SNW '04: Eyeing on-demand storage, IBM refreshes software

IBM has updated its TotalStorage Open Software with support for CNT's new replication appliance.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Moving a step closer to its goal of storage on demand, IBM Corp. today announced updates to its TotalStorage Open Software product line with the intention of helping users automate and virtualize their storage.

Coming fresh on the heels of the company's release of the DS6000 and DS8000 storage arrays two weeks ago, the upgrades include enhancements to SAN File System, SAN Volume Controller (SVC), the TotalStorage Productivity Center and Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM). Taken together, the software upgrades demonstrate IBM's march to an on-demand environment, where storage resources are made available to the user as needed.

Arun Taneja, founder and senior consultant of Taneja Group, Hopkinton, Mass., said the software upgrades should be seen in the context of IBM's DS6000 and DS8000 arrays. "Individually, the upgrades are not barn burners … but seen as a comprehensive move to on-demand computing, they are important. I think IBM is moving faster than any company to this dream of virtualizing the whole data center."

Taneja stressed that with SVC, IBM is doing virtualization the right way. "The SVC is a pure virtualization product, because it doesn't care what kind of storage it's working with. It doesn't have to be the master of the network, as opposed to how HDS does virtualization in the array where you must have an HDS box."

Each of the upgrades has improved scalability, ease of use and the ability to manage diverse storage devices, analysts said. Nancy Hurley, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group, Milford, Mass., noted that although the announcement is broad, it does include simplified features that will benefit users. Hurley said the improved usability of TSM is the most important piece. "I think a lot of the features of TSM were 'hidden' before. They were either difficult to get to or had to be done through scripting," Hurley said.

Here's a summary of the TotalStorage Open Software family of products:

IBM TotalStorage SAN File System v2.2: Can enable policy-based movement and deletion of files among various tiers of storage, providing the ability to match the value of data to the appropriate class of storage. Security permissions have been strengthened for heterogeneous file sharing among Windows, Linux and Unix environments. SAN File System also expands host support, including the ability to extend SAN File System capabilities to the IP network.

IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller v1.2.1: SVC doubles the cluster size to eight nodes to deliver twice the performance and quadruples the number of supported virtual disks (4096 virtual disks per cluster) available to host applications. SVC can also manage more diverse storage environments by supporting attachment to Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Virtual Arrays and the new IBM TotalStorage DS8000 and DS6000, in addition to arrays from EMC and Hitachi Data Systems. SAN Volume Controller also provides replication capabilities for global mirroring through the CNT UltraNet Replication Appliance.

IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center 2.1: A storage infrastructure management suite that provides features that help improve installation, tighten integration with other TotalStorage Open Software products and enhance reporting flexibility. Direct integration with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager can allow users to easily set policies to automatically trigger Tivoli Storage Manager to back up or archive identified files. IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center 2.1 also offers a common agent across the suite, new reporting capabilities, and additional platform and device support.

IBM Tivoli Storage Manager 5.3: This upgrade offers a new graphical user interface, installation and configuration tools.

IBM spokespeople said SVC will be put to good use with CNT's new UltraNet Replication Appliance (URA). The Minneapolis, Minn.-based company today announced the availability of URA, which offers SAN-based local and remote heterogeneous data replication services over unlimited distances. IBM has certified the URA to extend their TotalStorage SVC to remote sites, providing additional disaster recovery. The URA's replication portfolio includes local and remote mirroring, snapshot replication and the ability to roll back to previous snapshots.

The CNT appliance is immediately available. The updated IBM TotalStorage Open Software products are expected to be available during the fourth quarter of 2004.

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