In a punchy announcement, IBM today significantly stepped up the appeal of its SVC storage virtualization system. In doing so, IBM widened its market lead in this technology, and also updated what it claims is almost its entire storage software lineup.
Once dismissive of the Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) acronym, IBM’s marketeers have belatedly jumped on the bandwagon, and, according to the company, the storage software updates it announced today are all related to the buzzword and related to IBM’s SAN File System, Tivoli Storage Manager, and Productivity Center applications.
Launched last year, SVC has put IBM into the lead over its major storage rivals in the storage virtualization arena. The appliance-based in-band system has sold to over 700 customers, and that number is growing by 70% to 90% per quarter, according to IBM. Today’s announcements double the maximum throughput of SVC, and fill out what were gaps in the list of third-party disk arrays whose capacity it can pool or virtualize.
The list has been extended to cover all of EMC’s Symmetrix DMX hardware, Hewlett-Packard’s mid-range EVA array, and the new IBM Shark DS6000 and DS8000 arrays launched earlier this month. Previously IBM only supported EMC’s pre-DMX version of the Symmetrix. With the new hardware on the list, every major array on the market is now covered – excepting Hitachi’s very recently unveiled Lightning TagmaStore.
Until now SVC has run across two or four processors, but the latest release supports eight processors, doubling its throughput to 560,000 virtualized I/Os per second according to IBM. The company says the scaling is linear, and that next year it will boost throughput again by raising the processor count.
Of the large storage suppliers Hitachi is closest on IBM’s heels in terms of virtualization, with its virtualized Lightning TagmaStore. But that box was only unveiled last month, and the lengthy qualification testing needed to provide key third-party support in the TagmaStore has not been completed. If Hitachi takes as long as IBM did to do this, the TagmaStore will not have a full support list until around the end of next year.
HP has been in the virtualization market for some while with its StorageApps-developed CASA appliance, but by its own admission is backpedaling on sales of that midmarket system, because of successful patent litigation by EMC. Last month HP promised that this quarter it would bring back to life the Versastor virtualization plans it put on ice last December. Finally, EMC is promising that next year it will launch some form of smart SAN switch-based virtualization or cross-vendor replication software.
According to IBM the SVC update together with new releases of IBM’s SAN File System file virtualization software, its Tivoli Storage Manager, and its Productivity Center span almost every component of our storage family.
SFS already features policy-based placement of data according to its value or criticality. The latest release will boost that capability with policy-based automatic deletion of files, and will also add iSCSI support at back and front ends, support for remote application servers and disk arrays, and improves security when Unix and Windows servers are sharing access to data.
The Tivoli Storage Manager backup and archiving tool is updated with one major release each year. The latest update involves a replacement to what IBM said was a complex and awkward user interface that reflected the extensive functionality of the software. IBM’s Productivity Center software is a policy-based automation tool that spans Tivoli and TotalStorage-branded software. The new release furthers the integration with combined agents for SRM and SAN management, and automated backups of any data not in compliance with customer-set backup policies, as well as automated deletion of contraband files.