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IBM makes it easier for Linux users to manage RAID arrays and servers

Linux system administrators, IBM has a gift for you: tools that let you manage your storage from afar.

Do you think you have to be face-to-face with your RAID array in order to install, manage and monitor the system? Well, IBM says it has some good news for you.

Armonk, N.Y.-headquartered IBM has developed a suite of software enhancements designed to give Linux system administrators, systems integrators and OEMs a better handle on managing and integrating its Mylex and ProFibre RAID storage products. Mylex, an IBM business unit, makes RAID controllers and RAID management tools for Big Blue's storage offerings

Dubbed the Global Array Manager (GAM) suite for Linux, the new tools allow an administrator with Internet access to install, configure, monitor and manage a RAID array from a Linux-based client from any location.

David Walling, a spokesperson for Mylex Storage Systems said that IBM recognized the need for Linux support and that Big Blue is responding to growing customer demand for easier management of RAID arrays and servers, whether those servers run Linux or another operating system.

Linux, a Unix-like operating system with a reputation for its efficiency and fast performance, was designed to provide users a free or very low-cost operating system comparable to more expensive Unix systems.

Jamie Gruener, senior analyst, E-Networks and Broadband Access, Yankee Group, Boston, Mass., said Linux is fast earning its stripes in the storage market. Most storage vendors are actively expanding product support for the OS.

"Better storage management at the array level is important," Gruener said.

Gruener said that the advent of Linux has been a windfall in other areas of storage like NAS.

"Appliances in general have a significant focus on Linux," said Gruener. "NAS is a natural extension of that."

But, while the main interest in Linux is found among users seeking an alternative to Windows, Gruener said don't count Windows out when it comes to storage. "[Microsoft] is making an aggressive push into the NAS world," he said.

According to IBM, users who manage enterprise storage and Windows NT, Windows 2000, NetWare or UnixWare servers can do so from a GAM-enabled Linux client.

GAM allows the user to monitor physical and logical devices, events and environmental factors like enclosure temperatures and fan speeds. The suite also offers mirroring, second drive failure recovery, RAID level migration, background patrol read and host-to-LUN masking for heterogeneous environments, IBM said.

IBM said these applications run on top of the Mylex device driver embedded in the latest Linux distributions from Red Hat, SuSE, Caldera and Turbolinux.

The GAM suite supports Linux, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Solaris x86, NetWare and SCO OpenServer operating systems.

Framingham, Mass.-based analyst firm IDC predicts that Linux will be running on more than 40% of servers by 2005.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor


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