Storage Execs Take Aim at the Technology's Complexities

By Graeme Thickins  |  Posted 2004-03-10 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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With storage's performance reaching new heights, conference panelists at Network Storage 2004 say vendors next must simplify technologies such as SANs and archiving.

MONTEREY, Calif.—Storage industry executives on Monday converged here for Network Storage 2004, a two-day conference focusing on new architectural trends in enterprise storage. The event covered hot topics in utility computing, information management and archive, and iSCSI-based SANs.

The changing landscape in the wider computing industry were also mirrored in storage technology, according to panelists. While vendors now offer faster and more robust storage to address performance needs, they also seek ways to reduce the complexity of storage area networks and archive solutions.

According to Garth Gibson, CTO of Panasas Inc. of San Jose, Calif., the rising popularity of Linux-based clustered computing is demanding a new storage architecture: object storage. Gibson, one of the Berkeley originators of RAID technology, said he has been working on the object-based storage concept since 1995. He said there's a "flow down from [High Performance Computing] to you and me."

Linux clusters are a byproduct of "supercomputing moving to mainstream." Gibson said his object storage technology works, having tested it with hundreds of devices. "We just need to find a way to cross the chasm. Linux clusters have [crossed over]—object storage is still early," he said.

Meanwhile, Clod Barrera, director of systems strategy for IBM Corp.'s Storage Systems Division, spoke of how storage area networks (SANs) are still complex "and each vendor does their own thing."

Barrera cited continuing interoperability problems with SANs, but pointed to the recent "interesting" work by the Storage Networking Industry Association on the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S). He offered that "SAN and NAS aggregation is alive and well."

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