IBM enhances its distributed storage family

IBM enhances its distributed storage family

IBM announced several enhancements to its distributed storage family; the IBM FAStT500 Storage Server has expanded its platform support and management and IBM has introduced a new distributed storage subsystem, the FAStT700. The FAStT700 is a Fibre-To-Fibre RAID Array offering improved performance via the incorporation of 2Gbit Fibre Channel and improved management capabilities with the introduction of the FAStT Storage Manager V8.0....

The FAStT700 is targeted for both homogeneous and heterogeneous SAN environments (high-performance SMP/Cluster configurations and midrange distributed servers). The FAStT700 retains the RAS features of the FAStT500 that include dynamic component replacement, non-disruptive software and micro-code upgrades, and remote maintenance. However, more importantly via the FAStT Storage Manager V8.0, IBM has added a subsystem-based point-in-time copy function (FlashCopy) and a subsystem-based peer-to-peer Remote Mirror (Campus distance support). The FAStT7000 supports both FC-AL and Fibre Channel fabric attachment (Class-2 service) and offers subsystem-based LUN-Masking for SAN security.

Additionally, IBM has added the TotalStorage FAStT FC-2 Host Bus Adapter to its xSeries and Netfinity servers. The FAStT FC-2 HBA features 2 Gb/s technology and supports point-to-point, FC-AL, FC-AL-2 and switched fabric topologies.

Announcement highlights

FAStT700 Storage Server - IBM announced what they have called its third generation of FAStT storage subsystems, the FAStT700 Storage Server. The FAStT700 is the integration of IBM packaging and the LSI Logic Storage Systems 4884 controller module. The FAStT700 supports up to eight host connections (via mini-hubs) and two redundant device loops. The subsystem will support up to 220 disk drives with a maximum capacity of 16 terabytes. Drives supported are 36GB and 73Gb at 10K rpm. IBM stated performance was up to 120K I/O ops per second and 390 MB/s bandwidth. The FAStT700 is available on December 14, 2001. The FAStT Remote Copy is available March 29, 2002.

The controller module features the following:

  • Dual-active controllers (2 Gb/sec Fibre Channel)
  • RAID 0, 1, 3, 5, 10 support
  • GB R/W cache (mirror option and battery backup)
  • Redundant power and cooling
  • (4) two-port mini hubs are standard (two on the host interface and two on the device interface) Up to two additional host and two additional device mini hubs are available
  • Management is via FAStT700 Storage Manager V8.0
    1. Supports up to 64 storage partitions (hosts), and up to 32 logical drives (LUNs) per partition. The total available LUNs is 2,048
    2. Enables the expansion of logical volumes dynamically
    3. Supports the optional FAStT FlashCopy and FAStT Remote Mirror

The FAStT700 Storage Server is supported on the following network operating systems:

  • NetWare 5.1
  • Windows NT 4.0 Server
  • Windows NT 4.0 Enterprise Edition
  • Windows 2000 Server
  • Windows 2000 Advanced server
  • Linux Red Hat 7.1

TotalStorage FASt700 Pricing

Description Purchase Price
TotalStorage FAStT700 Storage Server $46,499
FAStT FC-2 Host Bus Adapter (Intel-based PCI Systems) $1,485
Short-Wave SFP GBIC $499
Long-Wave SFP GBIC $1,099
FAStT700 Mini Hub $899
FAStT Storage Manager V8.0 $2,999
FAStT FlashCopy Activation $10,499
FAStT Remote Mirror Activation $33,299

TotalStorage FAStT500 Enhancement - The TotalStorage FAStT500 is an integration of IBM packaging and the LSI Logic Storage Systems 4774 controller. The FAStT500 is targeted for SAN and open-systems single or partitioned servers. A single subsystem can support up to 220 disk drives scaling in capacity up to 16 TB (73 GB disk drives). The FAStT500 is a full fiber channel solution (1 Gb/s device and host) supporting four redundant fiber channel host connections and two redundant fiber channel loops as the drive interface.

With this announcement, IBM has expanded the platform support to include AIX and enhanced the management with the addition of the FAStT Storage Manager V8.0. The addition of the FAStT Storage Manager V8.0 upgrade will allow existing users to incorporate the FlashCopy and Remote Mirroring features.

The FAStT500 now supports the following platforms:

  • AIX
  • Sun Solaris
  • HP-UX
  • Windows NT/2000
  • Novell NetWare
  • Linux

IBM provided the following roadmap for FAStT features:

  • AIX 5.1, HACMP, RVSD, GPFS for FAStT500 - 1stH, 2002
  • FAStT700 for AIX and other UNIX platforms - 2ndH, 2002
  • FlashCopy for Intel-based platforms - 4thQ, 2001
  • Remote Mirroring for Intel-based platforms - 1stH, 2002
  • FlashCopy and Remote Mirroring for AIX/UNIX platforms - 2ndH, 2002

Evaluator Group comments:

The FAStT700 is based on the latest generation LSI controller, the 4884. The new controller offers increased performance via new microprocessors, increased internal bandwidth, and 2 Gbit Fibre Channel at the host and device interfaces. The stated performance of the FAStT700 is twice that of the FAStT500 (120K I/O/sec versus 60K I/O/sec). However of more importance is the introduction of the Storage Manager V8.0. The new Storage Manager release incorporates both a PIT Copy feature and a Remote Mirroring feature. LUN support has been expanded to 2,048 and host support to 64. Additionally, logical volumes can be dynamically expanded with the V8.0 release. IBM is also offering the Storage Manager V8.0 as an upgrade to existing FAStT500 users. With the Storage Manager V8.0, both the FAStT500 and FAStT700 should be attractive options for SAN consolidation offerings. The FAStT family of storage arrays are now the primary distributed storage arrays sold by IBM. Both the Netfinity and SSD divisions have settled on the same storage arrays. Previously, Netfinity was marketing the FAStT arrays while SSD was marketing the Modular Storage Server sourced from Compaq. IBM has quietly announced the MSS as end-of-life.

The FAStT700 and FAStT500 are excellent additions to the TotalStorage family and should be considered as options when mainframe attachment is not required.

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To view all Storage Evaluator analyses and commentaries, go to http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/tipsIndex/0,289482,sid5_tax287810,00.html ================================================

The Evaluator Series and Evaluator Series On-Line (ES/OL) are trademarks of Evaluator Group, Inc.


This was first published in November 2001

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