IBM Jazzes Up Storage Virtualization Portfolio

As the IT industry pushes to make data retrievable from many devices, using one portal window, it stands to reason that the underlying technology, storage virtualization , is so prized. Virtualization helps enterprises lower their costs because they need fewer storage devices, components and staffers to manage the wealth of data across their networks.

But because so few firms have both the technology and the ability to market it and sell it to customers, development of the virtualization in the market has lagged, analysts said.

IBM, which battles systems and enterprise vendors EMC, HP and Hitachi Data Systems in the storage sector, has revealed details and pricing about two new offerings from its TotalStorage unit that manage storage from many places in one large pool.

IBM said SAN (Storage Area Network) Volume Controller was created for such chores as rendering a single point of control for a stored data common platform, as well as helping to boost storage capacity use, which can be a challenge for administrators.

It pools data from different arrays into one device, and safely delivers data to server applications. SAN Volume Controller lets administrators scale storage capacity by adding disks to the attached storage arrays, IBM said. This scaling for throughput and capacity is done without disrupting applications, yielding performance of up to 280,000 input/outputs per second and up to 1,780 MB per second of throughput and as much as two petabytes of pooled storage.

But for those seeking to install a new storage area network, Big Blue is offering the SAN Integration Server, which consists of the SAN Volume Controller, along with Fibre Channel switches and IBM FAStT storage rolled into one storage area network suite.

Enterprise Storage Group
Senior Analyst Tony Prigmore said SAN Volume Controller is tailored for
enterprises who’d like to retro-fit virtualization into an existing SAN,
while the SAN Integration Server is a “plug-and-play” into a company’s
infrastructure. Prigmore also discussed what SAN Volume Controller and SAN
Integration Server bring to the table for customers.

“From a client-side perspective, IBM has been very successful selling IBM
large volumes of ESS high-end Shark arrays and the FastT array to the
midranges,” Prigmore told “They have an enormous
client base with both, but the SAN Volume Controller is for the client base
looking for a more pragmatic approach so they don’t have to support every
device on the planet out of the box. This is very helpful to large captive
customer base looking to drive down lower total cost of ownership.”

Virtualization adoption has been a bit slow in the public sector, which
Prigmore attributed to relatively small companies, such as FalconStor, Data Core and StoreAge, pushing the concept of
virtualization as a standalone technology. “The technology was good, but
they don’t have the reach to develop fully-baked solutions.”

Prigmore said IBM’s next step will be to qualify other devices beyond SAN
volume controller to provide appeal beyond its own client base. “They now
have a virtualization product family. Today we see block-level
virtualization capabilities with SAN Volume, but importantly it paves the
way for more customers to easily adopt advanced storage functions, such as
remote copy.”

He said firms like IBM and HP, with all of their marketing, channel and
service capabilities, will push virtualization into the forefront of the
public realm, where they will eventually go head to head competing for new

Brian Truskowski, general manager, IBM Storage Software, said the
advancements in IBM’s storage virtualization portfolio, first announced
April 30 as part of IBM’s third leg on on-demand progress, are indicative of
the company’s progress in molding their offerings to be deployed on the fly
for demanding e-business environments. But exact pricing and specifics were
unavailable at that time.

The SAN Volume Controller, which runs on IBM’s xSeries servers powered by
the Linux operating system, has a base configuration price tag of $60,000.
The SAN Integration Server has a base configuration price of $140,000. Both
products will be available July 25.

IBM also said it would later add it virtualization family to its IBM TotalStorage Proven Program, where independent software vendors
can test products for interoperability with other solutions. IBM will ship
virtualization products that support IBM storage servers and will expand to
non-IBM storage systems later in 2003.

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