The IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) is a block-storage virtualization appliance, consisting of software and hardware. There are two versions, with the full enterprise version supporting up to eight nodes in a cluster. The IBM Virtual Storage Center (VSC) is the SVC with IBM Spectrum Protect Snapshot (FlashCopy Manager) and Spectrum Control (Tivoli Storage Productivity Center) sold as a bundled offering. The SVC software is named IBM Spectrum Virtualize and offered as the foundation of other products and for the public cloud.
IBM’s SVC is based on standard Intel-based servers. The hardware nodes are rack-mountable systems with a custom front bezel, display, and a custom interconnect between the controller pair for high availability. The SVC software consists of custom code running on a Linux operating system. The software performs target mode emulation for the attached servers and maps the logical unit numbers (LUNs) in blocks to the physical LUNs. Input / output (I/O) is done to the attached storage as an initiator from the SVC. Functions like point-in-time copy (FlashCopy), remote replication (Global Mirror and Metro Mirror), and active-active stretched clusters (HyperSwap) represent additional advanced features that are optionally available. The virtualization of external storage systems from a variety of vendors is the primary function. The IBM SVC includes data reduction with compaction, deduplication, and compression of primary data, now included without an additional license charge. Data is deduplicated, compressed, and packed into allocation blocks as it is received in the SVC controllers and stored in a compressed form on the external systems. Data can be encrypted at the volume level for both internal (solid-state drives (SSDs)) and external storage.
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