IBM is to expand its "on-demand" menu of offerings with products designed to help companies make more efficient use of their servers and storage equipment.
These include storage virtualisation products, software for pooling application servers, tools that make it easier to add servers to increase capacity and balance server load, and "pay-as-you-grow" offerings for storage and blade server systems.
Many businesses are now simplifying their IT environments and cutting the cost of running systems they have in place. Storage virtualisation provides a single view of and easy access to all storage resources on a network. It is meant to help companies optimise storage capacity utilisation and simplify the use and management of multiple storage systems.
IBM's San (Storage Area Network) Volume Controller, SAN Integration Server and SAN File System are the company's first storage virtualisation products, said Scott Drummond, IBM's director of storage networking.
The IBM virtualisation products will, initially,work only with IBM storage hardware. Products from other suppliers, including Hewlett-Packard, EMC and Hitachi Data Systems, will be tested and should be supported by the end of the year.
The San Volume Controller, for companies who already have a San, is due out in July and will be priced from $75,000. The San Integration Server, for those companies looking to add capacity or build their first San, is due in August. Pricing for that product has not been set.
The San File System should be available in December. It is a San-wide file system that automates management of data in most popular storage systems, according to IBM.
IBM also announced software that will allow users to pool application servers and then balance the workload between them dynamically as traffic volumes change. Users can also apply multiple application servers to the highest priority task at any particular time.
IBM Server Technology for WebSphere Application Server will, initially, be offered to a limited number of customers who use the Enterprise Edition of IBM's WebSphere Application Server. The price will be about $100,000, which includes the software and services.