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IBM Delivers Elastic Storage to Linux on System z


Illustration by Mike Novak

File systems are essential to any data center and business. An ever-expanding appetite for data is putting new demands on file system management. The tried-and-true distributed file system has its merits and remains popular, but it also has drawbacks, which can result in bottlenecks and slow data retrieval.

To solve that, IBM developed General Parallel File System (GPFS*), a clustered file system technology that gives businesses high availability to data, reduces bottlenecks and accelerates performance. Many companies have been using GPFS technology for years. IBM Elastic Storage* is a proven, scalable, high-performance data and file management solution based on GPFS technology that’s now being rolled out for Linux* on System z*.

This is good news for clients, including those who are moving from a distributed platform to Linux on System z to gain the mainframe’s reliability, availability and scalability. “These clients are using GPFS technology on the other platform and they want to keep it on the mainframe,” says Gerald Hosch, worldwide offering manager, Linux on System z.

“One of our strategic directions is to further enhance our Linux environment in the high availability and reliability arena, which differentiates Linux on System z from other platforms. Elastic Storage adds to that, and in the end, it all helps to lower IT costs.”
—Gerald Hosch, worldwide offering manager, Linux on System z

At the same time, Elastic Storage gives existing Linux on System z clients the advantage of parallel and concurrent access, which improves the availability of the stored data.

Elastic Storage reduces the bottlenecking problems that can exist on a distributed file system, such as the popular Network File System (NFS), which has one server with data access going through it. Because the connection between client and server is networked, NFS needs a powerful networking infrastructure as well as a strong network protocol. Too many requests can bog down a distributed file system, creating a performance bottleneck and limiting how much data can be served or accessed by the server.

Because Elastic Storage is a clustered file system, it can be shared among several servers that all have access to the data. That brings resiliency into the mix. “That’s the advantage of Elastic Storage,” says Susanne Wintenberger, certified IT specialist, Linux on System z. “When one of the servers fails, the others take over the work.”

Shirley S. Savage is a Maine-based freelance writer. Shirley can be reached at savage.shirley@comcast.net.



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