IBM sends speedy Shark system into open waters

ESS gets a boost

IBM's Shark storage systems is swimming a little faster these days after the vendor made a couple of tweaks to the hardware.

One big boost for the Enterprise Storage Server (ESS) - aka Shark - is the addition of Fibre Channel support for IBM's Peer-to-Peer Remote Copy (PPRC) software. The software is primarily used for disaster recovery, data migration and remote backup functions. Users can now run the services over Fibre Channel instead of the current ESCON (Enterprise Systems Connection) channels.

Using a Fibre Channel connection reduces the total number of channels needed for data transfer and should cut down on customer costs. In addition, IBM is reporting much higher data transfer speeds - between 8x and 16x - by using Fibre Channel instead of its own ESCON technology.

The second speed up to the Shark comes from the new Turbo II processor that IBM is offering as an option. The processor can speed transactions by up to 30 percent over a base ESS Model 800, IBM said.

As proof that it's opening up to competitors, IBM has also tweaked the ESS API. IBM has added its Copy Services management to the list of technology that can be accessed with SMI-S (storage management initiative specification) compatible software. This should allow other vendors to trigger the Copy Services with their software packages.

These additions to the Shark products do not go into effect until Nov. 21. ®

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