IBM to release Shark upgrades

IBM Tuesday announced several upcoming enhancements to its flagship storage array, the Enterprise Storage Server Model 800, including long distance data mirroring or peer-to-peer remote copy (PPRC) without the use of snapshot, an additional 6.9TB of standby capacity and a new version of its FlashCopy software.

The company also cut the convenience charge for additional standby capacity from 25 percent to 10 percent. According to Jim Tuckwell, marketing manager for IBM's Enterprise Storage Systems division, the standby capacity feature was popular with the previous Shark model.

The upgrades will be generally available June 27.

Mike Kahn, manager director of The Clipper Group Inc. in Wellesley, Mass., said the changes are significant, depending on a user's needs. Many of the upgrades automate functions, such as sending copies of data over thousands of miles asynchronously for disaster recovery, that were already available on the older model of the Shark, he said.

Instead of pausing the flow of data so a snapshot can be taken, as is now required, copies can be made on a transactional basis to a secondary array in another data center and then transferred over IP, as if from a primary data center to a disaster recovery site thousands of miles away. That method of data transfer is known as asynchronous replication, where one array doesn't need to acknowledge it's received the data before another data set is transferred.

IBM's version 2 of FlashCopy now offers up to 10 times the amount of data previously transferable with that function. And up to 12 different targets can receive point-in-time copies.

Tuckwell said IBM also improved the command line interface so it can perform lists of deletes in terms of user management, performance counters and count key data volumes.

Prices for new versions of FlashCopy will be roughly 20 percent more than the previous version and about 25 percent more for the latest version of PPRC. Both applications start at about US$60,000 each.

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