IBM sets pricing, availability for SAN virtualization tool

IBM said Tuesday that its first virtualization engine, which will allow customers to pool storage capacity from different arrays so it can be served up to application servers like a utility, will be generally available July 25.

IBM's TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller and SAN Integration Server are designed to provide a centralized point of control for volume management; increase storage administrator efficiency; provide a common platform for advanced functions like copy services, quality of service and security; and improve storage capacity utilization.

The Linux-based SAN Volume Controller will initially pool storage capacity only on IBM's own Shark and FAStT storage servers. With a retail starting price of US$60,000, it comes with two processing servers or engines and two power supplies for redundancy, according to IBM spokesman Clint Roswell.

Additional engines will be sold for $27,000 a pair.

IBM is also offering a prepackaged system that combines the Volume Controller with a FAStT600 array and redundant Fibre Channel switches that will start at $150,000 retail for a 500GB system that can scale to 83TB. The larger the system, the higher the price, of course. A 5TB system, for instance, would sell for $280,000 retail.

IBM earlier this year revealed a three-phase plan for delivering its storage virtualization strategy called Storage Tank that it said will eventually include a common file system for multivendor disk array installations. Storage Tank is the centerpiece of IBM's virtualization technology and is due out in December, according to IBM's spokesman.

The TotalStorage SAN File System device will combine the Storage Tank virtualization software with specialized Linux-based versions of the company's xSeries servers. IBM said it will also release a development specification that will make it possible for other vendors to link storage subsystems on application servers to the SAN File System.

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