By Heidi Biggar
StorageTek last week announced an overhaul of its Shared Virtual Array (SVA) architecture, with the introduction of the V2X SVA series, and a tape-mirroring software option for its StorageNet 6000 storage domain manager.
"Our SVA customers want enterprise-class features such as snapshot and zero-capacity backup," says Jay Seifert, product marketing manager in StorageTek's disk business unit.
To provide this level of functionality, Seifert says StorageTek had to make some significant architectural changes to the SVA platform, including swapping out its antiquated serial storage architecture (SSA) backplane for one that is totally Fibre Channel.
The switch, he says, increases array performance by taking advantage of Fibre Channel speeds. The array includes Seagate's 36GB 15,000rpm drives.
StorageTek also improved array addressing, cache, and capacity over previous SVA models. Other added features include greater fault-tolerance with RAID 6+ support (which allows users to recover from two simultaneous disk failures), the ability to make instant capacity-less snapshots of data for faster backups, and automatic data spreading (which eliminates hot spots and reduces overall system management requirements).
With the release of the V2X, StorageTek will also make its SVA Path load-balancing/fail-over software compatible with leading clustering tools (e.g., MSCS, HA/CMP, MC/Service Guard, and Veritas Cluster Server), add a point-in-time reporting capability to SVA Administrator, and extend PowerPPRC--the company's replication tool--to open-system environments, making it possible for users to mirror data between two V2X arrays without the use of third-party software.
Randy Kern, an analyst and partner at The Evaluator Group research and consulting firm, in Greenwood Village, CO, believes that the SVA overhaul is a logical next step for StorageTek and is evidence of the company's ongoing commitment to its virtual disk technology.
StorageTek is positioning the array in mainframe and collocation (mainframe and open systems) markets. The company claims that it has shipped some 12,000 units since the SVA was introduced in 1994. The majority of units (65%) are in mainframe environments, while 20% are in open-system environments and the rest are in mixed environments.
V2X array pricing starts at $150,000, with an average mainframe configuration (24GB cache, 16 ESCON channels, and host software) listing for about $225,000.
As for StorageTek's new tape-mirroring option for the StorageNet 6000, Kerns says it has value in very high-end tape environments. The software will enable users to automate the task of making multiple, simultaneous copies of data to tape in Unix and Windows environments.
By writing two tape volumes simultaneously, users can improve the overall reliability of their backup-and-restore processes (since both processes can be switched over to the other copy in the event of a hardware failure), explains Peter Rigsbee, a senior product marketing manager at StorageTek.
The software works with leading backup applications, including Legato NetWorker and Veritas NetBackup. Pricing starts at $20,000.
V2X at a glance
Addressable capacity--11.6TB (MVS)
Effective capacity--7.7TB (MVS), 3.8TB (open systems)
Cache--24GB to 96GB
32 ESCON or 16 Fibre Channel ports
36GB 15,000rpm Seagate drives
Full Fibre Channel back-end