IBM has added thin provisioning to its high-end DS8000 storage array and has enhanced its XIV storage product.
Thin provisioning involves telling an application it has all the capacity it needs in the storage volume assigned to it, but actually only assigning the capacity needed to write data plus a margin. When this capacity is close to being filled, another chunk of capacity is assigned.
This technique prevents an array from having large amounts of assigned-but-empty disk capacity, allowing an array's total disk capacity to be reduced. More drives can be bought when capacity is needed.
Thin provisioning is a feature that 3PAR, EMC, HDS, and HP have had for some time. IBM's own SAN Volume Controller has had it since June of last year. DS8000 customers will also find that provisioning has become automated and requires less management.
The scalable XIV storage array, which IBM acquired when it bought the XIV company last year, has had dual processors added, speeding up some workloads by up to 30 per cent. Tivoli Productivity Center 4.1 now supports the XIV product. IBM has also added support for the Lghtweight Director Access Protocol (LDAP) which enables single sign-on and consolidated access control for multiple systems.
IBM will add asynchronous mirroring to the XIV products later this year, which will improve business continuity and disaster recovery. The mirroring can take place across continental distances.
The XIV improvements are available at no charge. DS8000 thin provisioning is charged on a per-model basis and starts at $69,000. ®