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3PAR and Symantec team up to reclaim disk space

A new technology demonstrated at Storage Expo 2008 is aimed at tackling one of the problems with thin provisioning: empty space

The storage company 3PAR has teamed up with Symantec to add smart defragmentation to storage systems that support thin clients.

According to the companies, a combination of factors can lead to inefficient use of disk space by thin clients, which is best addressed by adding intelligence to storage appliance filing systems and the way they talk to the array hardware. Thin clients run their own filing systems on top of the appliances' own, and have no way of optimising the underlying disk usage.

According to 3PAR, which specialises in thin provisioning, and its partner Veritas, the storage arm of Symantec, thin clients regularly release small blocks of data that become free but get scattered around the disk. According to Veritas, the new software automatically monitors this at the file-system level and regularly gathers up the free blocks into larger, usable chunks, improving performance and efficiency.

This capability is intended to allow the Veritas File System to periodically communicate the location of free blocks to a 3PAR array as file deletions and changes happen within the file system. According to 3PAR, the partnership with Veritas "will enable 3PAR arrays to use this granular file system level information to autonomically reclaim unused space within thinly provisioned virtual volumes, thus maintaining high-capacity utilisation without impacting host applications".

David Scott, president and chief executive of 3PAR, told ZDNet.co.uk: "There will be no charge for the software, it will be incorporated into thin-provisioning software we already sell."