IBM is set to announce a number of enhancements to its Shark Enterprise Storage System (ESS) Model 800 arrays designed to increase the performance and ease of management of the storage systems.

The ESS 800's Peer to Peer Remote Copy disaster recovery software will now support the FIbre Channel interconnect standard. That means customers will be able to do remote backup and recovery with fewer switches and networking devices than the ESCON (Enterprise Systems Connection) protocol that the current models of Shark employ.

When the enhancements become available on 21 November, the ESS 800 will also include an optional new 750MHz PowerPC processor, called Turbo II, that will speed up the array's performance by 30 percent, according to IBM.

IBM has also extended its support of SNIA's (Storage Networking Industry Association) SMI (Storage Management Initiative) standard so that more of Shark's capabilities will be available to software written to the SMI standard.

"You can now evoke and manage flash copy, peer-to-peer remote copy and extended remote copy," said Jim Tuckwell, IBM's manager of enterprise storage servers. "Now anybody that writes to the SMI standard will have an easy time exploiting Shark's copy services as well," he said.

The SMI standard, while still in its early stages of adoption, will eventually simplify storage management for both IBM and its Shark users, said Nancy Marrone-Hurley, a senior analyst with the Enterprise Storage Group. "The problem right now is that every array has a different API," she said.

IBM will also offer Shark customers another configuration option called Arrays Across Loops that "allows the data to flow over the disks differently, and faster, particularly for sequential applications," according to Tuckwell.

Pricing for the enhanced ESS 800 will remain unchanged, said Tuckwell.