IBM's storage virtualising SAN Volume Controller performs faster than any competing product, according to benchmarks - and it's greener, because it uses less energy.

IBM says customers can achieve dramatic reductions in energy consumption with greater performance levels in their data centres. The SVC scored higher than any other product tested under the Storage Performance Council's benchmarks.

SAN (storage area network) storage virtualisation drives up disk space utilisation and this can produce energy savings as fewer disk drives need to be used to hold the same amount of data as before. Many businesses use just 30 to 50 percent of their available storage capacity. A recent study of SVC customers by Forrester Consulting found that their storage utilisation was as much as 30 percent higher and helped reduce raw disk capacity growth by as much as 20 percent.

IBM's SAN Volume Controller (SVC) runs in a server attached to a SAN and virtualises disk capacity on IBM, EMC and Hitachi Data Systems disk arrays into a single logical pool.

IBM gained record-breaking scores with the SVC product in both SPC1 and SPC2 benchmark runs.

SPC-1 consists of a single workload designed to demonstrate the performance of a storage subsystem while performing typical business application functions, characterised by predominately random I/O operations and requiring both queries and update operations.

SPC-2 has three distinct workloads designed to demonstrate the performance of a storage configuration during the execution of applications needing large-scale, sequential movement of data. Those applications are characterised predominately by large I/O requests, which are organised into one or more concurrent sequential patterns.

The SPC-1 result was 272,505.19 SPC-1 IOPS (I/O operations per second) - more than 75 percent faster than IBM's previous SPC-1 result.

The SPC-2 result of 7,084.44 SPC-2 MBPS (megabytes per second) was 50 percent faster than the previous IBM SPC-2 result.

Based on these two SPC scores, SVC remains the fastest storage system in all categories, in addition to beating any other vendor's available storage virtualisation product.

There are no EMC or Hitachi Data Systems SPC-1 results, preventing a direct SPC-1-based comparison of performance between IBM and these two vendors' products.

To underline the green credentials of a high-performing storage virtualiser, IBM has put the SVC in Project Big Green, an energy efficiency demonstrator announced in May.

Barry Rudolph, IBM's system storage VP, said: "As businesses focus more and more on reducing power consumption in the data centre, we expect to see customers deploying SVC even more extensively to help increase energy efficiency in their data centres."

Chris Walls, IT services president for PHNS, a US hospital services provider and SVC customer, said: "With IBM and SVC, we feel confident in being able to supply our customers with ... consistent uptime and availability, while also being able to run our data centers efficiently and consolidate our storage capacity and reduce energy usage."