IBM Updates Disk and Tape, Buys Storage Software Developer
October 30, 2007 Alex Woodie
IBM unveiled updates to its line of disk and tape products last week, including the roll-out of a new LTO 4 drive, the addition of bigger 15,000 RPM drives to its enterprise-class DS6000 disk arrays, and new data management features in its flagship DS8000 arrays. The IT giant also announced the acquisition of NovusCG, a Virginia company that develops software that allows organizations to more effectively manage the growth of their data and their storage resources.
The most compelling new storage features unveiled were added to the DS8000 Turbo product line, IBM’s top-of-the-line disk arrays for enterprise-class customers. IBM will make several new DS8000 Turbo features available in early December that should improve their data processing, including FlashCopy SE, Dynamic Volume Expansion, Storage Pool Striping, and Adaptive Multi-stream Pre-fetching (AMP).
FlashCopy SE is a new function that allows customers to make a space efficient snapshot copy of their data. With FlashCopy SE, which will cost $6,500, only the processing capacity that’s needed to save data updates is used, thereby allowing customers to use fewer drives and consume less power. Another new DS8000 Turbo enhancement is Dynamic Volume Expansion, which should make it easier to support growing applications.
The high-end storage array will also gain Storage Pool Striping, a new function that should make it easier to tune DS8000 Turbo environments for optimal performance, without the need for a specialized technician. Last but not least is AMP, which IBM calls a “breakthrough” storage technology it claims can double the processing throughput of a DS8000 Turbo array. The company also boosted the performance of mirrored DS8000 environments, but only for z/OS mainframe customers.
On November 16, IBM will start selling 300 GB 15,000 RPM drives in its enterprise-class DS6000 Fibre Channel storage arrays. These large, fast drives will give customers greater performance compared to the disk drives that were previously available, including 73 GB and 146 GB drives spinning at 15,000 rpm, and 73 GB, 146 GB, and 300 GB drives spinning at 10,000 RPM. The new drives are available on DS6000 Models 511 and 522, and Models EX1 and EX2. Support for the new drives requires DS6000 series Licensed Machine Code (LMC) level 5.0.5 or later.
IBM also announced a new release of DS4000 Storage Manager, a software utility designed for controlling the DS4000 (formerly FastT) series of midrange storage arrays that feature affordable SATA disks and fast Fibre Channel host interfaces, and work with i5/OS, Unix, Linux, and Windows servers. The introduction of DS4000 Storage Manager version 10.10 brings new features to the DS4800, DS4700 Express, and DS4200 Express series of arrays, including support for RAID 6 on the DS4700 Express and DS4200 Express, bigger volume groups for RAID 0 and RAID 10, support for volumes that are bigger than 2TB, and new proactive drive health monitoring, among other features.
High availability improvements have also been introduced as options with DS4000 Storage Manager version 10.10, which ships in February. On the DS4800, these enhancements allow users to run up to 16 FlashCopies per volume, up to 128 Enhanced Remote Mirror pairs, or up to 512 storage partitions. The DS4700 and DS4200 Express sport exactly half of the capabilities available for the DS4800. IBM’s DS4000 series arrays (formerly FastT) support i5/OS V5R4 when used as part of a SAN with a host bus adapter, an IBM representative said.
IBM also announced the new TS2240, an LTO 4 tape drive that’s half the height of normal LTO 4 tape drives. Like other LTO 4 drives, the TS2240 moves data at speeds up to 120 MB per second, and features 800 GB of native capacity (twice that with compression turned on). Where the TS2240 is expected to provide benefits is for smaller businesses that have limited IT personnel and restricted floor space. The tape drive will become available on November 16 at a starting price of $4,500.
The acquisition of NovusCG should provide a boost to IBM’s storage management products, as well as its technical services offerings.
NovusCG had two main products: Storage Enterprise Resource Planning (SERP) and Enterprise Standardization Program (ESP). With SERP, NovusCG aimed to deliver an all-seeing storage analysis product that could give IT manager a single view of their entire storage infrastructure, across all topologies. ESP helps customers document their storage and backup processes, audit their storage resources, and (hopefully) start to standardize their storage infrastructure.
IBM says Novus will become part of its Storage and Data Services business unit within the IBM Global Technology Services group. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.