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IBM Unveils Storage Software Technology Roadmap

Path to Intelligent Storage Networks Paved With Open Standards and Linux-based Technologies

ARMONK, N.Y - 23 Apr 2002: --IBM today unveiled a storage software roadmap aimed at embedding intelligence in storage networks through a combination of breakthrough IBM technologies designed to exploit rapidly emerging industry-wide storage management standards. IBM's storage software will help unlock the potential of storage networks, providing customers the ability to better manage their information while reducing their IT costs.

"Customers are at a point where proprietary vendor initiatives and technology complexity are preventing them from effectively managing and exploiting networked mission-critical data," said Linda Sanford, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Storage Systems Group. "We're working to remove barriers to data access with an evolutionary software technology roadmap that will help customers plan and transition to highly intelligent and cost-effective storage networks."

In support of this initiative, IBM's Storage Systems Group is focusing the company's software, research and systems management expertise on three areas of innovation:

"IBM is addressing the critical issue of data availability with a smart strategy that will benefit companies searching for a way to maximize the efficiency of their heterogeneous data centers," said Joe Fucillo, senior vice president of Xand Corporation, a managed storage and service provider. "Most importantly, IBM's commitment to developing interoperable software technologies can help reduce complexity and make easier to manage storage networks. I haven't seen a comparable plan from any of IBM's competitors."

Integrated Approach to Block and File Management
Unlike narrowly-focused efforts aimed only at the storage block level, IBM's software roadmap is intended to address customer needs at both block and file levels by combining IBM-developed technologies with open, industry-wide programming interfaces to support interoperability with solutions from other vendors. The IBM approach is consistent with the open storage model proposed and endorsed by SNIA. In addition, IBM's roadmap for the delivery of storage infrastructure software from its Storage Systems Group complements the storage management software roadmap from Tivoli. Tivoli's storage management products are part of their full systems management suite.

IBM's virtualization engine will be implemented on a cluster of IBM eServer xSeries systems running Linux, and is designed to help customers increase efficiency and productivity by providing a single point of control over disk storage capacity (block level management) within a storage network. Very importantly, the virtual disks presented to application servers provide an indirect route and insulation between application servers and storage servers. This is intended to allow customers to move data, add physical disks and reallocate spare storage capacity without impacting the performance or availability of applications. In addition, IBM's virtualization engine is designed with the reliability features expected of robust storage controllers, such as the ability to automatically failover and restart while preserving cached information.

IBM's virtualization engine represents a major advance in the planned evolution of modular storage systems by providing intelligence in the network and a platform for delivering advanced functions--such as remote copy and flash copy of data--across an entire SAN, and providing a unified interface and control point for mission-critical disaster recovery services. This modular architecture is complementary to the monolithic architecture of the IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server (code named "Shark").

While IBM's virtualization technology was developed to improve management of information at a block level in a network--enabling servers to share storage devices on a network, its Storage Tank software is designed to focus on establishing a common way to manage information at the file level--allowing servers to share data in storage devices. Storage Tank is a SAN file management system, and ultimately an enterprise-wide global file system, featuring a storage network-wide single name space designed to enable application servers to share and access files independent of their respective computing platforms. In addition, Storage Tank will further simplify file management by providing policy based automation capabilities.

The Storage Tank metadata server will be implemented on a highly scalable IBM eServer xSeries cluster running Linux. IBM plans to provide Storage Tank application server support for multiple operating systems, including AIX, Solaris, HP/UX, Linux, and Windows 2000/XP platforms. To facilitate industry adoption of Storage Tank, IBM will make available a source code reference implementation of the application server module at no cost and will publish the protocol between the application server and the metadata server.

Since Storage Tank is designed to exploit IP networks for communication between application servers and the metadata server at the file level, and to support storage network transports for direct communication between application servers and storage servers, the technology represents a convergence of SAN and NAS technologies and will help integrate the business benefits of SAN and NAS.

Storage Tank and IBM's virtualization engine will support interoperability in heterogeneous storage networks by implementing rapidly evolving standards for management of storage systems. IBM currently leads or participates in multiple industry-wide efforts aimed at creating a common set of standards, including the emerging Common Information Model (CIM), that is intended to extend the concept of interoperability beyond basic system identification and monitoring and to achieve more comprehensive management capabilities. A major benefit of open standards is that these systems can also be managed by products provided by Tivoli storage software or other storage management suppliers that support the standards.

To help customers begin preparing their storage infrastructure for implementation of IBM's virtualization engine, IBM Global Services has enhanced their storage services offering. Specifically, IGS can assess a customer's current environment and begin working with the client to develop a storage strategy to prepare for storage virtualization. This includes reviewing operational documentation and identifying the most labor-intensive parts of data center operations. Using this review as a guide, customers can then identify operational areas where a pilot environment could be installed as a step towards establishing a virtualization strategy for their organization.

Storage Tank and IBM's virtualization engine are planned for availability in 2003.

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This document is a preview of IBM's product plans. Product previews are intended to provide insight into IBM's plans and product directions. The products described in this document have not been officially announced by IBM. IBM's plans are subject to change at IBM's discretion and without notice.

The IBM eServer brand consists of the established IBM e-business logo with the following descriptive term "server" following it. IBM, Enterprise Storage Server and TotalStorage are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation.

Windows 2000 and Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company, Limited.

Other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

Contact(s) information

Chris Andrews
IBM Media Relations
(914) 766-3722

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