IBM Votes For Virtualization


Blade upgrade for Cisco storage switch


IBM is making it easier for solution providers to virtualize storage across multivendor platforms with a new software upgrade to its SAN Volume Controller blade for Cisco Systems' MDS 9000 storage switch.

The SAN Volume Controller, which is also available as a stand-alone appliance from IBM, allows nondisruptive changes, such as increases in capacity, to a storage environment, said Jens Tiedemann, vice president of TotalStorage open software for IBM.

 
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IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller for Cisco MDS 9000
>>  IBM/Cisco jointly developed blade to add virtualization to MDS 9000 storage switch.
>>  Adds virtualization capability to select Hitachi Data Systems, HP and EMC arrays, with more to come, as well as iSCSI virtualization support.
>>  Majority of sales expected from the channel.

 

The software upgrade enhances the blade in two main areas, Tiedemann said. First, it allows storage from Hitachi Data Systems' Thunder and Lightning, Hewlett-Packard's EMA and MA, and EMC's Clariion arrays to be virtualized along with IBM's FAStT and Shark arrays. This will be extended to EMC's DMX and HP's EVA arrays in the near future, he said.

Multiplatform virtualization has been available in the stand-alone appliance version of the SAN Volume Controller for a few months, he said.

Also new is support for iSCSI through the Cisco MDS 9000 IP Storage Services Module. "This is the first time a major storage vendor has [iSCSI] virtualization outside the array enclosure," Tiedemann said. "This gives a lot more flexibility in the SAN topology with iSCSI."

The majority of appliance sales go through IBM's solution providers, and Tiedemann expects the same to hold true for the blade.

Hunt Russell, sales manager at Evolving Solutions, a Hamel, Minn.-based solution provider, said the updated blade is the latest indication that the industry realizes customers live in a multiplatform world.

"It's positive that IBM and Cisco realize that customers don't have only one brand of storage in their data center, and that they need to work with other platforms," Russell said. "It shows they know you can't be proprietary, but instead have to be open.

"This is absolutely something we can take to customers and say, 'We can do your Shark and Lightning,' " he said.

The software upgrade is scheduled to be available this week free of charge for new and legacy blades.