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IBM Pushes Shark's Copy Buttons

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is staying away from the bandwidth catfight between Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) -- instead, it's highlighting new data-replication features for its Enterprise Storage Server (a.k.a. Shark) (see IBM Shark Boosts Replication).

Big Blue this week previewed several enhancements to Shark, scheduled to be generally available June 27, which include new versions of FlashCopy and Peer-to-Peer Remote Copy (PPRC); new "capacity on demand" options; and better performance for read-only data.

"While some of our competitors are pointing to bandwidth and trying to confuse the issue, we're providing additional functionality to our customers," says Jim Tuckwell, marketing manager for IBM's Enterprise Storage Server (ESS).

Of course, IBM may be sidestepping performance because Shark doesn't even come close to matching the claims of either HDS or EMC. The ESS 800 provides 1.28 GByte/s of internal bandwidth, via eight 160-MByte/s Serial Storage Architecture (SSA) loops, according to IBM. By comparison, EMC claims its top-of-the-line Symmetrix DMX2000 delivers 50 times that -- 64 GByte/s -- and HDS says the Lightning 9900V offers 10.6 GByte/s of data bandwidth (see EMC vs HDS: Bandwidth Brawl and Does EMC's DMX Measure Up?).

But Ed Broderick, principal analyst at consulting firm Robert Frances Group, believes IBM's Shark is competitive in terms of overall performance. Besides, he says, that's just one element of a larger set of buying considerations.

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