IBM Embraces ILM with New Storage Lines -

IBM Embraces ILM with New Storage Lines

Months after its competition trumpeted information lifecycle management (ILM), IBM Wednesday leapt onto the ILM bandwagon with a new storage strategy that combines ILM, virtualization, and tiered storage with the company's broad on-demand approach.

At a press event in Cambridge, Mass., IBM executives promised to integrate and simplify storage management in order to enable users to provision resources for storing and retrieving information on the fly, through a combination of virtualization and tiered storage layers.

They also characterized ILM as a piece, but not the only piece, needed for a completely managed storage system.

Big Blue accented its strategy with new products, including the FAStT100, a near-line storage device that houses 250 gigabytes to 56 terabytes, and the new Tivoli Provisioning Manager, software that allocates resources in storage devices and servers.

Rounding out the new offerings for the Armonk, N.Y.-based company were Write Once, Read Many (WORM) and storage area network (SAN) refresh capabilities.

In outlining the refined strategy, IBM executives described a way to mesh storage, a technology hotspot made crucial by new data retention mandates, with the company's broad strategy for providing business on-demand, which promises minimal labor and wide-sweeping automation for data centers.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger, vice president Technology and Strategy at IBM, triggered the news event by describing how an industrial society is moving to an information-based society, where users in the consumer and enterprise space are relying on storage and devices to safeguard their information and keep them connected with the outside world.

The executive, known for fostering IBM's move into the Internet and its e-business on-demand focus, promised that IBM will press onward in its storage strategy by simplifying infrastructure, supporting open standards, and accommodating heterogeneous environments.

The executive also recounted what has become a familiar pledge from IBM: to integrate everything — people, processes, and information. In a practical example, Wladawsky-Berger pointed to IBM's Lotus Workplace Client, a software product to facilitate on-demand computing and keep end users connected to their information from any device.

"A major challenge for our storage team is to provide an underpinning to integrate all of the diverse infrastructure, standards, and heterogeneous environments, regardless of information type," he said.

Another challenge IBM is tackling, according to Wladawksy-Berger, is providing infrastructure simplification and management. With the call for infrastructure exploding due to lower acquisition costs, the executive stressed virtualization as a way to "hide complexity from everyone."

IBM's Plans for ILM

While IBM's pledge for ILM bears a resemblance to announcements from rivals EMC , VERITAS Software , and Hitachi Data Systems at first blush, company officials claim IBM's resources will give the firm a leg up.

Rich Lechner, vice president of IBM Storage, said IBM plans to offer ILM through a combination of near-line storage, on-line storage, and tape storage to help move reference data to the right storage. He added that automating storage in the data center will reduce both human error and costs.

Looking forward, Lechner said IBM will deliver storage blades, which will operate like self-contained server blades to allow customers to house their entire infrastructure in one box.

As for the new products, the new FAStT100 Storage Server uses Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (Serial ATA or SATA) to pick up where the FAStT600 left off, and is geared for near-line storage, which is the on-site storage of data on removable media. The device is geared for small and medium-sized (SMBs) businesses looking to house infrequently used data.

Fitted to accommodate 16 partitions, the machine is geared to run with eServer pSeries and and xSeries servers from IBM, as well as with other Intel and UNIX-based servers.

IBM's new WORM features, designed for the TotalStorage 3592 tape drive, are geared to help companies concerned about storing data for the long term due to record-keeping compliance laws. IBM also introduced a new 60 gigabyte cartridge for the 3592 tape drive.

Tivoli Provisioning Manager allocates and provisions servers, operating systems, middleware, applications, and devices, offering workflows that trigger manual provisioning and deployment. It is the center piece for the capacity provisioning features of the new TotalStorage Productivity Center with Advanced Provisioning, a storage capacity provisioning product geared to cut cost and data center complexity.

Other components of the offering include Tivoli Storage Resource Manager, Tivoli SAN Manager, and TotalStorage Multiple Device Manager Performance Manager.

Provisioning cuts back on manual labor by automatically triggering IT hardware and software on the fly as users request resources such as storage and applications. The system comes with storage capacity building blocks that allow customers to craft volumes, assign them, and create zones.

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