IBM will ship a new version of its storage virtualisation software with better long-range data replication, next month.

The software, which together with a hardware component makes up IBM's SAN Volume Controller (SVC), is designed to help storage administrators pool and centrally manage disparate disk arrays within a SAN to improve application storage use.

With version 4.1 of its SAN Volume Controller software, IBM has added its Global Mirror technology, which replicates data asynchronously over extended distances for business continuity and disaster recovery purposes. The new technology builds on top of IBM's Metro Mirror replication technology for synchronous data replication at shorter distances.

IBM rival EMC, which earlier this month acquired data replication software maker Kashya, is planning to add Kashya's data replication technologies into its Invista network-based block storage virtualisation technology. Invista, an out-of-band appliance built on a dual-node server cluster that connects to a Fibre Channel switch within a SAN, competes with IBM's SVC.

The forthcoming version of SVC also adds support for 4 Gbit/s SAN fabrics and extends support for additional disk and server systems. IBM says it can now virtualise data on 80 different disk systems.

SVC version 4.1 will be available on 23 June, and cost from US$42,500.