Wednesday, 21 June 2006

The missing storage generation

My Tuning Manager issues go on; there's obviously a problem with the version I'm using - reports don't work correctly even after the re-install. However one, small side effect, I picked up the wrong subsystems to monitor after a reboot of the TM server. This was because I didn't follow the instructions and ensure that the LUN binding remained the same after reboot. That meant the physicaldevice assignments from Windows changed after reboot and TM kindly picked up the wrong systems. My fault. My suggestion of the day, RTFM.

I had a very nice man at HDS contact me and explain how much better Version 5 is. Well, I'd agree - nice interface, in fact the whole HiCommand suite has nice colours at the top. Tuning Manager is green I think, Device Manager is blue. From what I know, the aim was to improve the GUI first, hence the first 5.x release - then concentrate on the other features which needed improving. I'll have an evaluation of done soon and I'll let you know how it rocks.

I started out working on mainframes. For those who are too young to remember, these were huge machines with football fields of storage and stored about the same amount of data as you can get on an iPod (apologies to those older than me who remember 360, I started on 370 and ESA). Running mainframes has become a problem; see which dicusses the shortage of mainframe trained people. Anyway, that wasn't my reason for bringing it up; here's the reason. 17 years ago, IBM released DFSMS - the Storage Management Subsystem (or System Managed Storage). This allowed files to be directed to the most appropriate storage tier based on the importance of the file. These policy settings could be specified using a basic like language which allowed complex decisions on file locations to be made. Data was backed up and moved between tiers using a hierarchical storage manager - ILM.

Best of all, we had SAN in the form of ESCON, Enterprise System Connection, only recently replaced by FICON, but a fibre interconnect solution. One advanced feature offered virtualisation; EMIF - Escon Multi-Image Facility. This allowed any interface (e.g. HBA) to be used by any domain on the mainframe to connect to the storage. This isn't even possible today - every domain in say a Sun F15 or E25 as an example, needs dedicated HBA cards.

So what happened to the development of storage features between the late 80's and today? Where did the storage generation go? Personally, I moved to Open Systems and watched all these features being re-invented. Best of all, I loved the way all the "new" features in the O/S world were discovered! Nostalgia is not what it used to be....

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