Are your storage requirements growing too fast? Are the costs of managing this growth taking more and more of your IT budget? Would you like to make a better use of existing storage without adding more complexity to the infrastructure? IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller can help solve these problems and get you on the road toward a more flexible, responsive and efficient storage environment. SAN Volume Controller is designed to deliver the benefits of storage virtualization in environments from large enterprises to small businesses and midmarket companies.
Easy to implement
IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller software is delivered preinstalled on SAN Volume Controller Storage Engines so it is quickly ready for implementation once the engines are attached to your storage area network (SAN). SAN Volume Controller Storage Engines are based on proven IBM System x® server technology and are always deployed in redundant pairs, which are designed to deliver very high availability.
SAN Volume Controller is designed to take control of existing storage, retaining all your existing information. This ability helps speed and simplify implementation while helping to minimize the need for additional storage. Once SAN Volume Controller is implemented, you can make changes to the configuration quickly and easily as needed.
SAN Volume Controller uses a completely new graphical user interface modeled on the IBM XIV® Storage System, which has been very well received by customers. The user interface is designed to be very easy to use and includes many built-in IBM recommendations to help simplify storage provisioning and enable new users to get started quickly.
Plugins to support Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and VMware vCenter help enable more efficient consolidated management in these environments.
Extraordinary storage efficiency
At a time when IT budgets are under tremendous pressure yet requirements to store data are growing inexorably, the need to focus on improving storage efficiency is greater than ever. SAN Volume Controller deploys technologies in concert to deliver extraordinary levels of storage efficiency, including thin provisioning and IBM Real-time Compression.
IBM Real-time Compression is designed to improve efficiency enabling you to store up to five times as much data in the same physical disk space by compressing data as much as 80 percent. Unlike other approaches to compression, IBM Real-time Compression is designed to be used with active primary data such as production databases and e-mail systems, which dramatically expands the range of candidate data that can benefit from compression. By significantly reducing storage requirements, you can keep more information online, use the improved efficiency to reduce storage costs, or achieve a combination of greater capacity and reduced cost.
SAN Volume Controller provides great flexibility in storage networking support. Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocols may be used to connect to servers and storage whereas support for iSCSI protocols provides another option for server attachment that can help reduce costs and simplify server configuration.
Complement server virtualization
Server virtualization helps speed provisioning of new server images because provisioning becomes a software operation rather than requiring hardware changes. Similarly, provisioning with SAN Volume Controller is achieved with software and thin provisioning, and is designed to become an almost entirely automated function. Without SAN Volume Controller, server provisioning could be slowed by the need to provision storage.
Support for VMware vStorage APIs enables SAN Volume Controller to take on some storage-related tasks that were previously performed by VMware, which helps improve efficiency and frees up server resources for other more mission-critical tasks.
Functions such as vMotion support application mobility between physical servers. Similarly, SAN Volume Controller is designed to support non-disruptive data migration between storage systems. In addition, SAN Volume Controller helps make storage potentially available to all attached servers, greatly increasingly the flexibility for using vMotion. Without SAN Volume Controller, use of vMotion could be limited by storage being dedicated to specific servers.
Because SAN Volume Controller appears to servers as a single type of storage, virtual server provisioning is also simplified because only a single driver type is needed in server images, which also simplifies administration of those server images. Similarly, SAN Volume Controller eases replacing storage or moving data from one storage type to another because these changes do not require changes to server images. Without SAN Volume Controller, changes of storage type could require disruptive changes to server images.
Server virtualization helps increase flexibility and reduce costs for disaster recovery by enabling the use of different physical configurations at production and recovery sites. Common virtual server configurations are used on these different physical infrastructures. Similarly, SAN Volume Controller supports the use of different physical storage configurations at production and recovery sites yet helps create the same virtual configuration at each site. Without SAN Volume Controller, production and recovery site physical storage configurations would need to be similar, potentially increasing costs.
The IBM FlashCopy® snapshot replication function can be used to help reduce storage requirements when cloning boot drives for multiple virtual servers. When using this function, additional storage is used only for differences among servers instead of needing storage for each boot drive.
Many customers run mixed environments with a variety of virtualized and non-virtualized servers and expect to do so for years to come. SAN Volume Controller provides an external storage virtualization function that operates in a consistent manner and provides consistent services for all attached servers, regardless of whether or not those servers are virtualized. In contrast, server-based storage virtualization techniques differ from server to server which makes mixed environments more complex, rather than less.
Reduce storage used for copies
The SAN Volume Controller FlashCopy snapshot replication function is designed to dramatically reduce storage requirements when copying data by using additional physical storage only for the differences between source and target and not for the entire target volume capacity.
This capability can be used to help reduce storage requirements for test environments that are copied from production data. For example, SAP users often maintain multiple copies of production data for testing. Using the FlashCopy snapshot replication function to maintain these test environments can help significantly reduce the amount of physical storage required.
Enhanced data mobility for high availability
Clients are increasingly deploying virtualized servers using PowerVM, VMware, and other technologies in high availability configurations, including multisite clustered implementations. Such configurations provide attractive options for high availability and load balancing.
To enhance this capability, a SAN Volume Controller cluster can also be installed in a stretched configuration where a single SAN Volume Controller cluster supports storage and servers in two data centers. In this configuration, SAN Volume Controller enables a highly-available stretched volume to be concurrently accessed by servers at both data centers. When combined with server data mobility functions such as VMware vMotion an SAN Volume Controller stretched cluster enables non-disruptive storage and virtual machine mobility between the two data centers. Depending on application performance requirements, SAN Volume Controller stretched clusters may be deployed between data centers up to 300km apart.
SAN Volume Controller stretched clusters may be combined with SAN Volume Controller Metro Mirror or Global Mirror to support a third data center for applications that require both high availability and disaster recovery in a single solution.
Improve energy efficiency
Many data centers today are focusing on reducing their energy usage to reduce costs and out of concern for the environment. SAN Volume Controller can be a key tool to help you improve the energy efficiency of your data center. It does so in several significant ways:
1. SAN Volume Controller is designed to migrate data from older to newer disk systems without disruption to applications, which helps make it easier and quicker for you to implement more energy efficient storage.
2. SAN Volume Controller is designed to simplify implementation of a tiered storage infrastructure and improve performance of lower tier storage, which helps optimize the mix of storage you deploy and may enable greater use of lower tier storage.
3. IBM Real-time Compression with SAN Volume Controller can help increase the effective capacity of storage up to five times1 and reduce requirements for additional storage in the future, which can help reduce the total amount of physical storage required and so helps reduce energy use. The thin provisioning and “snapshot” functions are designed to extend this benefit even further.
4. The IBM Easy Tier function automatically moves more active data to solid-state drives, which helps enable use of fewer, more energy efficient disk drives to reduce energy consumption.
Technology designed for a dynamic infrastructure
IBM offers a rich, diverse and integrated array of virtualization solutions, spanning from x86 systems to IBM System z® mainframes to storage virtualization with SAN Volume Controller and beyond. Furthermore, IBM can work effectively with you to develop key business strategies and processes to capitalize on those solutions’ benefits—all while guided by established best practices.
With IBM’s help, businesses today can leverage the many engaging opportunities virtualization technologies present in enhancing every aspect of how IT works in the overall organization.
1 Compression data based on IBM measurements. Compression rates vary by data type and content.
Browse System Storage
Storwize family Financing
Easy, affordable IBM Storwize systems payment options
Dedicate more of your IIT budget
to business growth projects
IBM Smarter Storage includes the IBM FlashSystem to help data move faster and allow organizations to scale further.
IBM Storwize family
Efficient. Virtualized. Flash optimized.
IBM Real-time Compression and Storwize V7000 and SVC demo
See how to set up IBM Real-time Compression and its benefits
Taneja Group analyst report
Reduce costs with IBM Real-time Compression and SAN Volume Controller
SVC client reference video
University of Pittsburgh gives users faster access to data
Cost-effective enterprise solutions with SVC and XIV
Parkview Health helps deliver superb patient care