Are your storage requirements growing too fast? Are the costs of managing this growth taking more and more of your IT budget? Would you like to make a better use of existing storage without adding more complexity to the infrastructure? IBM System Storage® SAN Volume Controller (SVC) can help solve these problems and get you on the road towards a more flexible, responsive and efficient storage environment. SVC is designed to deliver the benefits of storage virtualization in environments from large enterprises to small businesses and midmarket companies.

Easy to implement

IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) software is delivered preinstalled on SVC Storage Engines so it is quickly ready for implementation once the engines are attached to your storage area network (SAN). SVC Storage Engines are based on proven IBM System x® server technology and are always deployed in redundant pairs, which are designed to deliver very high availability.

SVC is designed to take control of existing storage, retaining all your existing information. This ability helps speed and simplify implementation while helping to minimize the need for additional storage. Once SVC is implemented, you can make changes to the configuration quickly and easily as needed.

SVC uses a completely new graphical user interface modeled on the IBM XIV® Storage System, which has been very well received by customers. The user interface is designed to be very easy to use and includes many built-in IBM recommendations to help simplify storage provisioning and enable new users to get started quickly.

Plugins to support Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and VMware vCenter help enable more efficient consolidated management in these environments.

iSCSI server attachment

SVC supports attachment to servers using iSCSI protocols over IP networks at 1 Gpbs or 10 Gbps speeds, which can help reduce costs and simplify server configuration. iSCSI attachment avoids the cost of Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs) in servers and reduces the need for Fibre Channel switch ports. This new capability may be particularly attractive for IBM BladeCenter® server configurations.

Complement server virtualization

Server virtualization helps speed provisioning of new server images because provisioning becomes a software operation rather than requiring hardware changes. Similarly, provisioning with SVC is achieved with software and thin provisioning, and is designed to become an almost entirely automated function. Without SVC, server provisioning could be slowed by the need to provision storage.

Support for VMware vStorage APIs enables SVC to take on some storage-related tasks that were previously performed by VMware, which helps improve efficiency and frees up server resources for other more mission-critical tasks.

Functions such as vMotion support application mobility between physical servers. Similarly, SVC is designed to support nondisruptive data migration between storage systems. In addition, SVC helps make storage potentially available to all attached servers, greatly increasingly the flexibility for using vMotion. Without SVC, use of vMotion could be limited by storage being dedicated to specific servers.

Because SVC appears to servers as a single type of storage, virtual server provisioning is also simplified because only a single driver type is needed in server images, which also simplifies administration of those server images. Similarly, SVC eases replacing storage or moving data from one storage type to another because these changes do not require changes to server images. Without SVC, changes of storage type could require disruptive changes to server images.

Server virtualization helps increase flexibility and reduce costs for disaster recovery by enabling the use of different physical configurations at production and recovery sites. Common virtual server configurations are used on these different physical infrastructures. Similarly, SVC supports the use of different physical storage configurations at production and recovery sites yet helps create the same virtual configuration at each site. Without SVC, production and recovery site physical storage configurations would need to be similar, potentially increasing costs.

The IBM FlashCopy® snapshot replication function can be used to help reduce storage requirements when cloning boot drives for multiple virtual servers. When using this function, additional storage is used only for differences among servers instead of needing storage for each boot drive.

Many customers run mixed environments with a variety of virtualized and non-virtualized servers and expect to do so for years to come. SVC provides an external storage virtualization function that operates in a consistent manner and provides consistent services for all attached servers, regardless of whether or not those servers are virtualized. In contrast, server-based storage virtualization techniques differ from server to server which makes mixed environments more complex, rather than less.

Reduce storage used for copies

The SVC FlashCopy snapshot replication function is designed to dramatically reduce storage requirements when copying data by using additional physical storage only for the differences between source and target and not for the entire target volume capacity.

This capability can be used to help reduce storage requirements for test environments that are copied from production data. For example, SAP users often maintain multiple copies of production data for testing. Using the FlashCopy snapshot replication function to maintain these test environments can help significantly reduce the amount of physical storage required.

Enhanced data mobility for high availability

Clients are increasingly deploying virtualized servers using PowerVM, VMware, and other technologies in high availability configurations, including multisite clustered implementations. Such configurations provide attractive options for high availability and load balancing.

To enhance this capability, an SVC cluster can also be installed in a stretched configuration where a single SVC cluster supports storage and servers in two data centers. In this configuration, SVC enables a highly-available stretched volume to be concurrently accessed by servers at both data centers. When combined with server data mobility functions such as VMware vMotion an SVC stretched cluster enables nondisruptive storage and virtual machine mobility between the two data centers. Depending on application performance requirements, SVC stretched clusters may be deployed between data centers up to 300km apart.

SVC stretched clusters may be combined with SVC Metro Mirror or Global Mirror to support a third data center for applications that require both high availability and disaster recovery in a single solution.

Improve energy efficiency

Many data centers today are focusing on reducing their energy usage to reduce costs and out of concern for the environment. SAN Volume Controller can be a key tool to help you improve the energy efficiency of your data center.


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