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Cisco and IBM collaborate on network-hosted storage virtualization.

Cisco (Nasdaq:CSCO) and IBM have introduced a jointly developed solution designed to help customers further drive down the costs and complexity of managing data by providing them flexible, storage area networking (SAN) options to improve storage resource utilization.

The solution is based on the IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller storage software which has been tailored to be hosted on the Cisco MDS 9000 Multilayer Intelligent Family of SAN directors and fabric switches. The new solution allows customers to administer volume management, data replication, and point-in-time copies directly from the network, giving them a single point of control and management across multiple storage subsystems.

Using this solution, IT administrators will be able to consolidate, or "virtualize," multiple and disparate storage subsystems into logical pools. By dynamically provisioning storage from the SAN switches, users can avoid taking servers or storage subsystems offline as changes are required. This capability is intended to reduce the amount of planned downtime normally associated with storage infrastructure changes and help simplify administration tasks. The ability to manage heterogeneous storage environments also allows customers to use lower-cost storage to address the requirements of their applications or business functions.

"By integrating IBM's intelligent storage virtualization technology into Cisco's MDS 9000 switches, customers are now presented with more options to reduce the pain, complexity and administration of their storage networks," said Jens Tiedemann, Vice President Storage Software Marketing, IBM. "Today, customers have the choice and flexibility to maximize their storage investments through a SAN virtualization layer using the IBM SAN Volume Controller technology delivered as an appliance, integrated storage solution, or via the SAN fabric using the Cisco MDS 9000 family. Combined with the IBM TotalStorage SAN File System, customers are now offered the broadest family of virtualization solutions in the marketplace."

The Cisco MDS 9000 has a modular design that enables interchangeable modules to be inserted into their chassis. Cisco has developed a new module, the Caching Services Module (CSM) that will host the IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller Storage Software for Cisco MDS 9000. The Caching Services Module, which includes two independent nodes for IBM's software, offers 8 gigabytes of cached memory and is hot-swappable, with redundantly configured components for high-performance, low-latency, and highly available SAN transactions. Customers can deploy this module in either the Cisco MDS 9500 series directors or in the Cisco MDS 9216 fabric switch.

The software running on the CSM is based upon the IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller Software, which was delivered earlier this year as an appliance operating on modified IBM eServer xSeries servers in the Storage Area Network (SAN) fabric. The SAN Volume Controller for Cisco MDS 9000 Solution has the same feature, function and interoperability as the appliance solution, with the advantage of being more tightly coupled and packaged inside the Cisco MDS 9000 switch instead of separately in the fabric. The SAN Volume Controller Software in both implementations is designed to provide centralized storage volume management and improves storage resource utilization across the entire SAN environment.

The joint development of the IBM SAN Volume Controller for Cisco MDS 9000 Solution is the latest in a long line of global strategic alliance engagements between IBM and Cisco relating to storage networking. IBM was the first fully qualified Cisco OSM (original storage manufacturer) to resell the Cisco MDS 9000 through its sales force and IBM Business Partners. IBM was also the first Cisco OSM to qualify and resell the Cisco MDS 9000 IP Storage Services Module. And IBM and Cisco are working together to deploy up to 8,000 Cisco MDS 9000 ports for the AXA Group, the largest planned implementation for the Cisco SAN switches to date.

"The IBM SAN Volume Controller for Cisco MDS 9000 is a fulfillment of Cisco's strategy to make our SAN switches an open platform on which industry-leading storage software vendors can migrate their applications," said Soni Jiandani, vice president of Marketing for the Storage Technology Group at Cisco. "The solution is also another example of the value to customers and technological innovation that Cisco and IBM are working to deliver."

The IBM SAN Volume Controller for Cisco MDS 9000 is expected to be generally available through IBM and IBM Business Partners beginning December 5, 2003.
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Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 27, 2003
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