IBM to sell global data migration engine, NAS/iSCSI SAN

It will also roll out single management interface across storage line

ORLANDO - IBM next week plans to unveil software that will allow data to be automatically migrated between storage tiers on an array and between arrays -- no matter where they are in the world.

Speaking to Computerworld at the SNW conference here, IBM also said it plans to announce an upgrade to its midrange storage array - now the Storwize V7000 Unified - that allows it to perform file- and iSCSI-based, block-level data transfers using the same management interface.

"This is not two pieces of hardware with sheet metal wrapped around them. This is a single management interface for both block and file data," said Dan Galvan, vice president of marketing for IBM's Storage Systems and Technology Group. "The file side now looks just like [the] block side did on the array."

The V7000 comes with IBM's newly announced Active Cloud Engine software. The data migration engine allows a storage administrator to set up policies for automatic migration of data between up to three tiers of data storage, from solid state drives and Fibre Channel drives to high-capacity SATA drives, according to Galvan.

Policies can also be set to migrate data between V7000 series arrays or IBM's flagship Scale-Out NAS (SONAS) array. That array can scale to 21 petabytes of capacity under a single domain name space.

"The Active Cloud Engine can scan billions of files, flag ones that need to be deleted because they've expired, flag others that have been changed and need to be backed up," Galvan said.

For example, if an enterprise has a SONAS array in the U.S. and a business group there is collaborating on a video marketing campaign with another group in Asia, changes made to a file in either location will automatically be updated in both places. And, the Active Cloud Engine only backs up deltas, or the incremental changes, made to files, reducing network bandwidth needs.

"This is policy-driven movement of information anywhere across a data center, around [a region], or around the world," Galvan said. "You set the policy and it moves the files."

Additionally, IBM plans to announce that it is changing out the graphical user interface (GUI) on its V7000 series arrays, its SAN Volume Controller storage virtualization appliance and its SONAS array with the management interface used on its high-end, grid-based XIV SAN.

SAN Volume Controller v6.3 now comes with a "stretched cluster option" that extends data mirroring distance up to 180 miles, while Global Mirror support adds a low-bandwidth option.

IBM purchased the XIV management interface in 2008 from an Israeli manufacturer. Earlier this year, IBM rolled out the GUI on its flagship DS8000 SAN array series.

"So we're propagating this technology across our storage portfolio," Galvan said.

The DS8000 series of arrays also will receive an upgrade. The SAN now comes with Easy Tier software to automatically migrate data across up to three tiers of storage based on use patterns to boost performance while cutting costs.

The DS8000 series also offers 3TB SATA drives, which almost triples the capacity of the array. It also has higher scalability, with up to 45% more drives.

The XIV array also supports the 3TB drives, bumping up capacity by 50% -- up to 243TB -- in the same physical footprint.

In addition, IBM will deliver an XIV iPad app called IBM XIV Mobile Dashboard, enabling XIV system status to be monitored from anywhere via the smart phone.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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