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As the amount of data being stored in the open systems environment continues to grow, new paradigms for the attachment and management of data and the underlying storage of the data are emerging. One of the emerging technologies in this area is the storage area network (SAN). Using a SAN to connect large amounts of storage to large numbers of computers gives us the potential for new approaches to accessing, sharing, and managing our data and storage. However, existing operating systems and file systems are not built to exploit these new capabilities. IBM Storage Tank™ is a SAN-based distributed file system and storage management solution that enables many of the promises of SANs, including shared heterogeneous file access, centralized management, and enterprise-wide scalability. In addition, Storage Tank borrows policy-based storage and data management concepts from mainframe computers and makes them available in the open systems environment. This paper explores the goals of the Storage Tank project, the architecture used to achieve these goals, and the current and future plans for the technology.
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