IBM Brings Out Virtual Tape Library, SAN Controller

Linux system is the first in a series of library releases

IBM last week unveiled its first virtual tape library for open systems along with a major upgrade of its TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) virtualization engine.

SVC Version 3.1, which pools storage resources from heterogeneous arrays behind an appliance, will support up to four times more servers—as many as 1,024—than the current version and manage larger storage networks, IBM said.

The SVC upgrade, which ships on Nov. 18, will also let users choose among native copy functions, which allow communication with products of other vendors. The upgrade is priced from $43,000.

Dave Samic, senior network analyst at FirstMerit Bank NA in Akron, Ohio, a user of the current SVC version, said he expects the updated offering to let him expand the storage-area network at his operation. The First Merit SAN now runs up to 115 virtual servers supported by a single IBM FAStT700 midrange array behind the SVC appliance.

"We're looking at growing this SAN. When you have servers scattered around the building, you add to administrative overhead. I'm excited to see a new major release like this," Samic said.

Tony Prigmore, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass., added that IBM had little choice but to add the native copy capabilities because users have been requesting it. "Now they can pass through the storage-array data protection and migration features [from other vendors]," he said.

IBM's new Linux-based Virtualization Engine TS7510 is the first of what IBM says will be a series of virtual tape libraries.

The TS7510 combines hardware and software to provide tape virtualization for Unix- and Intel-based servers that connect to Fibre Channel storage systems. The rack-mounted Virtualization Engine server scales to 46TB.

Prigmore said that although IBM entered the virtual tape library fray after rivals EMC Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., the company can draw on its enormous server and storage installed base to sell the new product.

The TS7510 is priced from $175,000 and will be available on Oct. 28.

Starting price Max capacity Number of virtual drives Number of tape libraries it can emulate
IBM’s Virtualization Engine TS7510 $175,000 46TB 512 64
Hewlett-Packard’s StorageWorks 6510 Virtual Library System $57,194 10TB 64 16
EMC’s Clariion DL310 Disk Library $110,000 37TB* 512 64


Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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