IBM blasts EMC on standards

Storing and retrieving data across different platforms is going to be key to the future of e-business, an IBM storage executive claims.

And while IBM is working to make its storage gear able to work with that of other vendors, Big Blue is having trouble with one particular vendor. EMC, or so IBM claims, remains beholden to its own proprietary standards, argues Linda Sanford, general manager of IBM's Storage Subsystems division.

EMC is currently the leader in network storage, a position IBM covets. Sanford claims that within a few years, storage will account for 75 per cent of all hardware spending in networks. In turn, she estimates business-to-business transactions will be worth $7 trillion by 2004.

Sanford offered these nuggets of wisdom while giving the keynote address on Monday at the SHARE technical user conference held at the Hynes auditorium in Boston. The conference drew some 2,000 participants.

Given IBM's back and forth sniping with EMC over standards, it was no surprise Sanford took the opportunity to potshot its arch storage rival yet again. She claims that IBM's high-end Shark Enterprise Storage Server, introduced last year, is making some headway against EMC: 50 per cent of all EMC shops have a Shark installed.

With the growth of business-to-business transactions and the rising prominence of enterprise resources planning, customer relationship management and other heavy data crunching applications, storage is going to become even more important. E-business has transformed storage more dramatically than any other technology in computing.

Some customers are even doubling their storage capacity every few months. What will be crucial is making sure that storage devices are able to work with a variety of other machines -- not just mainframes and servers, but also with handheld devices like PalmPilots as well, Sanford says. In turn, storage vendors must make sure their gear can work with that of other vendors.

To make this happen, IBM and other vendors, such as its partner, Compaq Computer, will work to make EMC and others that are "clinging to proprietary standards" increasingly more isolated. "EMC is one of those vendors not willing to make a real commitment to progress," Sanford says.

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