Storage systems will move to Linux, so the software part of the system can keep pace with falling hardware costs, according to vendors flocking to the LinuxWorld show in San Francisco this week. Vendors in both fields are putting together solutions which will persuade IT managers to move to open source on storage networks.

Together with Red Hat, Network Appliance announced joint development of Linux storage protocols and – in a move calculated to win IT managers’ hearts – the two companies will handle technical support calls jointly. Meanwhile, Veritas and a bunch of other vendors offered products and deals aimed at making Linux storage more convincingly enterprise-grade.

Red Hat and Network Appliance will jointly market storage services such as consolidation and data protection using NetApp storage systems in an environment using Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The two companies will formally certify their products to work together and start their campaign in the Autumn.

Network Appliance spokesmen stressed this was not a religious conversion, but a pragmatic response to what users are actually doing. “The key thing is to make sure we have an open approach to whatever will help customers drive their IT infrastructures,” said Ashley Robinson, marketing manager EMEA. “People are moving to Linux on blade configurations and storage is a key part of this.” In other words, the deal is based in part on the simple fact that blade architectures reduce the cost of storage hardware, which makes it more important to cut software costs correspondingly – hence Linux.

Other storage vendors agree, using LinxWorld as a venue to publicly pounce on the storage needs of the Linux market.

Veritas released its Foundation Suite for Linux on IBM mainframes, so Veritas File System and File Manager work on zSeries mainframes under Linux – suiting the use of zSeries as a Linux consolidation server, something which IBM is promoting. Veritas also released agents for its Veritas Cluster Server, tailored for specific databases (IBM DB2, MySQL and Oracle) and are intended to increase availability, and help users build utility-style datacentres.

Sistina Software and CommVault Systems used LinuxWorld to announce an OEM agreement, under which they will integrate Sistina’s file services and volume management products with CommVault’s QiNetix data management software. This is the first time foundation level (file and block) storage software has been integrated with enterprise level data protection software for high Linux, Intel-blade environments, claims CommVault.

The announcements cover all major storage technologies. While Pyx launched tools to build iSCSI storage networks on Linux, Dot Hill showed a Fibre Channel SAN for Linux environments, using its SANnet II product.

IBM, meanwhile featured in the show awards, earning an award (for “Open Source Product Excellence, in the Best Storage Data Storage Solution) for its Tivoli Storage Management product.