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IBM is aiming to help customers bridge a major storage interoperability chasm by announcing Friday that its TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller v.1.2 will support and manage bitter rival EMC Corp.’s Symmetrix and CLARiiON hardware storage arrays, as well as Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Corp.’s Lightning disk-based offerings.

Available April 30, TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller v.1.2 virtualization technology features new platform flexibility by expanding its OS reach to include Microsoft Windows 2003, Sun Microsystems Solaris 9, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Server 3.0 and VMware ESX 2.1, according to officials of Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM.

By hooking directly into Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC’s Symmetrix storage array and CLARiiON network storage systems products, IBM has cleared a “major impediment” for its SAN Volume Controller to virtually displace vendor lock-in within heterogeneous storage environments, said analyst Rick Villars of Framingham, Mass.-based IDC.

“One of the most popular ways to leverage this [EMC support] is to go into EMC environments and migrate [customers] away from EMC to IBM environments,” Villars said. “In theory, it will broaden your choices. … EMC is certainly going to be put in a position where they’re going to have to offer a similar type of story.”

In fact, Villars said IDC is encountering a greater number of customers picking two different vendors for their primary and secondary storage requirements to ensure competitive pricing and to “keep the vendors honest.” He said he expects IBM to focus on incorporating more replication and autonomic capabilities into future versions of SAN Volume Controller.

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