Product guide: Storage virtualization

Offerings from IBM, EMC, NetApp, DataCore Software and Hitachi Data Systems

Here's a look at the top storage virtualization vendors, their products, pricing and sample customers.

Vendor: IBM

Product: IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller 4.3

Services provided: IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) 4.3 helps to improve storage utilization, reduce storage growth, improve storage administrator productivity, implement tiered storage infrastructures, eliminate application downtime associated with storage, and enable greater freedom in storage acquisitions. SVC 4.3 includes enhancements such as space-efficient virtual disks (thin provisioning), space-efficient FlashCopy (snapshots), virtual disk mirroring and improved interoperability.

Heterogeneous: Supports more than 130 disk systems from vendors such as IBM, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems and Sun Microsystems.

Pricing: An entry-level package, including dual SVCs, dual UPSs (required), management software and SVC software licensed for use with 1TB of capacity, costs $50,000.

Sample customers: Bristol West Holdings, Care New England Health System, Circuit City, Gwinnett County, Orlando Regional Healthcare System, Palm Beach Community College, Lifestyle Family Fitness, University of Auckland

Vendor: EMC Corp.

Products: Rainfinity File Management Appliance, Rainfinity Global File Virtualization and Rainfinity Global Namespace Appliance

Services provided: Rainfinity File Management Appliance depvers popcy-based, automated storage tiering and file archiving in heterogeneous storage environments. Rainfinity Global File Virtualization virtualizes unstructured data environments and moves data (including active, open files) without disruption. Rainfinity Global Namespace Appliance provides a central point for managing an enterprisewide view of networked storage.

Heterogeneous: Yes.

Pricing: Rainfinity File Management Appliance starts at $42,500 (U.S. pst); Rainfinity Global File Virtualization pricing starts at $147,000 (U.S. pst); and Rainfinity Global Namespace Appliance pricing starts at $65,000 (U.S. pst).

Sample customers: Rainfinity File Management Appliance: Boston Red Sox, Merck & Co., SPi Technologies; Rainfinity Global File Virtualization: Cablevision, PDF Solutions Inc., Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp. (Rainfinity Global Namespace Appliance is a new product, introduced July 2008.)

Vendor: NetApp

Products: NetApp V-Series, SANscreen, Virtual File Manager Migration Edition, Data Ontap 7G, FlexVol, FlexClone, SnapMirror for Open Systems

Services provided: NetApp SupportEdge Premium Support, NetApp Professional Services

Heterogeneous: Yes

Pricing: Starting price for the NetApp V-Series System is $37,400. Starting price for SANscreen is $85 per SAN switch port. Starting price for Virtual File Manager Migration Edition is $540. Data Ontap 7G is free with NetApp FAS and V-Series Systems. FlexVol is free as part of Data Ontap 7G. Starting price for FlexClone is $6,800. Starting price for SnapMirror for Open Systems is $2,625.

Sample customers: Activision Inc., Affordable Internet Services Online Inc., BBM Canada, Burt's Bees, Gateway Health Plan, IPR International, J. Craig Venter Institute, Mine Safety Appliances Co., Six Flags Theme Parks Inc., Tasty Baking Co.

Vendor: DataCore Software Corp.

Products: DataCore SANmelody software addresses the heterogeneous storage virtualization requirements of small and midsize organizations with up to 32TB of capacity. DataCore SANsymphony software addresses larger-scale heterogeneous storage virtualization needs through N+1 redundant configurations and a superset of features.

Services provided: Centrally pools all disk resources over physical/virtual SANs. Also offers automatic fail-over/fail-back shared virtual disks that synchronously mirror between physically separate arrays. Also has thin-provision capacity and transparently migrates data between different storage devices. Nondisruptively expands and upgrades disks regardless of manufacturer and instantaneously captures point-in-time snapshots. Asynchronously replicates disks over IP WANs. Caching speeds up I/O performance.

Heterogeneous: Yes

Pricing: Entry-level SAN software starts at under $1,000. High-availability SANmelody pair starts at under $10,000 (two SANmelody pcenses configured as a high-availability pair). SANsymphony SAN management platforms start at around $30,000.

Sample customers: ABN AMRO Asset Management, Dallas/Fort-Worth International Airport, DBV-Winterthur, Homebuilders Financial Network, Honda Racing F1 Team, IKEA, LG Electronics Inc., Lufthansa Systems

Vendor: Hitachi Data Systems

Products: Hitachi Universal Storage Platform V, Universal Storage Platform VM

Services provided: Hitachi Universal Storage Platform V offers virtualization of internally and externally attached storage from Hitachi, EMC, IBM, Sun and other manufacturers, as well as Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning Software for thin provisioning of internal and virtualized external storage. Also includes security services, business continuity services and content management services, as well as nondisruptive dynamic data migration from Hitachi and other storage systems. Universal Storage Platform VM also offers virtualization of internally and externally attached storage from Hitachi, EMC, IBM, Sun, HP and other manufacturers, as well as Hitachi Dynamic Provisioning Software for thin provisioning of internal and virtualized external storage. Also includes a rack-mounted storage services platform with the same advanced heterogeneous functions available in the Hitachi Universal Storage Platform V. Support for VMware ESX Server 3.0 to facilitate the integration of server and storage virtualization strategies is also included.

Pricing: Not available

Sample customers: Not available

This version of the story originally appeared in Computerworld's print edition.

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