StorageTek boosts Virtual Storage Manager

StorageTek has boosted the performance, capacity and connectivity of its Virtual Storage Manager product.

StorageTek has boosted the performance, capacity and connectivity of its Virtual Storage Manager product.

The VSM 4 tricks the computer into thinking that it is 256 disc drives, while the previous version, the VSM 3, dupes the computer into believing it is 64 tape drives.

Steve Aaker, product marketing manager for VSM at StorageTek said instead of automatically writing data onto a tape, the VSM 4 saves the data in a buffer for an amount of time, such as 12 hours or 24 hours that is pre-determined by the network administrator.

He explained that the more recent the data, the more often it is accessed, and not only is it slower to access data stored on a tape, frequent accessing can wear tapes down. With that in mind, the buffer size of VSM 4 has almost tripled from that of VSM 3 from 3.78TBytes to 14.0TBytes.

The VSM also employs algorithms that examines the last-use characteristics of the data, the configuration of the data sets and then migrates them out to real tape drives for storage.

VSM automates the storage process and has the ability to use all of the memory on one tape. Aaker said that existing tapes have capacities of 20GBytes, 100GBytes, 200GBytes up from 400MBytes, 800MBytes five to 10 years ago and that it is often difficult for users to maximise tape space.

Another improvement to VSM 4 is the doubling of channel interfaces to the mainframe from 16 in the VSM 3 to 32.

"This means that there are more ports going into the VSM system which allows customers to do more work and have more configuration flexibility when hooking it up to the operating system on the mainframe," Aaker explained.

Performance has also increased from about 120MBytes/sec to about 240MBytes/sec, depending on compression, ratio between reads and writes and sizes of data blocks.

"The VSM 4 is a much more robust platform," Aaker said. "It has new microprocessors, fibre channel drives within it, and we’ve optimised the code to take care of these things, and what that equates to is that we’ve doubled the performance over its predecessor."

The VSM is compatible only with IBM mainframes, and some Siemens, Unisys and Bull SA mainframes. It is also proprietary and can only be used with other StorageTek tape storage libraries and products and its price ranges from $500,000 (£306,133) to $2m (£1.2m) depending on user requirements.

It is fully compatible with all other versions of VSM and Aaker said the products can work in tandem and be managed simultaneously from a central point of control.

StorageTek’s biggest competitor in this market is IBM which offers the Virtual Tape Server (VTS).

Rebecca Reid writes for


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