IBM to Open Source New Storage Technology

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IBM (Quote, Company Info) this week pledged to
issue an open-source version of its pending Storage Tank technology to lure
those inclined toward tinkering with code.

Researchers at the Armonk, N.Y.-based concern’s Almaden Research Lab in San
Jose are working with an undisclosed open-source group on the software and
will release the code in 2003, according to published reports. Spokespeople
for IBM’s Storage Systems Group could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Storage Tank is a technology designed to get more use out of existing
storage systems and make them easier to manage. Rather than the old “rip and
replace” modus operandi, existing systems can be linked so much more data
may be stored. Storage Tank
relies on metadata (define) such as locations, file sizes or
access permissions to function. The product, used on Intel servers running
Linux, spreads data across a group of servers to tap greater resources and
plenty more files.

Also, certain files can be automatically moved to a particular storage pool
to share resources and enhance productivity for the IT staff and servers
themselves. Storage Tanks also addresses the oft-maligned, omnipresent
interoperability issue of heterogeneous systems: the technology allows the
same files to be accessed by different operating systems — a holy grail of
sorts in the storage software sector.

IBM has crafted a facilitative software agent to help servers with disparate
operating systems use Storage Tank and plans to release it to the public
next year. This will let others write agents to use Storage Tank, which IBM
officials hope will one day store 1 billion files.

By releasing the code for developers to inspect, IBM is extending its
already considerable open-source tendrils into the storage arena. Big Blue
already supports a good deal of open-source endeavors through the Eclipse software development project, of
which its is a voting member.

IBM’s last major storage push was its TotalStorage Enterprise Storage
Server, code-named “Shark”, over three years ago. Since that time, the firm
has introduced a full line of open storage networking products, including
network attached storage and midrange storage disk servers, as well as new
tape products, to compete with other systems vendors such as Hitachi , EMC (Quote, Company Info), and HP (Quote, Company Info), to name a few.

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Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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