Storage Illumination with BVQ

I haven’t really delved much into the world of IBM since I started writing for Gestalt IT. That changed when I sat in on a product briefing with SVA Software.

SVA Software is a pretty new venture. Their big play is within the IBM storage market. It’s a pretty specialized niche, but after seeing some of their product, looks to be useful. It’s no secret that the big trend in IT is abstraction tied to excellent data visualization. We’ve seen this in all sectors, from networking to virtualization. SVA is offering this to IBM storage.

Image you’ve got your IBM SAN Volume Controller humming along in your data center. SVA is offering a way to get better performance visualization from your storage. Their BVQ solution is software only, and focuses solely on monitoring. At this point they’re not looking into any remediation directly. The install looks to be relatively painless, I was told it should be setup in about forty-five minutes.

So aside from some slick visuals, what else does BVQ offer? Well one major benefit is better historic data on your storage. A SVC only has a 24-hour snapshot to work with. This is useful for seeing the current state of your storage, but if you’re trying to understand it in a larger performance context over time, very limiting. BVQ by default saves 100 days worth of performance metrics, and this can be configured to whatever works best for your deployment.

BVQ Topology View

With this data, you can view either a topology or tree map of what your storage is doing. The topology will show heat maps across your storage, with difference lenses for performance, efficiency and utilization perspectives. From the topology, you can drill down into a table view for more precise information, but the famed single pane of glass view looks pretty well thought out for visibility.

BVQ also packs in some practical features that may not be the most eye-catching, but are essential to a modern storage solution. It includes an SLA package, allowing engineers to set policy and have monitoring setup to make sure there are no violations natively. I also saw that there was some talk of simulated performance, but didn’t get any specifics if this was tied their SLA tools. The other interesting feature is chargeback, vital to making sure storage is provisioned and accounted for appropriately across a large organization.

SVA is setting up pricing for BVQ on a $5,000 per chassis basis, closely following what companies are already familiar with from IBM. They claim this comes in at one-tenth the cost of something like Virtual Instruments. If so that’s a pretty big differentiator.

For a new company with a niche product,  SVA Software is not speeding toward a massive rollout. A lot of their success with tied to establishing credibility within the IBM ecosystem, so they’re focusing on a the East Coast for a US rollout initially. The IBM world isn’t exempt from outside enterprise trends entirely. A solution that provides useful storage visualization without additional hardware could be a very welcome product in the market.

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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