STK addresses VSM issues

Posted on July 01, 1999

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STK addresses VSM issues

Heidi Biggar

With the release of Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) 2.0, StorageTek says it has overcome installation issues that have plagued the software since its December announcement. VSM is an integrated disk and software solution that maximizes total storage capacity by making more efficient use of tape cartridges.

"The issue customers had with VSM 1.0," says Gary Francis, vice president and general manager of StorageTek`s enterprise nearline business group, "was its reliance on certain services within [IBM`s] Open Edition. We assumed our customers would have a much higher knowledge level of the Open Edition environment than they actually had."

StorageTek admits to knowing a year ago that customers were not implementing Open Edition as quickly as anticipated, but says it believed it was still in the company`s best interest to move forward with the release, while developing a solution in-house.

"Rather than wait, we released VSM 1.0 to satisfy specific customer needs in a timely manner," says Francis. Among those requesting the software were users looking toward Y2K testing.

"For strategic reasons it also made sense," adds Francis. By using existing code, StorageTek saved time and money and stood to gain ground in the emerging open-systems arena. A component of MVS, Open Edition allows users to run Unix-based applications on mainframes.

"By providing a piece of code that was compatible with more of an open-systems environment, we believed VSM would have a higher degree of portability as we moved into that environment," says Francis. "We`ve found other ways of doing that which don`t require Open Edition."

StorageTek is working on an approach that focuses on sizing the number of tape drives to peak demand periods, which would reduce total hardware requirements in a SAN environment.

"Anything that can reduce backup and restore time also has real value for the open-systems market, as more business-critical application depend on Unix and NT," adds John McArthur, director of storage research at Framingham, based-International Data Corp.

In addition to an easier install process, VSM 2.0 boasts improved performance and support for MVS 5.2 and STK 9840 tape drives. A typical mount with VSM 2.0 takes less than 0.5 seconds, compared to 1 to 3 seconds for release 1.0, according to Francis.

An entry-level VSM system is priced at $392,000, which includes VSM 2.0, 18GB of disk capacity, and eight ESCON channels. Software upgrades are free.


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