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IBM Storage Area Network Initiative Enables Access to Information Any Time, Anywhere


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SOMERS, N.Y. - 17 Feb 1999: -IBM today announced details of its Storage Area Network (SAN) initiative and introduced a series of SAN-related products. IBM's SAN initiative is designed to help customers create and extract value from their business information by enabling IT resource management and information sharing any time, anywhere across storage networks.

IBM's SAN initiative has been developed to help organizations manage, track and more easily share the complex and ever increasing volume of data created by the Internet and e-business applications. In addition, the IBM SAN initiative will allow companies to manage their technology resources -- application servers, storage servers, network hardware and storage management software -- and share information across storage networks regardless of vendor computing systems and software applications.

"Today's business environment is being driven, in large part, by the data explosion fueled by e-business, the commercialization of the Internet, the emergence of data-intensive technologies such as multimedia and data warehousing and the focus on server and storage consolidation," said Dr. James T. Vanderslice, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Technology Group. "IBM's Storage Area Network initiative is the next step towards providing centrally managed, open software and hardware solutions designed to help companies get the most value out of their entire business information and IT infrastructures."

Storage Area Networks
Storage Area Networks are centrally managed, high-speed storage networks consisting of multi-vendor storage systems, storage management software, application servers and network hardware that allow companies to exploit the value of their business information.

Connectivity, management, exploitation and services make up the foundation of IBM SAN deployment. SANs combine connectivity hardware such as Fibre Channel hubs, switches and gateways with software management that accommodates both IBM and non-IBM products and software solutions exploiting the storage, access, flow and protection of information seamlessly, any time, anywhere. Leveraging its extensive IT planning, design, and implementation experience, IBM will provide the support, services, and education required to support end-to-end SAN solutions.

IBM's services, software, networking and server organizations will offer SAN resources and support for the enterprise that will allow businesses to build their information infrastructure with confidence.

IBM laid the groundwork for storage area networks in 1990 with the announcement of ESCON, a serial, Fibre Optic, point-to-point switched network connecting tape, disk and printing devices to MVS hosts. ESCON has matured to become truly heterogeneous, supporting either native ESCON attachment or ESCON attachment via converters or gateways to multiple systems, including UNIX servers from IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, DEC and Sequent as well as Windows NT platforms.

Today, IBM is aggressively working with associations and standards organizations including the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and the Fibre Channel Association (FCA) to develop SAN standards. In addition, IBM is leveraging its years of experience, expertise and intellectual property in first generation SAN technology and SAN management in the S/390 world to deliver the next generation SAN in today's open environment.

IBM Launches SAN Connectivity Solutions
Providing SAN connectivity solutions, IBM today announced the IBM Storage Area Network Data Gateway. Fibre Channel RAID Storage Server and Fibre Channel Storage Hub designed to help businesses maximize the access, flow and protection of information seamlessly, any time, anywhere. IBM also introduced the IBM StorWatch Fibre Channel RAID specialist and the IBM StorWatch SAN Data Gateway Specialist to provide network-based integrated storage management capabilities.

IBM Storage Area Network Data Gateway
The IBM Storage Area Network Data Gateway, utilizing technology from Pathlight Technology, Inc., an IBM partner, enables the attachment of SCSI and Ultra SCSI-attached disk and tape storage systems to Fibre Channel-enabled UNIX-based servers from IBM, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett-Packard as well as Fibre Channel-enabled Intel-based servers running NT.

The SAN Data Gateway utilizes Ultra SCSI channel and Fibre Channel bandwidth for attachment of the IBM Versatile Storage Server; the Magstar 3590 Tape Subsystem; the Magstar 3494 Tape Library, the Magstar 3590 Silo Compatible Tape Subsystem environments; the Magstar MP 3570 Tape Subsystem or the Magstar MP 3575 Tape Library Dataserver.

The SAN Data Gateway supports Fibre Channel distances up to 500 meters between open system servers and storage servers and systems. When used with the IBM Fibre Channel Storage Hubs, distances up to 11 kilometers between servers at a primary operations site and remote storage system locations can be supported.

IBM Fibre Channel RAID Storage Server
The IBM Fibre Channel RAID Storage Server meets the requirements of high-performance systems running large database applications such as ERP and data warehousing. With RAID levels of 0, 1, 3, 5 and 0+1, the IBM Fibre Channel RAID Storage Server provides industry-standard Fibre Channel attachment for small clusters of UNIX-based servers from IBM, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard, and Intel-based servers running NT.

"IBM's Fibre Channel RAID Storage Server has not only provided Indiana University students with continuous and fast access to computing resources, it has also positioned us to utilize emerging SAN technologies," said Raj Murtay, IT Director of Indiana University at Pennsylvania. "We are thrilled to be able to use this product knowing that our investment is protected by the scalability of industry-standard Fibre Channel."

With dual-active RAID controllers, the IBM Fibre Channel RAID Storage Server is ideal for one or two homogeneous servers running critical applications that require a storage system with built-in redundancy and fault-tolerance.

Using IBM's new Expandable Storage Unit and high-performance IBM Ultrastar disk drives, the IBM Fibre Channel RAID Storage Server's storage capacity can start at 18 gigabytes (GB) and grow to over one terabyte (TB) by placing a maximum of six Expandable Storage units in either a single IBM Seascape Solutions Rack or any industry standard 19-inch rack.

IBM Fibre Channel Storage Hub
The IBM Fibre Channel Storage Hub, utilizing technology from VIXEL, an IBM Partner, provides flexible connectivity options for configuring multiple Fibre Channel host and storage server attachments. The seven-port hub provides a cost-effective, single-point Fibre Channel solution that supports up to 100 MB per second data transmission speeds between system servers and storage servers.

Hot-pluggable ports enable the attachment of new systems dynamically. As a result, the IBM Fibre Channel Storage Hub can provide flexible solutions to expand storage networks with minimal impact to daily operations.

SAN Management Software Solutions
The IBM StorWatch Fibre Channel RAID specialist, a network-based integrated storage management tool, lets storage administrators configure, monitor, dynamically change, and manage multiple Fibre Channel RAID Storage Servers from a single Windows 95 or NT Workstation.

High availability and full redundancy are provided with the host-specific Fibre Channel Storage Manager tool that resides on the host system providing automatic I/O path failover when a host adapter, IBM Fibre Channel Storage Hub, or a storage server controller fails.

In addition, the IBM StorWatch SAN Data Gateway Specialist simplifies the management of SAN Data Gateways by providing a graphical user interface to centrally configure, manage and service multiple SAN Data Gateways across the enterprise. The IBM StorWatch SAN Data Gateway Specialist runs on attached host servers and network-attached Windows NT workstations.

For more information regarding IBM storage products visit: http://www.ibm.com/storage.

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