IBM, Cisco Support Rivals in Virtualization

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The partnership between IBM and Cisco continues to pay dividends. The companies added support for mid-range arrays from Hitachi Data Systems, EMC and HP for their joint storage virtualization device.

IBM officials said third-party support for the IBM TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) for the Cisco MDS 9000 product was added to help customers with mixed gear move seldom-used data into a tiered system of lower-cost storage.

The enhanced device helps virtualize or pool resources from different machines for access through one console. With it, users can exact volume, management, data replication, and point-in-time copies from the network, giving them a single point of control for several storage systems.

Jeff Barnett, manager of storage software strategy at IBM, said the SVC for the MDS 9000 also now features iSCSI connectivity to serve low-cost environments. Previously, the product only supported devices connected through Fibre Channel storage.

“It provides more flexibility,” Barnett told “In their primary data center most customers today are likely fibre channel-based, but you may have some servers that you’d like to have leveraging your pool of storage.”

The product consists of storage software from SVC, which is embedded into a pair of caching services modules for the Cisco MDS 9000 switches and directors, to provide high availability and performance on storage networks.

While it might seem strange that IBM would support products from its rivals, the Armonk, N.Y. company believes that providing customers with more choice will ultimately sway them to buy IBM FastT mid-range or Shark TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server systems.

It is also likely a necessity at a time when EMC is helping customers shuttle inactive data to less expensive storage media with its information lifecycle management (ILM) strategy. The end goal is to help customers curb the costs and complexity of managing data on computer networks. EMC also is girding for battle with IBM and HP on the virtualization front, planning a storage router for mid-2005.

The new progress is hardly a stretch for IBM, which made a similar release last April, when it made the SVC compatible with EMC’s Clariion and Symmetrix lines. SVC already supported HP and HDS systems.

But Monday’s news marks the first time Big Blue has worked with Cisco to create interoperability within a joint product for alien arrays.

Article courtesy of

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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