IBM has modified its network-based storage virtualisation management software to run on Cisco's network switches, in a move that is likely to be copied by other switch vendors.
IBM's recently released TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) software will run on Cisco MDS 9000 multi-layer intelligent storage area network (San) directors and fabric switches.
Steve Cliff, IBM's EMEA sales manager for storage virtualisation, said the appliance was vendor-agnostic but that the switch option would be very attractive to Cisco switch users and resellers.
"It is the very first switch-based virtualisation product to come on the market and so gives Cisco a market lead," he said. "For Cisco users it means it is all in one place so takes less space."
The product's functionality is identical to the standalone product with no discernable performance difference, he said, adding that agreements with other switch vendors would be announced soon.
Paul Evans, technical services manager at Sagitta Performance Systems, which supplies the IBM SVC, told vnunet.com: "There's a position for both products. [IBM's] is more scalable and independent from the San, [Cisco's] provides a single box with all the functionality, which is very attractive for a fresh installation."
While other switch vendors had made company purchases in order to develop virtualisation software in-house, the IBM software was already tried and tested so customers would feel more comfortable, Evans added.
IBM and Cisco are working through their respective reseller channels and commencing some joint promotions.
Many IBM server resellers also supply Cisco equipment, and work is progressing on identifying Cisco storage suppliers rather than working simply with internet service providers.
IBM will start shipping version 1.1 of the software this week, with Cisco updating it in the first quarter of next year, according to Cliff. The initial Cisco release, due to ship on 5 December, uses version 1.0 of IBM's software.
Cisco has developed a caching services module blade for the switch to host the IBM software. This includes two hot-swappable nodes, each with dual Risc processors, 4GB memory and battery back-up to achieve high availability.
The cost of the complete device will be about £67,000.
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