24 April 2002 Systems giant IBM will base its future storage systems on open architectures, a new storage file system and Linux-based virtualisation, the company has announced.
A member of the SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association), IBM will be using many of the interoperability guidelines the organisation proposes to make its own storage systems manageable by other vendors’ software.
“Our strategy says that we are going to build capabilities at the block level, we’re going to build capabilities at the file level, and in both cases we are going to move intelligence into the network from the devices,” said Michael Zisman, the company’s new general manager of storage software. “We’re going to make those devices manageable in a multi-vendor way using industry standards that can be managed by our own managers of other managers.”
Key to the strategy will be the forthcoming Storage Tank file system being developed by IBM, which will be ready in 2003, as well as its Linux-based virtualisation technology, designed to allow users to treat multiple storage resources as a single disk.
The company says its aim is to move its main source of storage revenue to software while reducing its dependence on “low-margin” hardware. Analysts at the Enterprise Storage Group believe that the strategy means IBM is now ready to compete with other storage companies, such as EMC and Hitachi, after two years of “playing catch-up”.