IBM updates SVC, ships virtual tape

By Kevin Komiega

IBM recently announced a series of storage and server virtualization products, including the eighth release of its TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) virtualization appliance with a new set of replication services for heterogeneous disk arrays.

Company officials say that SVC version 3.1 gives users the option of keeping their data copy services in the disk array or moving them into the network through the use of the SVC’s virtualization capabilities. The new SVC replication features allow end users to set up a cost-effective, tiered storage architecture through mixing and matching different classes of storage both locally and at remote sites, according to IBM.

The SVC combines the capacity from a set of disk arrays into one virtual storage pool that can be centrally managed. The SVC also allows for advanced copy services across heterogeneous storage systems from multiple vendors.

“We recognize that some customers have invested in scripting and tools around a particular vendor’s replication and copy services,” says Rich Lechner, vice president of TotalStorage at IBM. He says this release of the SVC enables users to take advantage of advanced virtualization while protecting existing investments in infrastructure and management tools.

Version 3.1 of the SVC also features more support for different server platforms, operating systems, and clustering software.

The SVC announcement was part of a larger virtualization launch spanning servers, applications, and storage systems as IBM continues to bring some of its mainframe management technology to the open systems arena.

The over-arching product line, dubbed Virtualization Engine, includes virtual tape and systems software offerings.

On the tape front, IBM’s Virtualization Engine TS7510 software marks the company’s first foray into virtual tape for Unix and Intel servers. The TS7510 moves data from primary storage to disk and ultimately to tape for archival and data-retention purposes. IBM says the TS7510, like all virtual tape library (VTL) technologies, takes advantage of the speed of disk to improve performance and reduce backup windows.

“The value of virtual tape is that it increases performance and reduces the overall time required for backups,” Lechner says.

IBM also made several announcements related to server virtualization and management under the Virtualization Engine umbrella.

For example, the Virtualization Engine suite includes software wizards for Unix servers through the Integrated Virtualization Manager (IVM). Using the wizards and browser-based user interface, administrators can create a MicroPartition for installation of either AIX 5L or Linux with a few mouse clicks. According to IBM, the IVM reduces the complexity and time to set up and configure multiple partitions.

IBM’s xSeries and BladeCenter server customers can now download IBM Director 5.10 systems management software, which provides a single point of control and automation. IBM also plans to announce a Director version to monitor and manage non-IBM hardware.

To support its virtualization push, IBM began a new partner program called “Ready For Virtualization,” which lets independent software vendors (ISVs) test and validate interoperability of virtualization hardware and software products with IBM’s platforms.

This article was originally published on November 01, 2005