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IBM's XIV storage unveiled

IBM's XIV storage unveiled

IBM has quietly released the first technology from its acquisition of XIV, the Israeli grid storage start-up headed by a former EMC guru, but the product appears to lack some high-end features and is targeted at only a very limited set of customers.

Without issuing a press release, IBM posted a hardware announcement that says the IBM XIV Storage System is generally available as of now.

"They have exposed a very limited set of capabilities that this architecture is capable of," says Arun Taneja, an analyst at the Taneja Group. "They're not very elaborate in places that matter."

XIV's chairman was Moshe Yanai, who used to be EMC's head of engineering and was the chief architect behind Symmetrix. One analyst called Yanai's move to IBM akin to a Boston Red Sox star joining the New York Yankees.

IBM offers only one configuration, with 180 SATA disk drives, 24 Fibre Channel ports and six iSCSI ports. Besides offering just one version, Taneja says the product literature lacks any reference to some of the high-end features required by next generation Fibre Channel storage systems. (Compare storage products.)

For example, IBM doesn't specify clearly enough whether XIV has a clustered controller design, Taneja says. As described last October in a Taneja report, "Next Generation Fibre Channel Storage Systems Market Forecast 2007-2011," clustered controller design offers more than two active controllers on a storage volume and synchronizes the cache across all active controllers.

"In addition to supporting multiple active controllers, clustered systems virtualize the individual controllers and make the entire set of controllers appear as one single storage system to hosts," Taneja writes.

Taneja does expect clustered controller design and other next-generation features to appear in future versions of the XIV product.

"I believe the architecture has [these features] but IBM didn't feel comfortable presenting them to the market yet," he says.

EMC's chief strategy officer for the Symmetrix line, Barry Burke, took special delight in criticising IBM's XIV release on his blog Tuesday.

Analysts reacted positively after IBM announced its December 31, 2007, acquisition of XIV, and particularly cited XIV's built-in virtualisation technology.


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Tags SymmetrixIBMXIV Storage SystemMoshe YanaiBarry Burkeinternational newsemc

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