Second tier disk array and RAID controller supplier LSI Logic is buying a storage area network drive array software virtualisation company called StoreAge for fifty million bucks. LSI Logic becomes only the second drive array manufacturer to have its own array virtualisation capability (after HDS). EMC and IBM don't have it and place storage array virtualisation in the SAN fabric on boxes from Brocade/McData and Cisco.

LSI Logic is an OEM and sells arrays to, amongst others, IBM and Sun. This could mark the point where such virtualisation becomes a commodity component and starts to cease being a hulking big added value purchase.

What we might see is an LSI Logic alternative to HDS' TagmaStore virtualising array controllers. I can't see LSI Logic supplying virtualising software to run in fabric switches and directors. Cisco and Brocade/McDATA would probably appreciate having alternatives to IBM's SVC and EMC's InVista but LSI Logic is an OEM/reseller-selling company and would need partners to sell to end users. I'm afraid I can't see LSI Logic reselling partners selling StoreAge software in competition with heavyweight products like InVista and SVC.

Could QLogic take the products? It's moving into the director space. Maybe.

For LSI Logic CEO Abhi Talwalkar this is another bold move, coming after reversing the Engenio IPO.

Talwalkar said: "We are excited to add the significant capabilities of the StoreAge product portfolio to our industry-leading storage silicon, systems and software building block offerings. We look forward to welcoming StoreAge employees and continuing to serve the needs of StoreAge channel partners and OEM customers."

It looks as if this closes the door pretty firmly on LSI Logic buying Sun's apparently-up-for-sale 6920 virtualising storage array controller business.

StoreAge's website lists its products:-

- SVM (Storage Virtualization Manager) is an out-of-the-data-path (asymmetric) SAN appliance that provides virtual volume management and storage management across all storage within a SAN.
- multiView is a low-capacity snapshot copy application that creates multiple read/write point-in-time image copies of any virtualized volume on any storage device in a SAN.
- multiCopy is a data replication application that creates multiple read/write point-in-time physical copies of any virtualized volume on any storage device in a SAN.
- multiMirror offers enterprises an advanced Disaster Recovery solution via Asynchronous and Synchronous Mirroring, as well as Local and Remote Mirroring.

This is all Fibre Channel SAN stuff but I'm sure the technology is applicable to IP SANs and could be sited in a virtualising controller. Currently StoreAge's SVM runs on a commodity hardware base. What hardware will LSI Logic run it on?

For LSI Logic the future's bright - the future's virtual.