IBM Adds Data Recovery, Space Reclamation to XIV Storage

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-11-10 Print this article Print

The addition of asynchronous mirroring opens up new remote disaster recovery capabilities and allows IBM to play in that market, analyst David Hill tells eWEEK. IBM said there is no additional charge for these new functions for current XIV users.

IBM on Nov. 10 released a couple of fancy new enhancements to its XIV enterprise storage system: asynchronous mirroring and instant space reclamation.

Mirroring had been promised back in July; instant space reclamation hadn't.

Snapshot-based asynchronous mirroring enables the copying of data between sites at virtually unlimited distances.

"Having the asynchronous mirroring opens up new remote disaster recovery capabilities and allows IBM to play in that market," David Hill, principal analyst of the Mesabi Group, told eWEEK. "A lot of customers will have to have those requirements."

Mirroring can be scheduled at flexible intervals between 30 seconds and 12 hours, and clients' recovery point objectives (RPO) can be different and independent of their mirroring schedule. Data mirroring can be programmed on a user-configurable schedule or handled manually.

"This will enable remote disaster site recovery without a limit on distance and without impacting response time, and will help customers protect information from local outages, ensuring the continuing availability of critical information," David Vaughn, IBM's information infrastructure offering manager, told eWEEK.

"For example, a hospital using the XIV storage system would be able to continuously mirror medical test results to a site thousands of miles away, enabling medical professionals to access patient information at all times."

The space-reclamation function, an enhancement of XIV's existing thin-provisioning capability, enables users to optimize capacity utilization by allowing supporting applications-such as Symantec's Veritas Storage Foundation-to regain unused file system space.

Previously, XIV's thin provisioning provided space reclamation on a non-instant basis-detecting, zeroing out and releasing unused storage to the general storage pool in a steady, but slower manner. The new capability enables third-party products to interlock with XIV, detecting unused space automatically and immediately reassigning it to the general storage pool for reuse.

IBM said that there is no additional charge for these new functions, and there are no additional hardware requirements, such as a cache upgrades. The functionality is built into the XIV software, Vaughn said.

XIV's Tier 1 external-disk system is completely distributed. It packages all data storage into 1MB chunks and spreads them around the system, so that no one or two disks have to handle most of the workload. This saves on disk life and increases performance.

IBM claims more than 450 customers and 1,000 units installed in the first year under IBM, Hill said. IBM states that greater than 70 percent of the XIV units are connected to other vendors' servers and that greater than 20 percent of XIV sales are to entirely new hardware customers to IBM.

For more information, go here.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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