Shark array gets new disaster recovery features

As part of this week’s mainframe announcement, IBM Corp. introduced several enhancements to its flagship Shark disk array, including support for long-distance data mirroring and for configuring arrays with up to 6.9TB of standby storage capacity.

The company also cut the 25 per cent convenience charge users had to pay to configure standby capacity on their arrays down to 10 per cent of what it would cost to buy the disk drives outright. For example, if the list price for the disk space being put in standby mode is US$100,000, the convenience charge will be $10,000.

Once standby drives are used, users pay the remainder of the purchase price, IBM said.

IBM is also adding a new version of its FlashCopy software for the Shark arrays, which are formally known as the Enterprise Storage Server product line. Version 2 of FlashCopy can transfer up to 10 times more data than the previous release, and up to 12 different target systems can receive point-in-time copies from the software, according to Jim Tuckwell, marketing manager at IBM’s storage division.

The various upgrades are scheduled to become generally available June 27, IBM said.

Mike Kahn, an analyst at The Clipper Group Inc. in Wellesley, Mass., said the new features could be significant, depending on a company’s needs. The upgrades further automate functions that are available with more limited functionality on older Shark models, such as sending copies of data over thousands of miles asynchronously for disaster recovery purposes, he said.

For example, instead of storing an entire data set as the existing snapshot copy capabilities require, users will now be able to copy data on a transactional basis to backup arrays in separate data centers. Remote copies of data can be transferred across the country and cascaded to a second disaster recovery site for increased protection against data loss, IBM said.