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IBM Virtualizes With Cisco Blade Upgrade

IBM is making it easier for solution providers to virtualize storage across multivendor platforms with a new software upgrade to its SAN Volume Controller blade for Cisco Systems' MDS 9000 storage switch.

The SAN Volume Controller, which is also available as a stand-alone appliance from IBM, allows nondisruptive changes, such as increases in capacity, to a storage environment, said Jens Tiedemann, vice president of TotalStorage open software for IBM.

The software upgrade enhances the blade in two main areas, Tiedemann said. First, it allows storage from Hitachi Data Systems' Thunder and Lightning, Hewlett-Packard's EMA and MA, and EMC's Clariion arrays to be virtualized along with IBM's FAStT and Shark arrays. The update also includes HP and Sun Microsystems versions of HDS' Lightning array. This will be extended to EMC's DMX and HP's EVA arrays in the near future, he said.

Multiplatform virtualization has been available in the stand-alone appliance version of the SAN Volume Controller for a few months, he said.

Also new is support for iSCSI through the Cisco MDS 9000 IP Storage Services Module. "This is the first time a major storage vendor has [iSCSI] virtualization outside the array enclosure," Tiedemann said. "This gives a lot more flexibility in the SAN topology with iSCSI."

The majority of appliance sales go through IBM's solution providers, and Tiedemann expects the same to hold true for the blade.

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