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Which Virtualization Technologies are ripe: – According to Forrester?

by Hu Yoshida on Jun 8, 2008

Network world published an article on June 5th 2008, with the title: Which Virtualization technologies are ripe: Forrester’s take.  “According to Forrester, as of Q2 2008, server and client virtualization is mature enough to pay off in the short term, but storage virtualization-particularly application storage-is “not very advanced” and doesn’t yet offer much payback.”
According to Forrester Analyst Galen Schreck “Application storage virtualization, which is offered by EMC, IBM, HP, and Oracle, is still taking its first steps, available only in alpha versions. He goes on to say in the report that at this early point, its value is questionable, given that the technology only offers “basic tiering and thin provisioning” that customers can already get from more mature forms of storage virtualization.

Unfortunately Mr Schreck has over looked Hitachi Data Systems, which has shipped and installed over 9200 systems since September of 2004, with over half of them virtualizing external storage systems and providing a wealth of “mature” storage virtualization services like copy, move, migration, replication, safe multi-tenancy, global cache performance enhancement  in addition to tiering and thin provisioning. It can also provide synergy with VTL services like de-duplication, content services like common search, and file services like file virtualization across heterogeneous storage systems.
While he does not define “application storage virtualization”, I believe all the vendors mentioned, would take exception to the statement that their products are in alpha version. IBM has been shipping their SAN Volume controller since 2003. HP has been shipping their EVA, block virtualization product for some time and is also OEMing the Hitachi Universal Storage Platform. Oracle is really more of a file virtualization manager, but they have been in the virtualization business for some time. Even EMC announced their Invista back in 2004.

He also does not define what he means by more “mature forms of storage virtualization”. If there were more mature forms of storage virtualization technologies, wouldn’t they be considered “ripe”. Basic tiering and thin provisioning are pretty important technologies which can make a dramatic difference in ROI. Not all storage virtualization technologies can combine the two together. There are companies that can provide thin provisioning at the block level for their own proprietary systems, but only the Hitachi Universal Storage Platform can extend thin provisioning to heterogeneous storage that is virtualized behind it.

Storage virtualization is here today and many customers are already enjoying the benefits.    

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Comments (5 )

Dan Rumney on 09 Jun 2008 at 2:01 pm

I read this article with no small confusion at first until I arrived at the inference that “appliation storage virtualization” and “block storage virtualization” are not the same.

Also, I have to take exception to your comment that “only the Hitachi Universal Storage Platform can extend thin provisioning to heterogeneous storage that is virtualized behind it.”

SAN Volume Controller Version 4.3 also provides thin provisioning to heterogeneous storage virtualized behind it.

dedupinator on 10 Jun 2008 at 11:50 am

FalconStor’s IPStor v 6 platform for their virtualization and CDP solutions can also provide thin provisioning to heterogenous storage. Not only that, it can provide thin primary disks, thin mirrors, and thin replication targets.

I’m just saying, I’m not trying to bust Mr. Yoshida on this. It’s very hard to stay on top of what other vendors do and don’t offer. I assume an honest mistake unless I’ve reason to believe otherwise.

Hu Yoshida on 10 Jun 2008 at 4:53 pm

I believe that application storage virtualization means virtualizing the interface between the application and the storage, and this can be done in many ways, including block and file and internal and external storage.

I searched the IBM website using the keywords “thin Provisioning” and SVC 4.3 but could not find anything except for the blogging of Barry Whyte which was not enlightening.

Please send me a reference as to how this is implemented in the SVC.

Dan Rumney on 11 Jun 2008 at 7:24 am

The following press release talks about SAN Volume Controller’s Space Efficient VDisks:

You might also be interested in this press release about IBM’s Project Big Green, of which SAN Volume Controller is no small part:

Hu Yoshida on 13 Jun 2008 at 12:39 pm

Thanks, I saw the press releases dated June 11.

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