CA chief offers vision of Single Currency Storage

The concept of Single Currency Storage (SCS) was the topic of Tuesday's keynote address by Sanjay Kumar, president and CEO of Computer Associates International Inc., at Storage Networking World Fall 2001 here.

Data access from anywhere, storage location transparency, instantaneous access to data, and storage independent platforms are the key components of his SCS vision, Kumar said. The idea of SCS is to free data from a variety of hardware and software constraints, practically eliminating latency.

"Nearly 60 percent of our spending is focused around [SCS] because it is very, very powerful," he said.

A primary force driving SCS is the fast approaching wireless Internet, Kumar explained. "I believe that the wireless Internet is the next big wave of computing," and it should become practical within the next five years, he said.

But while the wireless Internet will help throttle SCS by addressing and utilizing all four key SCS components, Kumar said fundamental barriers still stand in the way of realizing SCS.

Constant demand for increased performance inside shrinking windows of time, multiple operating systems and devices, and what Kumar called "silo solutions" represent the main hurdles for SCS.

Kumar defined silo solutions as proprietary technology and products that performed "niche functions," and computing platforms that were fragmented or completely disconnected from each other. Complimenting trade show attendees, Kumar said progress was being made in eliminating silo solutions, but room for improvement remained.

"Between hardware and software vendors, the level of cooperation is very powerful now, but it's not where it needs to be. Silo solutions have been a very real problem," he said.

To achieve a global state of SCS, Kumar called on show attendees to have determination and vision, to think of storage in terms of architecture, and to apply the appropriate storage management.

Vision and determination required simply hunkering down, Kumar said.

"There are many companies today that know that users will demand real-time access to information, and they just have to live with it," Kumar said. "It is just a reality, and in the storage business we have to figure out a way to make it work."

As for thinking of storage in terms of architecture, Kumar said the industry was already halfway there.

"So many of us have computing architectures, we focus on NT or Unix or mainframe architectures, but not in terms of storage architectures. I encourage each of you to focus on having an architecture for storage," he said.

In terms of storage management, Kumar said it begins with a different approach to applications.

"Most application people are designing applications without storage as a consideration, and most customers are buying applications without considering storage, and that's a recipe for failure. We're deploying applications without concern for where the storage lands," he said. "More customers need to be thinking of building applications with a storage layer in the middle."

Kumar urged the industry to stop thinking in terms of operating environments and operating systems, and to demand that developers and vendors deliver applications that intelligently manage storage resources while running on multiple platforms.

"[The time] is absolutely coming where application transparency will come and run on any given platform and storage will be available anywhere," he said.

"The OS of the future will be secondary to applications and storage," Kumar said.

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