IBM’s “Storage Tank” technology speeds info access

A new storage software technology designed to allow the easy sharing of millions of data files across a network of multiple storage subsystems is now available from IBM.

The new solution allows customers to administer volume management, data replication, and point-in-time copies directly from the network, giving them a single point of control and management across multiple storage subsystems.

Based on “Storage Tank” technology developed by IBM Research, the IBM TotalStorage SAN File System is designed to provide a single, centralized point of control to manage files and databases, which IBM said can help simplify administration and result in lower total costs.

IBM said the SAN File System marks a breakthrough in computing that will transform the economics of SAN (Storage Area Network) storage by allowing customers to better use existing hardware investments through a software virtualization layer.

Using this technique, IBM said IT administrators will be able to consolidate, or “virtualize,” multiple and disparate storage subsystems into logical pools. By dynamically provisioning storage from the SAN switches, users can avoid taking servers or storage subsystems off-line as changes are required. This capability is intended to reduce the amount of planned downtime normally associated with storage infrastructure changes and helps simplify administration tasks.

“IBM’s SAN File System has the potential to become to an organization’s data what the Dewey Decimal System is to a library. It is a highly dynamic and autonomic product that reinvents the way information is filed, managed, shared and accessed within an organization,” said Dan Colby, general manager of storage systems at IBM.

Built with autonomic and Grid technologies from IBM Research, the SAN File System has an architecture that can eventually support thousands of computers, petabytes of data, and billions of files. SAN File System pioneers innovative technology such as policy-based file provisioning, distributed file locking, and file-based FlashCopy function. These unique features are designed to help increase performance when sharing information, and to improve productivity by automating routine data management tasks.

Beyond current integration with other IBM products including DB2 Data Management software and Tivoli Storage software products, IBM is planning to work with a variety of vendors including Oracle and VERITAS software for certification and support.

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