IBM SAN Volume Controller to Support Rivals Wares

The company says its TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller v.1.2 will support and manage bitter rival EMC's Symmetrix and CLARiiON hardware storage arrays, as well as Hitachi Data Systems Lightning disk-based offerings.

IBM is aiming to help customers bridge a major storage interoperability chasm by announcing Friday that its TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller v.1.2 will support and manage bitter rival EMC Corp.s Symmetrix and CLARiiON hardware storage arrays, as well as Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Corp.s Lightning disk-based offerings.

Available April 30, TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller v.1.2 virtualization technology features new platform flexibility by expanding its OS reach to include Microsoft Windows 2003, Sun Microsystems Solaris 9, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Server 3.0 and VMware ESX 2.1, according to officials of Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM.

By hooking directly into Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMCs Symmetrix storage array and CLARiiON network storage systems products, IBM has cleared a "major impediment" for its SAN Volume Controller to virtually displace vendor lock-in within heterogeneous storage environments, said analyst Rick Villars of Framingham, Mass.-based IDC.

"One of the most popular ways to leverage this [EMC support] is to go into EMC environments and migrate [customers] away from EMC to IBM environments," Villars said. "In theory, it will broaden your choices. … EMC is certainly going to be put in a position where theyre going to have to offer a similar type of story."

In fact, Villars said IDC is encountering a greater number of customers picking two different vendors for their primary and secondary storage requirements to ensure competitive pricing and to "keep the vendors honest." He said he expects IBM to focus on incorporating more replication and autonomic capabilities into future versions of SAN Volume Controller.

Introduced last year, SAN Volume Controller virtualizes disk systems to create a common pool of storage to undertake storage provisioning tasks and apply advanced features such as flash and remote copy.

Once abstraction of servers occurs from the multiple storage arrays, data can be moved transparently and storage infrastructure can be changed without affecting running applications, noted Jeff Barnett, manager of strategy in storage software for IBM.

Despite IBMs efforts to cement its footing in the storage management arena, EMC maintains a sizable lead, according to a recent report by Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Dataquest. The report stated that EMC led the $5 billion storage management software market in 2003 with 28.3 percent revenue share, ranking nine points in front of the next closest competitor.

Disk arrays supported by IBM SAN Volume Controller include IBM ESS F20 and 800; IBM FAStT 200, 500 and 600; Turbo 700 and 900; HDS Lightning 9970V and 9980V; HDS Thunder 9530V, 9570V and 9580V; Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) StorageWorks Enterprise Modular Array 12000 and 16000; HP Modular Array 8000; EMC Symmetrix 8000 series; and EMC/Dell CLARiiON FC4700, CX200, CX400 and CX600 products.

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