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StorageTek's V2X SVA gives customers' investment value

StorageTek announced a new version of the Shared Virtual Array, the V2X. The V2X provides enhancements over the original V960 in a number of specific areas, and is scheduled for general availability in mid-September 2002. Additional software enhancements for the Virtual Power Suite were also announced.

The StorageTek announcement of the V2X and enhancements to the Virtual Power Suite software include:

Cache memory and bandwidth -- The maximum effective cache memory has increased to a maximum of 96 GB. The effective cache represents a real cache capacity multiplies by the expected amount of compression in memory of the data with the data compression hardware algorithms. The overall bandwidth into cache has been extended to 1,600 MB/s. This does not represent a throughput number but only the actual cache bandwidth.

Fibre Channel disk backend -- The V2X represents a change in the backend storage utilized in the V960. Fibre Channel drives are used with Fibre Channel loops. Currently 36GB 15,000 RPM Fibre Channel drives are supported with an announced plan for support of 73B disk drives in 1Q03.

Evaluator Group comments:

This was a very necessary move since with the prior SSA backend; the SVA was limited in capacity. 18GB SSA drives were the last ones produced (IBM has discontinued manufacture of SSA drives) and STK was left with the option of using a SCSI disk with an SSA translator card or changing the interface.

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The Fibre Channel interface will give greater performance and capacity opportunities in the future.

Increased addressing -- The number of virtual addresses supported (either S/390 volumes or LUNs) is increased to 4,096. The V960 only supported 1,024 addresses so this represents a significant improvement.

Evaluator Group comments:

This was also a much-needed improvement. With larger capacity disks more volume addresses were needed. Additionally, the use of volume snapshots consumed virtual addresses so the 1,024 could have been limiting.

"Physical array capacity" = 52 data drives x 36.4GB = 1,892.8GB

"Virtual capacity" - user addressable capacity
4,096 volumes x 2.83GB = 11.6TB (3390-3)
1,369 volumes x 8.51GB = 11.6TB (3390-9)

"Effective capacity" - real capacity and compression
4:1 compression x 1,892.8 = 7.6TB (with 36GB drives)

New Fibre Channel host ports -- The implementation of Fibre Channel on the V960 limited the transfer rate to 20MB/s. The V2X has new Fibre Channel interface hardware that increases the bandwidth to 60MB/s.

Increased performance -- Faster processors coupled with the increased bandwidth, cache capacity, and faster disk backend have improved overall performance by a stated 33%.

Virtual power suite improvements -- Server elements of the Virtual Power Suite of software for the SVA were announced along with the hardware. SVA Path now includes cluster support for Microsoft Cluster Server, IBM HA/CMP, HP MC/ServiceGuard and Veritas Cluster Server. The SVA Administrator software has added a Point-In-Time reporter to give information on the disk system performance. PowerPPRC, the synchronous remote copy solution, is now supported for open system environments.

Evaluator Group comments:

The new V2X with the enhancements over the V960 model continues the progression of StorageTek's virtual disk system. Many units have been sold under the Iceberg, RVA, SVA labels and the newest model continues the effectiveness of managed storage and capacity. The enhancements themselves are logical improvement steps that customers can use to advantage. A customer that has made an investment in the virtual architecture and integrated in the operational environment will be able to continue to make use of virtual disk without additional changes.

Probably more important than the release of the product to many of those customers is the clear message it gives that StorageTek is continuing the product line so the customer investment made will still have value.

The software enhancements are expected improvements that expand the breadth of system coverage for the V2X.

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This was first published in September 2002

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