Big Blue Unveils New Scalable VTL For IBM i
August 8, 2022 Alex Woodie
IBM has unveiled the iDSI620, a new virtual tape library (VTL) for the IBM i server, developed by its business partner, Dynamic Solutions International, that scales incrementally via 1 TB chunks up to 240 TB of storage capacity.
The iDSI620 is designed to keep pace with customers rapidly expanding data environment without requiring new hardware, according to IBM.
“With iDSI620, there is no disruption to your data protection as your capacity or performance needs change,” IBM states in its July 26 software announcement. “You can simply add a storage license to your existing solution.”
As a customer’s data storage needs increase, they can simply license more capacity in their iDSI620, via 1 TB increments, which equals 5 TB logical capacity). “There is no reason to purchase more backup capacity than you need,” IBM says.
In its base configuration, the iDSI620-D24 delivers 128 GB of memory and 5 TB of storage capacity via 8TB self-encrypting drives (SEDs), which are typically traditional hard disks spinning at 7,200 RPM. A fully outfitted iDSI620-D24 can handle nine of these SEDs, providing 120 TB of logical capacity. Memory can be expanded up to 2 TB.
One step up is the iDSI620-D48, which features 256 GB of base memory and up to twelve 8TB SEDs, providing a total capacity of 5 TB to 240 TB. The bigger VTL is also outfitted with six 16 Gb/sec Fibre Channel ports for host connectivity (versus four for the iDSI620-D24), with an option for two more. Both offerings are 2U devices that rely on a pair of Intel Xeon 4310 processors, offer four 10GbE ports, and have dual hot-swap 1,100W power supplies.
The iDSI620 line can be configured to have up to 128 virtual libraries, up to 1,024 virtual tape drives, and 64,000 virtual tape cartridges. Encryption obviously comes standard (via the SEDs), but the VTLs offer additional protection with encryption for data at rest as well as encryption for data in flight. Other standard out-of-the-box features include support for deduplication, replication, and tape consolidation.
Customers can also connect physical tape drives out the backend of these VTLs, via SAS if needed. They can also connect to external storage via Fibre Channel, and there is a cloud export option, too.
Dynamic Solutions International, the Englewood, Colorado-based company that has partnered with IBM on VTLs for IBM i for years, also touts its connectivity with the common backup processes on IBM i.
The company offers software called DSI VTL Conductor that integrates storage devices into the media management software used on IBM i, thereby “delivering automated, host-based policies that leverage all of the VTL’s functionality without leaving the standard IBM i interface,” it says.
The iDSI620 requires a virtualized server for management purposes. If customers aren’t running VMware or Hyper-V, a hardware management console (HMC) will be required, IBM says. You can read more about the new VTL in the July 26 IBM announcement letter.