New IBM "Shark" Storage System Is on the Prowl

IBM Corp. upgraded several features of its Enterprise Storage Sever Thursday, attempting to both boost mainframe sales and compete more effectively against storage stalwart EMC Corp.

The storage server -- codenamed "Shark" -- aims to mix the reliability of the mainframe world with the variety available in mixed computing environments. New to IBM's latest Shark release are improved disaster recovery systems, Native Fibre Channel support and FlashCopy for open systems, according to a statement from the company.

As part of the upgraded disaster recovery, IBM provided Peer-to-Peer Remote Copy (PPRC) technology. PPRC helps users keep data updated between the primary copy and that located in a remote location. The backup copy can recover data after a failure at the primary location without losing transactions, IBM said. The PPRC technology can stretch over 60 miles.

Also new to Shark, native Fibre Channel support will be included for non-IBM systems. Sun Microsystems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Novell Inc.'s Netware operating systems can all work with the Enterprise Storage Server. Shark already worked with Windows NT and across IBM's entire eServer family.

The FlashCopy technology -- available on the mainframe since July and now with Unix and Windows NT host systems -- lets a user duplicate data without stopping applications for an extended time period.

IBM contends that its FlashCopy technology beats rival EMC's TimeFinder by requiring less administrative input to do online backup of databases without bringing the database down.

IBM released its Shark line in 1999 and then added new features in May of this year. At the time of the upgrade, analysts charged that the lack of Fibre Channel support and limited cache size compared to EMC's Symmetrix line held IBM's product back.

IBM, in Armonk, New York, can be reached at +1-914-499-1900, or http://www.ibm.com/

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