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IBM Q&A with Jens Tiedemann

Shane O'Neill
SearchStorage.com recently asked Jens Tiedemann, vice president of IBM TotalStorage Open Software, about some of IBM's storage directions. Here's what he had to say.

What are the areas of IBM's TotalStorage services that you will be focusing on over the next six months?
Tiedemann: We are focusing on three areas. First, simplifying the overall storage infrastructure through virtualization. What our virtualization products really do is cut the umbilical cord between servers and storage, so application servers will never experience downtime. This makes a storage admin's job much easier. With SAN Volume Controller and SAN File System, we are the leader in virtualization technology.

Second, we are also paying close attention to information lifecycle management (ILM) --not only the management of hierarchical data, but also analyzing what the data means and enforcing policies about data. And of course there's compliance -- also part of ILM -- where massive amounts of data must be stored in a controlled environment, but also be available. Our new Data Retention Server 450 System (started shipping in March 2004) was designed to address this very need.

Our third area of focus is data resiliency and disaster recovery. Again, with a virtualized infrastructure you don't need to have the same storage device at two sites. You have the freedom to replicate data to a less expensive storage device at your remote site.

Based on user feedback, what are

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the latest storage industry trends that you will be incorporating into IBM's products?
Tiedemann: Compliance regulations and data resiliency are the big concerns in the banking industry, where money is being stored as data. With regulations looming, banks and other big companies need data to be locked away, yet still accessible. In telecommunications, everyone is quite interested in Voice over IP (VoIP). In retail, the worry is how to track products at an individual level and how to store and manage terabytes of purchases. All of these issues can be addressed with Tivoli storage manager (TSM), SAN File System and Data Retention Server 450, to name a few.

What has IBM done so far in 2004 to make itself a stronger storage company and what will it do to continue making progress?
Tiedemann: We've made investments across the board -- from research to development to the marketing of products. We think our virtualization products will set the scene for awhile. And we'll continue to invest money in them.

Who do you see as IBM's biggest competition in the storage space, and why?
Tiedemann: We have an eye on EMC and Hewlett-Packard. The goal is to continue taking market share from them. We have EMC on the run as far as virtualization. We've brought successful virtualization products to market, while they're talking about 2005 and 2006 releases.

How is your storage strategy for the next half year different or better than the competition's?
Tiedemann: We've learned to hold back on touting something until we can deliver on it. And we're now delivering on virtualization products that will make the storage admin's job a 2 p.m. job instead of a 2 a.m. job. We've also got a leg up on automation of workflow between servers and storage. I'm not trying to be all "peace and love" here, but another big part of our strategy is being open-minded. We're big supporters of SNIA, and unlike some other companies, we're not reactive.

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