Here's all the best bits from the Storage Networking World Europe show last week:

ILM needs virtualisation

Storage virtualisation is back on the agenda, according to IDC analysts. John McArthur, general manager for IDC's information infrastructure group, says that the ability to virtualise both systems and storage is vital to the success of ILM (information lifecycle management) strategies.

"Virtualisation is one of those things that's been hyped, but it is very important," he says. "My background is in mainframes, and we mainframers understand the benefits of virtual machines.

"Companies are increasingly adopting VMware, for example one company I know has gone from 200 servers to eight four-way servers with VMware. IBM is executing very specifically on virtualisation too, using P-series processors to create virtual storage."

He adds that the best kind of virtualisation is the kind you don't think about because it is transparent - "you just deploy it and it runs."

Don't call us SRM!

That's the message from CreekPath, as it prepares to release version 3.2 of its eponymous storage management software next week. "The model is storage operations management, not SRM [storage resource management]" says Mike Koclanes, CreekPath's CTO and co-founder.

"People think of SRM as a reporting tool, but then there's active management, performance management and so on. A lot of our software is based around a central IT team acting as a business, so it's how do I manage costs, plan for new technologies, and show people that I'm meeting their demands?

"Standard SRM is reactive, this is proactive," he continued. "Initially it's what do I have? Then it's capacity planning. What I see over time is the storage infrastructure will be more integrated with business applications, so the management service will know what's available plus the best practices - the specific recovery and latency objectives - for Exchange, Oracle and so on."

NAS gets WAN-enabled
The latest challenge to the problems of WAN latency comes from Tacit Networks, which has opened a European office to sell its iShared NAS technology.

Tacit's marketing VP Noah Breslow says that its scheme is similar to content distribution devices such as Network Appliance's NetCache. However, instead of replicating shared content in read-only form, Tacit's file-locking allows users to share read/write access to files.

"We are the next step beyond content distribution networks - we only have a single logical copy no matter how many sites are accessing it," he says. "It's like working on a LAN, but LAN file-locking wasn't designed for WAN use, so we have optimised our locking mechanism and transport protocol for WANs."

The system relies on a central server plus client boxes at the remote sites. These are not cheap though, at $21,500 and $7,500 respectively.

The clients cache files locally, using byte level difference scanning to reduce the amount passed over the WAN. "Replication is similar [to Tacit] but requires one-to-one storage," Breslow adds. "We serve files fast enough that you don't need to replicate, so you only need a small filer locally."

WAN acceleration is a busy area at the moment: others doing it include Peribit and Expand for applications, and a range of companies - Tacit included - working on wide area file systems.