IBM’s VSC: A Hypervisor for your Storage Environment

With data continuing to grow, it has become imperative for companies to not only improve their storage efficiency but also reduce the administrative complexity as well. Being able to implement efficient storage is great, but if you have to hire more admin to manage the new storage, your “saved costs” have now been eliminated.

The IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center provides a cost-effective method to integrate existing storage technologies into a storage cloud. (what? no rip and replace?) The IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center has three central characteristics that are key to harnessing today’s massive volumes of data for business insight and success: efficient by design, self-optimizing, and cloud agile.


IBM’s SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center can help simplify your storage management operations and help you to achieve enhanced storage efficiency with more control over performance and management.

What is IBM’s Virtual Storage Center (VSC)?

IBM’s VSC is both a storage virtualization platform and a storage virtualization management tool . All under one software product license, VSC is the combination of IBM’s Tivoli Storage Productivity Center. Tivoli Storage Flashcopy Manager and the IBM San Volume Controller.

Tivoli Storage Productivity Center is the management component in VSC. It enables configuration management, configuration change management, storage optimization, tiered storage capacity optimization and reporting, and policy-based management.

IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager is the data backup and restore component in VSC,which delivers fast application-aware backups and restores, leveraging advanced snapshot technologies. These capabilities are achieved through the use of advanced snapshot technology designed to help create a higher-performance, lower-impact, application data protection solution.

SVC and IBM Storwize V7000, the virtualization platform components in VSC , are designed to deliver storage virtualization capabilities for organizations of various sizes. It can help solve increasing storage requirements and reduce storage management costs as well. With its Global Mirror (remote mirror) function, the virtualization platform is designed to provide options to help administrators balance network bandwidth requirements and recovery point objectives for applications. This helps to reduce operating costs for disaster recovery solutions. It supports higher recovery point objective (RPO) times, enabling the option to use a lower bandwidth link between mirrored sites and this lower bandwidth mirroring uses space-efficient, FlashCopy targets as sources in remote copy relationships. With the ability to enable remote mirroring from one system to the other, you can have greater flexibility in expanding environments using both Storwize V7000 and SVC in remote mirror relationships.

With IBM VSC you can realize all of the following benefits without a disruptive “remove and replace” of existing storage systems:

  • Turn storage into an agile cloud-based storage environment and manage it effectively without having to replace existing storage systems.
  • Greatly reduce your cost of storage with advanced analytics.
  • Balance workload and dramatically improve data center performance.
  • Implement the complete set of advanced functions available in the IBM Tivoli® Storage Productivity Center, IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC), and IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy® Manager under one license.
  • Performance monitoring that offers performance history as well as threshold and fault alerting designed for improved performance analysis
  • Storage optimization that offers guidance for optimal configuration and enhanced usage, along with data migration recommendations through tiered storage capacity optimization tools
  • Hypervisor for Storage” which actually takes your existing storage and resources and pools it in ways so that you can access them from anywhere inside the SAN fabric.
  • Vendor Agnostic so you can use any storage you currently have on the floor today- whether it be Dell, IBM, EMC, HP whatever and it will allow you to manage all your existing infrastructure under one GUI as well as apply new functionalities to that storage.
  • Manage multiple data centers, so you aren’t limited to just one location, you can manage ALL your storage using one graphical user interface.
  • VSC also gives you the ability to copy  data from one location to another or one volume to another without losing access
  • You can also move workloads around on the fly without having to take them down
  • Self Service Provisioning : Allows your end users to choose the class of storage they would like and the capacity they need and also indicate what server they would like assigned to the storage , this can all be done through a web portal or the process can be automated.
  • In this Storage Hypervisor layer, IBM provides standardized storage services or “Tier One” services such as Thin Provisioning , Compression and Easy tier .These services will be available to ALL the storage that is in the Virtual Storage space (services do not have to be configured to each storage device since they are standardized)

Standardized Storage Services Offered:

  • Real Time Compression: designed to store  50% more active primary data in the same physical disk space. By significantly reducing storage requirements, you can keep up to five times more information online, use the improved efficiency to reduce storage costs, or achieve a combination of greater capacity and reduced cost.
  • IBM Flashcopy : Creates a near-instant copy of active data that can be used for backup or for parallel processing activities; supports backup for recovering corrupted data
  • Thin Provisioning : provides the ability  provision new workloads to only consume the storage space they are actually using.
  • Easy Tier : Moves the most active data to the fastest storage automatically- looks at the actual access patterns of the volumes involved and then moves them to the fastest storage to get better utilization of high priced storage. (eliminating hot spots)
  • Tiered storage optimizer: works in conjunction with easy tier, looks at the entire volume and makes the decision if the utilization rate of that volume is up to par, according to its disk performance, file system data and capacity utilization : it will then move the volume to the appropriate disk automatically without ever losing contact with the server


So what are the Benefits of IBM’s VSC over other Manufacturers?

• IBM’S VSC is First to market! VSC is the first Analytics driven automated tiered storage optimization that can migrate data volumes across brands of storage systems, storage tiers and resource pools.

• Only IBM offers a single solution for comprehensive and heterogeneous policy-based storage management, storage virtualization, advanced data protection, and analytics-based tier optimization.

• Industry-proven, market-leading components (SVC virtualization software, TPC, and FlashCopy Manager)

There are new storage devices being introduced everyday by all different manufacturers, but why rip out your entire infrastructure and replace it when you can use what you currently have? IBM’s Smartcloud Virtual Storage Center allows you to do just that while also adding  new features and functions from IBM SVC, IBM TPC, and Flashcopy Manager  to help your storage be managed and run more efficiently. If you would like further information on IBM’s Smartcloud VSC, email us at


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