IBM revamps high-end storage products

IBM revamps high-end storage products

Ranging from the DS8000 down to the DS3000 drive arrays and including tape products.

IBM has added features and simplified management of its storage portfolio, ranging from the DS8000 down to the DS3000 drive arrays and including tape products.

Starting at the top, the enterprise DS8000 Turbo arrays have space-efficient Flash Copy in which only changed data is copied, just like an incremental backup. This saves disk space. Dynamic volume expansion has also been added, reducing the need to pre-allocate disk capacity to volumes and providing a thin-provisioning capability.

Storage pool striping adds performance as does adaptive multi-stream pre-fetching (AMP). IBM reckons that AMP can double throughput and reduce processing time for backup, media streaming and business intelligence workloads - ones with readily predictable next-file section fetches.

IBM's product marketing director for storage, Charlie Andrews, said that there was a new Storage Productivity Centre: "A new management center, one pane of glass, which will become common across all our storage products."

Initially only the DS8000 and IBM's San Volume Controller (SVC) will be supported by it. Previously you needed one management console for each DS8000 array and one for an SVC installation. Now one instance can manage a group of DS8000s and the SVC. The new management console will have support for other IBM storage products steadily added to it, simplifying their management and functioning as a universal remote control.

Andrews said that the SVC gets the space-efficient Flash Copy too. "It has cascading; you can make flash copies of copies," which helps data protection.

The TS7520 virtual tape product gets a capacity increase through the addition of 750GB SATA drives and it has the latest, 800GB, LTO4 tape drives supported.

There is now a stand-alone, half-height LTO4 drive available, smaller, less expensive and needing less power than the existing full height drives.

The N-Series network-attached storage (NAS) has a global name space added to it, meaning it can provide a means of unifying separate NAS islands by providing a virtual layer over them.

The mid-range DS4000 arrays have RAID 6 capability added (DS4700 Express and DS4200 Express) through a firmware upgrade. This means they have built-in protection against two drives failing. There can be more flash copies per LUN (allocated storage quantity), more mirror-pairs, and performance has improved through caching improvements. There can also now be larger volumes, at 2TB, and more drives in a volume group.

The DS3400 Fibre Channel arrays can now be attached to System p servers as well as the existing System x (X86) servers.

The DS3000 drive arrays can have SATA disks used, both 500 and 750GB. Previously they were more performance than capacity-centric, supporting Fibre Channel and serial-attached SCSI (SAS) drives only.

The DS8000 Turbo enhancements will be available on December 7th and Flash Copy SE will cost from US$6,500. The Storage Productivity Centre console will be available from the same data and be priced from US$7,500. Enhanced DS3000 and DS4000 products will be available from December 7th. The half-height TS2240 LTO4 drive is available from November 16th from US$4,495.

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