IBM has announced a virtual tape product for Unix and Intel servers, plus extended its SAN Volume Controller to support up to four times more servers

Its new virtual tape -backup to disk pretending to be tape - is a development off its mainframe virtual tape VTS system. It's called Virtualisation Engine TS7510 and the benefit is faster backup and restore than from a tape-only system. HP, FalconStor and other suppliers already have virtual tape products. This announcement is IBM validating the technology with its presence.

IBM's SAN Volume Controller (SVC) v3.1 is the eighth release. Unfortunately IBM's SVC web pages are stuck at the sixth release level. That release can support 256 host servers. Read about it here. The new release can support four times as many servers i.e. up to 1,000, and has a host of minor upgrades to operating system and clustering support.

SVC sits between the servers and the SAN and if it's not scalable enough it chokes server access to data. So IBM is making it more scalable. Vendors such as EMC say it's a losing battle as there is always more data and more servers needing to access it. Vendors with so-called out-of-band virtualisation products don't have this claimed disadvantage - read: EMC, Hitachi, and Sun. An IBM spokesperson has said that IBM, with SVC later this year, "will demonstrate unparalleled performance and scalability".

The two storage virtualisation announcements form part of a series of virtualisation announcements. The others covered virtualising servers and with server management. No pricing and availability information was supplied.