Feeds

IBM SVC - real-world storage virtualisation

Happy punters, despite the hype

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Application security programs and practises

Storage is an area that has been the subject of much attention over the last few years with the areas of storage management and virtualisation grabbing much of the attention. However, within the sweeping torrents of hype and exaggeration there are to be found some genuine nuggets of potential value. One such pearl could well turn out to be IBM’s Virtualisation Engine Suite for Storage and the first benefits of the engine can be recognised in the TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller and TotalStorage SAN File System offerings, known to their friends respectively as SVC as SFS.

In essence SVC provides storage area networks with "Block" level virtualisation capabilities whilst SFS delivers "file virtualisation". These facilities are becoming more valuable as SAN usage increases and has the complexity in such systems grows.

Until recently nearly all SANs have had to be built using the storage platform supplied by a single vendor. In large organisations this has resulted in many different SAN islands being created, each operated using its own set of tools, often by its own support team. SVC delivers a number of key benefits at the heart of which is its ability to create a single pool of storage using storage platforms from a number of suppliers.

Currently the software supports IBM ESS and FAStT arrays along with a number of arrays supplied by EMC, HDS and HP. In Virtualising these disk platforms SVC makes it possible to administer the entire storage pool from a single management point. Such capabilities make it possible to gain even better utilisation from storage platforms than even that supplied by today’s homogenous SANs. There is no doubt that the ability to build and manage heterogeneous storage pools without undue fuss will be welcomed.

On top of this single storage pool, SVC also adds copy services that make it possible to replicate and migrate data seamlessly between the different storage platforms contained within the pool without disrupting the applications (and hence users) that access the data. This facility is likely to become very much in demand as organisations seek to employ tiered storage systems and Information / Data Lifecycle Management (ILM / DLM) techniques to run applications and host data on systems that match the business value of those systems.

The fact that SVC is now nearing its first anniversary has allowed several organisations to evaluate thoroughly its potential. As a consequence many customers are now moving SVC based systems into live production environments and IBM has major references in no less than 12 industry verticals. It is interesting to see that one customer has stated: "We had no difficulty learning to use the system. It is simple for our administrators to operate using either the GUI interface or via script files." Another commented: "The flexibility of design and implementation was child’s play compared to our legacy solutions and SVC’s performance was blistering."

In addition to the obvious cost benefits supplied by increasing storage utilisation and providing a single management interface to run a storage infrastructure, it should be recognised that the shear storage flexibility delivered by SVC may well provide the greatest business benefit. Almost all businesses today have to be able to react very quickly to a wide range of rapidly shifting drivers. The supporting IT Infrastructure, including the storage network on which it is built, needs flexibility to be able to meet such variable business demands.

The IBM Virtualisation Engine has great potential to bring benefits at both an IT management level and at a business operation level. As a key component in the IBM Virtualisation Engine Suite for Storage, the TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller should have a long and valuable future, especially as it expands the breadth of its platform support. The other major Storage management vendors will have to react swiftly to developments in SVC and IBM Virtualisation Engine if IBM starts to market these solutions well.

© IT-Analysis.com

Related stories

IBM to assault users with virtualisation technology
Rise of the virtual machine

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives
Oracle's Linux boss says Larry's Linux isn't just for Oracle apps anymore
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.