IBM Adds Data Recovery, Space Reclamation to XIV Storage

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.
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Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...