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3Par does logical partitioning

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3Par is releasing new software today for dividing an InServ array into separate virtual devices.

Instead of relying on physical and manual separation of storage resources, 3Par's new Virtual Domains software uses logical partitioning. The technology allows each domain to be dynamically resized, while keeping each section safely separated by a firewall.

"This targets the last remaining storage consolidation holdout," said Craig Nunes, 3Par veep of marketing. "We're after businesses that have application data they want to keep segregated from a security standpoint."

The software allows an InServ array to be divided into as many as 2,000 domains. Each can be managed by its own storage administrator and assigned to separate user groups or computers.

Using Virtual Domains, 3Par envisions making the central storage admin more of a service provider — dividing storage like a latter-day King Solomon between the lesser admins, applications, departments and external customers.

Because users only have access to the domains to which they have been granted, they can independently administer and monitor the system without exposing the actions or data to other users on separate domains.

Domains can be separated based on policy or hardware as well. For instance, a section can use only cheaper secondary storage. The virtual partitions support 3Par's thin provisioning software too.

While partitioning software is also offered by EMC, Hitachi and IBM — 3Par claims more dynamic mojo via Virtual Domains.

Nunes believes this difference makes the software big deal.

"It's a big deal," said Nunes (we told you so). "But we've got a lot of educating to do, because we're going to be the only vendor who's talking about this technology for a while."

Virtual Domains is shipping now, with a list price starting at $1,500. A typical installation with 100 drives and 10TB of capacity will cost between $10,000 and $20,000. ®

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