FAQ about the IBM SAN FS

Editor's note: Following his recent live Webcast titled "IBM's StorageTank -- It's finally here. Now, what?" Jamie Gruener, senior analyst for the Yankee Group, fielded questions from the audience. For some

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of the more technical questions that he didn't have the answers to, he followed up with IBM. Here are more technical details on IBM's SAN FS.

SearchStorage.com member: Is there a procedure to allow an existing file system to be migrated to the new with no downtime?

Jamie Gruener: For release 1 IBM does not have a nondisruptive data migration tool. IBM is working on one for a future release.

SearchStorage.com member: How does the use of a metadata server compare with Sun's QFS filesystem?

Gruener: IBM didn't want to comment on this...

SearchStorage.com member: Can you be more specific about how there will be improved manageability? It sounds like there will be a need for additional resources to support this.

Gruener: With todays file systems, you need to manage the file system for each server individually. The storage administrators need to assign storage volumes and monitor the usage for each server. With the SAN File System you will be able to manage the storage and data for all of the servers together. This in and of itself can save storage administration resources.

In addition, the SAN File System provides automated file space allocation into storage pools that match the requirements for data. For example, data that needs high performance storage will be put into that storage pool and data that needs lower performance storage will be put into that storage pool. The servers will be able to use all of the types of storage without having to manually assign storage volumes to the individual servers. This can save storage administration resources in reducing tasks for moving data.

SearchStorage.com member: How large can the SAN FS scale?

Gruener: The first release of the SAN File System is limited in terms of the number of volumes (LUNs) that can be supported. The SAN File System will support 126 single path LUNs or 63 multi-path LUNs. IBM plans to eliminate this limitation in the second release of the SAN File System. The SAN File System is designed to support very large volumes of data. We have tested the SAN File System with a million files.

SearchStorage.com member: Is SAN Volume Controller a pre-requisite for SAN File System?

Gruener: No, the first release of the SAN File System will work with either IBM Enterprise Storage Server (ESS) or with the SAN Volume Controller. When using the SAN File System with the SAN Volume Controller, you can have any type of storage that is supported by the SAN Volume Controller.


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This was first published in October 2003

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