EMC Adds iSeries Support to VTL
Published: April 18, 2006
by Alex Woodie
You can put one more name on the list of vendors offering virtual tape libraries (VTLs) for the iSeries server: EMC. Yesterday the storage and software giant announced that it's now supporting the iSeries with its Clariion Disk Library, a VTL solution based on its popular midrange Clariion storage array. The company also unveiled a new entry-level edition of the Clariion Disk Library that scales from 4TB to 24TB, and starts at $50,000.
For the last two years, virtual tape libraries (VTLs) have been one of the hottest new storage technologies in the midrange, if not the IT world in general. iSeries shops have swarmed over VTLs and their capability to eliminate the time-consuming and error-prone tape-based backup with a lightening-quick and affordable disk-based backup appliance that, by the way, can also support Windows, Linux, Unix, and every other major OS you throw at it.
The Clariion Disk Library (CDL) isn't the first to the iSeries' VTL party, but it has the backing of the biggest third-party vendor in the System/5 ecosystem (if you don't mind not counting Oracle, and who wouldn't). For EMC, bringing OS/400 support to the CDL provides another way to attract iSeries customers, who may in turn buy one of EMC's giant Symmetrix DMX arrays, the only external disk arrays that can serve as iSeries DASD, besides IBM's own disk arrays.
Supported by OS/400 are four models, including the new entry-level DL210, as well as the mid-to-high end DL710, DL720, and DL740 disk libraries.
The DL210 is an integrated VTL that combines various components, including a single replication "engine," disks (up to six 500GB SATA disks spinning at 7,200 RPM), a UPS, and a switch into a standard 19-inch rack enclosure that sits four feet tall. Users can install as many SATA disk components as they need to get the desired capacity, up to a maximum of 24TB (72TB with compression). The DL210 comes with an array of ports, including Fibre Channel optical and SCSI ports, and offers an aggregate system throughput of 380MBPS across 64 virtual tape drives and about 4,000 virtual tape cartridges.
The DL710, DL720, and DL740 are fully integrated VTL solutions that sit over 6 feet tall in its industry-standard rack, and which gives users the option of using the higher performing (and more expensive) 146GB Fibre Channel disks spinning at 10,000 RPM, in addition to the 500GB SATA disk that's the only option in the DL210.
EMC stacks these frames together in different ways to get the higher capacities or, instead, higher resiliencies of the DL720 and the DL740. The DL710 offers up to 82TB of storage across 64 virtual tape drives and more than 8,000 virtual tape cartridges. It features just one replication engine, with the option to have a second available on standby, and offers 600MBPS of throughput.
The DL720 adds a second active replication engine to the basic frame of the DL710, with the necessary software to provide failover should the first engine go down. The DL720 can support up to 128 virtual tape drives across about 8,000 virtual tape cartridges, offers 16 Fibre Channel ports, and carries a throughput of 800MBPS.
The DL740 "Big Daddy" stacks two 6-foot CDL fames side by side, and offers 165TB of native storage (nearly half a petabyte with compression), with two replication engines, configured for failover. Curiously, it only has 12 Fibre Channel ports (less than the DL720), but it makes up for that with a blazing 1.2 GBPS of throughput.
EMC's family of CDLs offer OS/400 shops two emulations, including IBM 3590 Magstar drives and 3592 Magstar tape libraries, or the 3580 family of LTO drives, according Rick Aguiar, the iSeries chief technologist for EMC. To the iSeries, the EMC CDLs look just like a tape drive or library, and connect via Fibre Channel.
The CDLs provide iSeries users with all the capabilities it offers other platforms, with the exception of the remote backup option, Aguiar says. OS/400 shops can use their standard backup commands, or BRMS. Other backup products will be certified in the future, he says. OS/400 V5R2 and V5R3 are currently supported, and V5R4 will be shortly.
This is the second iSeries-related announcement for EMC in as many months, which is possibly a first for the Hopkinton, Massachusetts, company. In late March, IBM and EMC unveiled a new five-year licensing agreement that gives EMC's engineers access to the storage, security, and other interfaces in OS/400 so that they can continue to support the iSeries with their products (see "EMC Licenses i5 Interfaces from IBM for Symmetrix Support" in the March 27 issue of The Four Hundred).