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Storage technology has evolved in recent years from individual storage systems trapped behind individual servers to networks that connect storage resources. But storage networks were limited by their inability to get multiple storage systems to work together to support an individual application.
IBM on Tuesday tried to deal with that problem with its IBM TotalStorage SAN File System V2.1, virtualization software designed to let customers line up all the capacity on a storage-area network behind one application or process. The software supports IBM's storage hardware as well as hardware from EMC, Hitachi, and Hewlett-Packard. And customers could support Linux, IBM's pSeries, and Sun Solaris operating systems on the same storage network with a single view. The software should be available next month; IBM wouldn't discuss pricing.
To work, a portion of the software would be installed on every server on the storage network. Metadata, or data about the storage data, would be loaded on its own Intel-based server. The software creates a single view across all components and is designed to let storage administrators program storage resources to share in support of a demanding business application or process.
Most storage networks don't have their own file system and are limited in their ability to get a complete view of storage resources, an analyst says. "With the new version of SFS," says Arun Taneja, founder and president at IT research firm The Taneja Group, "when customers run a new E-mail app, for example, they gain a total view of all the storage available."