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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Confirmation that File Virtualization is hot

SearchStorage released an article today titled File virtualization tops hot technology index. As described here: "File virtualization beat archiving, data classification, encryption and ILM to the top spot," said Robert Stevenson, managing director of TheInfoPro's storage sector. He attributes the interest in file virtualization to network attached storage (NAS) growth in the data center, with average capacity deployments in the last month at 220 terabytes (TB) and the long project timelines needed for block virtualization. "Storage professionals have been focusing their near-term energies and budgets on improving file content management," Stevenson said.

You read it here first
This aligns with my ideal SAN as described in my post on 19-Sep. In my SAN, information is stored in meaningful groupings (files) with associated properties that let the storage servers apply useful data services based on the information being stored. In addition, I want many of the virtualization features available for today's block SANs including mirroring, striping, and remote replication across multiple storage devices. It seems I'm not alone and that Fortune 1000 storage admins are interested in the same thing.

Note to Technology Venture Investors
The article goes on to state that there are no standards around this technology yet, so every file virtualization and namespace technology has a different way of talking to storage services.. That is true but the underlying standards are evolving in the form of pNFS and NFS V4++. As I commented in my pNFS post, helping to evolve pNFS, and building the data services and APIs above that top my list of promising start-up opportunities. If I were leading such a startup, I would execute a strategy of building this software in open source, on Linux, and would partner with storage vendors such as NetApp, Panasas, and maybe even EMC, and define the APIs in cooperation with as many ISVs as I could, including Oracle and Microsoft. Such a startup has a good chance of then being acquired by one of these companies.