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IBM Announces Next-Generation Storage Virtualization Software


New Features Address Client Demand for Greener Storage Technologies; Enables Clients to Improve Storage Utilization and Scalability of Applications

ARMONK, NY - Jun 2008: As part of IBM’s “Project Big Green” offerings, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new storage virtualization software that helps clients more efficiently manage and consolidate volumes of business data, providing clients with a storage solution designed to help improve utilization rates, energy efficiency, availability, and scalability of critical applications.

The capabilities of the new IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) 4.3 software can help significantly improve the flexibility and responsiveness of IT infrastructures by creating consolidated, virtual pools of information across the enterprise, which enables IT departments to respond more quickly to client needs and centrally manage resources. Storage virtualization technology can reduce requirements for additional physical storage hardware systems, which can ultimately reduce overall energy usage in the data center.

Virtualization is one of the five pillars of IBM’s Project Big Green offerings, and a key component of IBM’s new enterprise data center model, designed to help clients improve IT efficiency and facilitate the rapid deployment of new IT services for future business growth. The new model is based on best practices for virtualization, green IT, service management and cloud computing.

IBM remains the leader in storage virtualization with the fastest system tested in the industry(1). Since its introduction to the market in 2003, IBM has shipped over 12,000 SVC engines running in more than 4,000 SVC systems.

With the volume of data that clients have to store growing exponentially, keeping control of storage costs and improving storage utilization is taking on increasing importance in the data center. The improvements in SVC 4.3 can help improve storage utilization even further, which helps reduce energy consumption for a greener data center.

“IBM is dedicated to helping its clients improve their information infrastructures through powerful virtualization technology,” said Barry Rudolph, Vice President, Storage Stack Solutions, IBM. “We have been the leader in storage virtualization since SVC was introduced five years ago, and this latest version from IBM further showcases our innovation and represents our commitment to clients to incorporate green, efficient technologies into our storage portfolio to help clients manage the data center crisis of today.”

The IBM SVC 4.3 software announced today includes the following enhancements:

Space-Efficient Virtual Disks - uses disk space only when data is written instead of reserving disk space for the entire capacity of a virtual disk;
Space-Efficient FlashCopy - uses disk space only for changes between source and target data and not for the entire capacity of a virtual disk copy;
Virtual Disk Mirroring - helps improve availability for critical applications by storing two copies of a virtual disk on different disk systems;
Improved Interoperability - includes support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Mac OS X Server, as well as Pillar Axiom disk systems.
Although the impact of SVC’s specific features and functions is highly workload dependent and based on each client’s individual data center specifications, features such as SVC’s new Space-Efficient FlashCopy could help reduce space required for copies by as much as 75 percent or more.

Also announced today is a new release of the IBM System Storage Productivity Center (SSPC). As the management console for SVC systems, SSPC is designed to provide clients with a superior management platform, integrating virtual and physical infrastructure management. SSPC includes TotalStorage Productivity Center for Replication 3.4 preinstalled, providing simplified management of advanced copy services offered by SVC FlashCopy, and Metro and Global Mirror. IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center software helps increase energy efficiency by offering a solution that helps customers reduce wasted disk space by identifying duplicate data, orphan data, temporary data, and non-business data; TotalStorage Productivity Center can also identify less frequently accessed data files that could be migrated to even more energy-efficient storage systems such as tape.

“Power consumption continues to be a top concern for our key large data center clients and IBM SAN Volume Controller is addressing this with the most efficient storage utilization technologies,” said Andy Slater, Chief Operating Officer, Tectrade. “Since its launch five years ago, SVC has continued to evolve, and SVC 4.3 now offers the Space-Efficient FlashCopy feature, which uses disk space only for changes between source and target data rather than for the entire capacity of a virtual disk copy -- a real benefit for clients looking to reduce their carbon footprint.”

IBM’s storage virtualization enhancements help bolster Project Big Green, the company’s effort to address the growing customer demand for greener storage solutions. IBM’s SVC cements itself as a key offering that enables customers to improve the energy efficiency of their data center on multiple fronts, including:

Non-Disruptive Data Migration - Supports migration of data from older to newer supported disk systems without disruption to applications, enabling customers to quickly start data migration immediately and disconnect from older, less energy-efficient storage solutions;
Simplified Tiered-Storage Implementation - Can help simplify implementation of a tiered storage infrastructure, improve performance of lower tier storage, and help move data between tiers without disruption. This can make it easier to match data types with the right storage, and to move data when requirements change. Together, these abilities can also make it easy to blend different types of storage for a lower overall energy footprint and;
Improved Storage Utilization - Can pool storage volumes from IBM and non-IBM storage systems into a single reservoir of capacity for centralized management, helping to increase the utilization of storage and reduce requirements for additional storage in the future. This ability can reduce the total amount of storage hardware required, which helps reduce the energy usage of the storage configuration.
“IBM SAN Volume Controller really simplifies storage virtualization for our clients because they don’t have deal with re-architecting their entire storage infrastructure. SVC doesn’t lock them to one vendor’s solutions,” said Greg Nightingale, Director of Storage Solutions, Sirius Computer Solutions, Inc. “The technical elegance and managerial simplicity that the SVC is built around promotes immediate ROI across multiple areas -- from non-disruptive data migration and seamless data movement and copy to remote replication. The new version of SVC includes enhancements such as thin provisioning which translates into even greater functionality, flexibility and value. Moreover, IBM’s SVC captures the market’s demand for greener storage solutions that maximize storage utilization and minimize the power and cooling required to support the IT infrastructure.”

In addition to helping clients create a more energy-efficient data center, IBM’s storage virtualization solution also helps to unlock the proprietary hold that vendors such as EMC, HP and Hitachi have had on organizations for years. With IBM SVC, clients can choose any combination of storage devices from EMC, IBM, HP, Hitachi or other vendors, virtualize them and manage and deploy them easily and with greater flexibility and independence than ever before. Fitness club company Lifestyle Family Fitness is benefiting from this feature.

Lifestyle Family Fitness opened the doors to its first health club in Lakeland, FL in 1982. Based in the Tampa Bay, Florida area Lifestyle Family Fitness now owns and operates health clubs throughout the Southeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic with aggressive growth planned throughout the next five years. According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) Lifestyle Family Fitness is one of the top 20 fastest growing health club companies in the world. The company’s primary data center, based in St. Petersburg, Florida, includes a combined storage and server infrastructure which manages key applications for the entire club network, including employee records, new club memberships, personal training contracts and sales and services.

Anticipating growth and increased IT complexity that is inevitable with an expanding business, Lifestyle Family Fitness decided to upgrade its data center infrastructure to solve the bottleneck input/output (I/O) issues beginning to surface in some of their core applications. The company turned to IBM’s SAN Volume Controller (SVC) for a storage virtualization solution that could solve the I/O issues while improving overall long-term energy usage, saving costs and maximizing existing hardware. Implemented in November 2007, the 2-node clustered SVC, running on EMC CLARiiON CX300 and IBM System Storage DS4700 disk arrays with two IBM Brocade SAN switches, has already provided higher performance and increased scalability with no downtime.

“The simplicity of IBM’s storage virtualization system makes it extremely attractive to a company such as Lifestyle Family Fitness,” said Michael Geis, Director IS Operations, Lifestyle Family Fitness. “We were looking to grow our business but at the same time wanted to minimize our IT infrastructure costs. With IBM’s SVC system compatible with all storage hardware, regardless of vendor, it has allowed us to realize cost savings by maximizing our existing infrastructure, eliminate bottlenecks in accessing membership information and improve numerous application benchmarks from 60 to 10 seconds. At the end of the day, SVC has been the optimal system solution for us.”

The new IBM SAN Volume Controller 4.3 functions are available at no additional charge and existing SVC customers will be able to take
advantage of these improvements when they upgrade to SVC 4.3.
Space-Efficient FlashCopy requires a license for the FlashCopy
function. The new SVC 4.3 software will be available for download on
June 27, 2008.


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