IBM Makes Next On-Demand Computing Move With Storage Virtualization

The components include a number of storage virtualization applications, which will be publicly shown at the Storage World Conference next Tuesday for the first time, said Jens Tiedemann, vice president of marketing for storage software at IBM.

IBM has unveiled three new products aimed at virtualizing storage. The first is the TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller, said Tiedemann. The in-line storage virtualization appliance enables scalable and secure management of data storage and migration. It is expected to be released in June or July with a price of less than $75,000, Tiedemann said.

The second new product is the TotalStorage SAN Integration Server, a "SAN-in-a-can" bundle aimed at easing the transition to virtualized storage for both the customer and solution provider, Tiedemann said. The bundle, expected to be available on June 3, includes the TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller, an IBM FAStT600 storage array just introduced last month and a Fibre Channel switch. Pricing has yet to be determined, he said.

The third storage virtualization component, the TotalStorage SAN File System, allows all storage capacity from nonlike array vendors to be pooled into a single file space, Tiedemann said.

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This technology, previously code-named Storage Tank, is a complete virtualization solution rather than just part of a virtualization solution, Tiedemann said. "Many other vendors have the different parts," he said. "We will have a complete solution."

TotalStorage SAN File System is expected to be available by December, but prices have yet to be set, he said.

Tiedemann acknowledged that virtualization technology requires a leap of faith on the part of customers before they will bring it into their data centers. "This is a new space to many of our customers," he said. "It gives tangible benefits to customers, but is not widely available yet."

One leap of faith that customers face is understanding that IBM is looking to manage and virtualize their entire storage infrastructure and not just IBM arrays, Tiedemann said.

IBM is capable of managing heterogeneous storage using industry standards, he said. "Openness is important for on-demand technology," Tiedemann said. "We could protect our own storage base. But very few customers can afford to scrap their existing infrastructure. Being open is a good business proposition for IBM because it's a good business proposition for our customers. It's better to lead in this space than not to. It's better to eat your own children than have someone else eat them."