EMC Upgrades Data Mobility Software

EMC adds volume management and multi-vendor array support to its PowerPath data mobility software, and offers a glimpse of future features in that product.

EMC Wednesday upgraded its PowerPath software to help customers better move the data in their storage networks.

PowerPath improves application availability, performance and management between servers, switches, and storage. The Hopkinton, Mass. firm announced this latest step in the evolution of its AutoIS strategy, adding volume management, multi-vendor array support, and other features to its data transmission software to make it "network aware."

EMC, which unveiled partnerships with Microsoft and Cisco Systems at the EMC Technology Summit in Las Vegas this week, also discussed seamless data mobility and intelligent network features for the future.

The company explains the importance of such upgrades in PowerPath by noting that data mobility is increasingly being addressed by storage firms, as software developers realize that failure at any point from disk drive to an application can effect the entire path of data. With so much riding on the retrieval of stored data, this is an important feature, one that storage software vendors such EMC and Veritas have been striving to improve. Industry experts concur.

"It is not enough to manage just one point along the way, nor is it enough to manage every point along the way in isolation, not considering the upstream and downstream effects," said Clipper Group Analyst Michael Fisch. "Storage quality of service depends on the proper balance and maintenance of the entire data path, from start to finish."

That is what EMC aims to address with its new PowerPath features, the most important being PowerPath Volume Manager, which improves storage distribution and makes the configuration and management of storage products easier. PowerPath Volume Manager offers data virtualization, striping and mirroring, addressing tools customers would need in their storage infrastructure.

PowerPath Volume Manager can automatically detect the expansion of storage volumes such as hardware appliances, and re-size the logical volume group to use the free space available without disruption; import mirrored copies of a volume to the same host for backup, restore, and repurposing chores; set policies to improve the performance and capacity utilization of disks; and provide I/O performance statistics for each volume to analyze and tune performance.

The PowerPath Volume Manager feature is included free with EMC PowerPath, which will support storage arrays from Hitachi Data Systems, IBM and HP beginning in 2003.

In the third quarter 2003, EMC said PowerPath will deliver even better data mobility to help customers move online application data from one storage array to another in a networked storage environment without effective application performance. This future version of PowerPath will be able to automatically re-configure the application to access data at a new location.

"By taking advantage of the intelligence in the network, PowerPath does this, and enables customers to do things they never could before -- move data from one array to another without disrupting the application, grow volume sizes automatically, and manage multi-vendor storage easily and quickly," said Chris Gahagan, EMC Senior Vice President of Infrastructure Software.

EMC will look to deploy aspects of the PowerPath feature set in current and future intelligent switches.






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