Dan's Take

Startup Offers Insight Into IBM Virtual Storage

SVA Software comes out of stealth mode.

I was able to catch the SVA Software folks as they were rushing to prepare for IBM's Edge Conference, which is being held in Las Vegas this week. We first chatted about the company, where it came from, its focus on monitoring and optimizing, IBM's take on virtualized storage, and the launch of BVQ. Here's a quick summary of the conversation.

SVA Software, Inc. was founded in 2016. It's a division of SVA System Vertrieb Alexander GmbH, the largest IBM system integrator in Germany with more than 500 employees at 14 locations worldwide. The company has packaged up tools and expertise that has made its parent company one of IBM's largest storage virtualization partners.

During our conversation, SVA Software discussed BVQ and how it evolved to help users of IBM's Spectrum virtualized storage system understand how storage is being used, as well as how to make the system perform better. There are three main tools:

  • Utilization analysis improves storage efficiency, reducing cost and operational risks
  • Performance analysis ensures storage infrastructure is always running at peak efficiencies
  • Operational intelligence guides strategic configuration and business operational decisions

As a division of an IBM channel partner, SVA Software's go-to-market strategy centers on helping other channel partners support their customers.

Dan's Take: Virtual Storage Creates Real Problems
One of the big challenges for virtualized storage -- that is, storage designed to hide the complexities of where and how data is actually being stored -- is seeing through the virtualization to monitor how storage devices are actually being used.

The use of virtualized storage means that that application-specific data is being spread across different storage volumes. It's quite possible that different applications will be making heavy use of some storage volumes and light use of others. This can lead directly to poor performance, as well as reliability problems.

BVQ reaches through the storage virtualization technology and has the ability to monitor usage patterns of all physical storage volumes and devices, analyze that data and present it in a very intuitive "treemap."  The size of individual items and how heavily they're being used is displayed in an easy-to-understand dashboard.

What was really interesting is that the simple display doesn't dumb-down the capabilities of the product. A storage administrator can easily click through a storage item to get detailed information on the size and use of that item. They don't have to leave the dashboard to get detailed information.

The product also offers useful reporting tools that can make historical usage data easy to understand as well.

Going Beyond IBM
At the moment, BVQ is focused on the needs of users of IBM Spectrum storage systems. It's clear that this focus could be expanded as customers' requirements change. I would suspect that we're going to hear of support of other virtual storage systems sometime in the future.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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