Jumping Through the Next Virtual Hoop

Arthur Cole

It's funny how new technologies often stretch into their second or even third generations before much of the buying public has even tapped into the first. Virtualization is a case in point; manufacturers are already moving beyond the partitioning and server consolidation benefits that made up the initial sales pitch.


Now, you hear people talking about using virtualization to benefit such things as storage provisioning and file clustering. Which isn't to say these are bad things or that somehow the powers that be are being disingenuous about virtualization. It's just that some of us would like to see the initial promises of a new technology carried out before we delve into more esoteric matters.


Cisco Systems is one of the latest to jump into virtualization's file management capabilities. With little fanfare, the company snapped up a small start-up called NeoPath, which specializes in virtual NAS appliances that pool resources into a single storage entity to be accessed by any number of servers.


3PAR is another firm that's taking virtualization and storage provisioning to new levels under its InForm operating system, which powers its line of InServe and InSpire systems. The company has developed something called "chunklets" within physical disk drives. At 256 MB each, they can be mixed and matched to suit numerous types of storage needs and performance levels.


Like I said, pushing the envelope on developing technologies is a welcome sign of a healthy market. But I'm sure many an enterprise manager who is just getting started with virtualization technology would like a chance to breathe before taking the next step.

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