New From Big Blue: Stitching Storage Systems

IBM introduces a software suite for knitting multiple, disparate storage resources together.

UPDATE: In an effort to help heterogeneous storage systems interoperate, IBM Tuesday unveiled storage management software that automates and centralizes disparate infrastructure, the latest in its e-business on-demand strategy.

The IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center is designed to improve management of multiple storage systems by using software to stitch a cluster of storage systems together. The product is designed to help companies consolidate storage operations with little human intervention and without having to take the whole network down.

Jeff Barnett, manager of market strategy, IBM storage software, said the suite uses the Storage Management Interface Specification (SMI-S) to help businesses add interoperability between storage hardware and software in their data centers.

Because the suite configures and maintains all the storage servers in the cluster at once, it reduces time spent managing the system, IBM said.

"The majority of customers literally walk around with spreadsheets of configurations -- how much storage is allocated and where," Barnett explained. "There is a whole bunch of info they need to have a grip on with multiple disparate systems, but using the IBM Productivity Center, with Tivoli Storage Resource Manager and Tivoli Storage Area Network Manager the storage manages itself."

These automated management facets are rendered visible by a dashboard of analytics to boost the use of storage resources, Barnett said.

Such functionality is a cornerstone of on-demand or utility computing environments, where automation and always-on availability are used to cut costs associated with IT staff and save money last from transactions during downtime, respectively. IBM's autonomic functionalities also come to bear here, one of the first ingredients of IBM's on-demand shift.

The TotalStorage Productivity Center is another indication of how IBM is spreading its on-demand computing message, in which IT staffs increase or decrease computing resources in their networks, across its vertical markets and brands.

Big Blue competes with HP, Sun Microsystems, VERITAS Software and other large companies in the utility computing sector. It also puts IBM in more direct competition with storage rival EMC .

EMC dismissed IBM's Productivity Suite as a repackaging ploy -- one the Hopkinton, Mass., storage systems rival said is Big Blue's attempt to fill a storage provisioning hole.

"IBM is using its re-branding to present the illusion of integration of its storage software (Tivoli -- TotalStorage). This announcement basically covers over IBM's longstanding inability to use Tivoli to centrally manage IBM storage products," EMC said in a statement submitted to internetnews.com.

IBM said the software will serve as the glue to tie its TotalStorage Open Software line together, blending the Armonk, N.Y. company's storage management and automation perks of its Tivoli line with the storage virtualization features of the IBM TotalStorage Virtualization family, Barnett said.

For example, Productivity Center works with SAN File System (formerly known as Storage Tank) and SAN Volume Controller for file and block-level storage.

But the suite also employs management products from IBM's Tivoli lines to centralize management of multiple storage hardware systems; provide heterogeneous SAN management and autonomic error detection, as well as storage resource management for providing a window view into the environment's performance requirements. But the offering will also better help IBM compete with rival EMC by providing storage provisioning software the company lacked.

EMC dismissed IBM's Productivity Suite as a repackaging ploy -- one the Hopkinton, Mass., storage systems rival said is Big Blue's attempt to fill a storage provisioning hole.

"IBM is using its re-branding to present the illusion of integration of its storage software (Tivoli -- TotalStorage). This announcement basically covers over IBM's longstanding inability to use Tivoli to centrally manage IBM storage products," EMC said in a statement submitted to internetnews.com.

IBM will roll out the Productivity Center in May.






0 Comments (click to add your comment)
Comment and Contribute

 


(Maximum characters: 1200). You have characters left.