New Storage Manager Skips AS/400, Focuses on SANs

Tivoli Systems Inc. (Austin, Texas) has released the latest version of its Storage Manager software without support for AS/400, but the company intends to support the platform in later releases, once IBM makes AS/400 compatible with Storage Area Network (SAN) architecture.

“The main focus for Tivoli Storage Manager 4.1 is SAN exploitation, and AS/400 right now doesn’t have SAN capability,” says Troy Pladson, director of strategy, marketing and business development for Tivoli.

Tivoli announced the release of Storage Manager 4.1 at the annual Planet Tivoli expo in Philadelphia last month. Storage Manager integrates automated network backup, restore and archive, storage management and disaster recovery functions. One of the primary improvements being touted in the new release is LAN-free backup capability for companies using SAN technology. This capability is currently available through Storage Manager 4.1 on Unix servers and for Unix and Windows NT client machines.Backup across a dedicated SAN frees up large amounts of bandwidth on the local area network (LAN) which is then able to handle a greater number of other business processes more quickly. And because data moves much faster over a SAN than a LAN, companies can benefit from a smaller backup window, according to Pladson.

Tivoli engineers are reportedly working with Rochester’s development team in order to keep current with IBM’s efforts to make fibre channel available on AS/400. While Pladson says he could not make any specific predictions about a delivery date, he says Tivoli will have a product in production as soon as the technology becomes available. He adds the company hopes fibre channel capability for AS/400 might be developed in time for the release of Storage Manager 4.2, although he stressed no definite time frame has been set.

“We’re working very closely with the AS/400 team and we are pretty much in lockstep with them, so that when they provide fibre channel connectivity for SANs, we’ll have product there,” Pladson explains. “... We hope to have it available in conjunction with general availability. Our plan is not only to help them with their plans, but they also help us with our plans for product development on AS/400.”

While Tivoli’s focus for the new release of Storage Manager is on SAN capability, version 4.1 has other enhancements as well, says Pladson. The new release has been designed with “significant performance improvements” for both backup and restore processes. To take advantage of the growing market for mobile technology, Storage Manager 4.1 also features “adaptive differencing” technology for backup of subfiles at the block or byte level. This enhancement is designed to serve remote users with slow connections to the server by allowing them to backup isolated changes to files, without having to send whole files over a modem connection.

For users of EMC’s Symmetrix, Storage Manager client or server connects directly with EMC’s TimeFinder software, which provides online information backup, restore and management capabilities directly through SCSI. The advantage of this technology is that it provides “point-in-time” data capture—the equivalent of taking a photograph of the data to be used for backup, rather than transferring the data itself, so that there is almost no application downtime.

“This process takes data off of the LAN and off of the application server,” Pladson says. “It completely offloads the data from that server.”

Tivoli is also working with IBM as they develop a similar product, called Flash Copy, for the Enterprise Storage Server (ESS), better known as Shark. Tivoli is developing this interoperability as part of its eventual goal of providing completely server-free backup capability.

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    Related Information:

  • Tivoli Systems Inc. (new window)
  • Storage Manager Overview (new window)
  • IBM Enterprise Storage Server Page (new window)