RealTime IT News

IBM 'Virtually' Upping Storage Ante

IBM continued to apply pressure to rival EMC on the virtualization front with products that help customers improve how they shuttle data throughout different storage systems.

SAN File System, SAN Volume Controller and Productivity Center from IBM's TotalStorage Open Software family have new application availability features that officials say improve the company's ability to offer information lifecycle management (ILM).

IBM, which unveiled the enhancements at Storage Networking World 2004 in Orlando, Fla., will begin selling the new versions in the fourth quarter this year.

Jeff Barnett, manager of market strategy for TotalStorage Open Software family, said SAN File System (SFS) v2.2 can now allow administrators to shuttle or delete files between storage tiers, based on policy. For example, seldom-used files can be moved from high-performing disk storage to lower cost disks based on serial ATA .

This allows customers to tie the value of data to the right class of storage in order to curb costs, which is the cornerstone of ILM. IBM, EMC, HP and others are implementing the increasingly popular strategy to help customers manage unstructured data and meet compliance guidelines.

Attached application server per processor charges for the IBM TotalStorage SAN File System are $2000. Per processor metadata server charges are $10,000.

Barnett told internetnews.com that SAN Volume Controller (SVC) 1.2.1 provides twice the performance with eight nodes, up from four in previous iterations. The nodes also render four times the number of virtual disks available to host applications.

Moreover, in the interest of working with disparate products, SVC can now attach to HP Enterprise Virtual Arrays, several arrays from EMC and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), and the Armonk, N.Y. concern's new TotalStorage DS8000 and DS6000 systems, announced in New York earlier this month.

A base configuration of SVC, which to corrals up to 2 terabytes of storage is $60,000.

By adding the new storage systems and upgrading its key storage virtualization software, which pools data from several resources and makes data accessible through a manageable console, IBM believes it is gaining a competitive advantage over EMC.

While EMC's storage systems sales are strong, the company is being pressured to produce virtualization capabilities that match IBM and HDS, which unveiled their own virtualized storage platform last month.

EMC, which kicked off the current ILM gold rush in 2003, is expected to answer with a product called a Storage Router in 2005.

Barnett also said the TotalStorage Productivity Center 2.1, a storage infrastructure management suite, provides new features to make it easier for administrators to install, and can integrate better with SVC and SFS. Also, the software can now trigger Tivoli Storage Manager to back up or archive files to meet data retention policies.

Pricing for the Productivity Center starts at $5,000.

In related news, Tivoli Storage Manager 5.3 boasts a new graphical user interface, installation and configuration tools, and a new administrative center. The software starts at $345 per processor, $65 per client.