IBM continues software integration push

By Sonia R. Lelii

IBM recently announced its TotalStorage Productivity Center with Advanced Provisioning, in a move to integrate more automation capabilities into its storage management portfolio.

Advanced Provisioning uses the Tivoli Provisioning Manager as the engine to automate various actions among the Tivoli Storage Resource Manager, Tivoli SAN Manager, and TotalStorage Multiple Device Manager when more storage needs to be provisioned. (For more information about the TotalStorage Productivity Center, see "IBM offers integrated software suite," InfoStor, April 2004, p. 8.) The idea behind automation is to cut down on the typically labor-intensive job of allocating more storage capacity to an application. Without automation, IT managers have to manually provision more storage volumes, a job that typically can take more than 20 steps to accomplish, according to Theresa O'Neil, director of strategy for IBM Storage Software.

Advanced Provisioning will be available in the third quarter of this year. For users who are not comfortable with fully automated systems, Advanced Provisioning has a partial automation option that alerts administrators at certain points in the provisioning process. For instance, administrators can set up a policy to send an alert just before the system has fulfilled a request for another LUN or volume.

"Once they are comfortable, over time administrators can automate more and more," says O'Neil.

IBM's TotalStorage Productivity Center has several integration points among its various components. This includes a "shared event log," in which the Multiple Device Manager performance manager, replication manager, and Storage Resource Manager can share events with the SAN Manager module. This means that events can be consolidated into a single event log, providing a consolidated view of storage events coming from different parts of the infrastructure.

Another integration point is between SAN Manager and Multiple Device Manager (MDM), allowing administrators to allocate LUNs and set up zoning functions. Finally, Storage Resource Manager can initiate automated actions through MDM or SAN Manager based on user-defined polices. Executed by scripts, the actions can allocate LUNs to a host through MDM after being triggered by Storage Resource Manager capacity thresholds.

IBM has plans for additional integration that include a single installation for the Productivity Center suite; a single agent for easier deployment and maintenance; and additional user interface integration. "This is the start of the integration process. We have more to do," admits O'Neil.

IBM virtualizes EMC arrays

IBM recently announced that its TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller version 1.2 software can now virtualize volumes from EMC's CLARiiON and Symmetrix disk arrays. In addition to IBM disk arrays, the virtualization technology already supports arrays from Hewlett-Packard and Hitachi Data Systems (Lightning and Thunder) but that capability has been extended to EMC's subsystems—devices that were once so proprietary that they were off-limits to any interoperability attempt.

Now customers will be able to stripe, migrate, and re-allocate without causing any disruption to the host applications. SAN Volume Controller software can run on a stand-alone appliance or on a blade in Cisco's MDS9000 series of SAN switches.

In addition, IBM expanded operating system support for SAN Volume Controller to include Windows 2003, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Server 3.0, Solaris 9, and VMware ESX 2.1.

This article was originally published on June 01, 2004