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XIV lands quietly on planet IBM

Moshe, Moshe, how shall I thank thee? Shhh. Don't mention it

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Shhh. Don't tell anyone but IBM has announced its XIV extremely scalable storage system, the one acquired with the XIV purchase earlier this year, the one with the technology designed by Moshe Yanai, the originator of EMC's Symmetrix.

Is there an IBM press release? No. There's just an IBM web page describing the "IBM XIV Storage System Model A14 with IBM XIV Storage System Software V10.0.0" and another describing the software.

The hardware configuration is as described here:

  • 180 1TB disk drives
  • 15 total modules
  • 9 data modules
  • S6 interface modules
  • 24 4Gb FC ports for host attachment
  • 6 1Gb iSCSI ports for host attachment
  • Three uninterruptible power supplies
  • 80TB of usable capacity
  • 120GB of cache

It is positioned as "a revolutionary grid-based architecture designed to provide an exceptionally easy to use, high performance, scalable, reliable enterprise disk system for UNIX, Linux, Windows, and other supported distributed open server platforms. It can provide a platform to address the need for reducing complexity while keeping pace with mid-range to high-end disk capacity demands. This system is a great addition to the IBM disk storage family, core products in the IBM Information Infrastructure. It is a good fit for clients who want to be able to grow capacity without managing multiple tiers of storage to increase performance and reduce cost. These users also may want to improve their backup capabilities, as well as reduce the task load on storage administrators. The XIV system is especially well suited as a consolidated utility storage for fast growing, dynamic mixed, and emerging workloads."

XIV Software

The IBM XIV Storage System Software is designed to make the 2810-A14 modules act as a redundant grid of storage. Software functions include:

  • Data snapshot with advanced writable snapshot technology - snapshots occur in a sub-second timeframe with very little performance overhead. Up to 16,000 full or differential copies can be taken. Any of the snapshots can be made writable, and then snapshots can be taken of the newly writable snapshots. Volumes can be restored from these writable snapshots.
  • Synchronous mirroring within the XIV System - Synchronous mirroring can be performed over FC or iSCSI connections. ISCSI volumes can be mirrored over FC, and vice versa. It is also possible to test your secondary mirror site without stopping the mirroring.
  • Thin provisioning - Unlike other approaches, the physical capacity only needs to be larger than the actual written data, not larger than the logical volumes. Physical capacity needs to be increased only when actual written data increases.
  • In-band data migration - The XIV is capable of acting as a host, gaining access to volumes on a legacy system. The machine is then configured as a proxy to answer requests between existing hosts and legacy storage while migrating all legacy data in the background.

IBM's XIV Roadmap

IBM states it: "intends to provide best practice configuration guidance, change management, asset awareness, capacity utilization, performance trending, and operational reporting capabilities via IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center software support for the IBM XIV Storage System. In addition, IBM intends to provide single sign-on capabilities for many IBM devices, including the IBM XIV Storage System and storage software applications that enable the administrator to use a single set of secure credentials to authenticate across all products via a single centralized point-of-control. IBM plans, during the second half of 2008, to add support for XIV as a disk system managed by IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller."

No pricing is supplied.

An EMC blogger, who noticed the two IBM web pages first of all, provides a somewhat quizzical take on the machine here.

This is such a low-key method of announcing a new product arrival.

Copyright © 2008, Blocks & Files.com

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