is a "Big Blue shop with most everything from IBM." But he sees opportunities in this development. "EMC might have software features from which IBM is still two years away," says Holland. "If EMC can come close to the price that IBM charges us, we'll take a look at Symmetrix now."

Holland says he knows that interoperability wouldn't be plug and play. And he thinks the key to its success depends mostly on the switch vendors. Like most storage-network customers, the insurer has storage islands that administrators must maintain and manage separately, increasing the cost of ownership. "I'd love to see Brocade and McData working together" to bring all the storage islands together, says Holland.

Industry analyst John Webster at Illuminata Inc. says lack of cooperation among the major vendors has been the biggest thing holding back deployment. Says Webster, "These vendors have to get together and make it work in the first place."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
COVID-19: Using Data to Map Infections, Hospital Beds, and More
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/25/2020
Enterprise Guide to Robotic Process Automation
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  3/23/2020
How Startup Innovation Can Help Enterprises Face COVID-19
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  3/24/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll