The basic idea behind the VSM family is to decouple storage from mainframes and servers in a way that allows administrators to set up multiple storage classes while masking applications from the actual storage technology.
VSM was originally a two-tier system: disk and tape. This approach had several advantages. For example, writing data initially to disk before transferring to tape reduced the number of tape drives required to cope with a given workload, and the ability to automatically relegate 'cold' data to tape reduced the amount of disk storage required.
"Mainframe disk is really expensive," Oracle senior director of tape systems product management Tom Wultich told iTWire, so this type of tiering makes a lot of sense.
Wultich said this is especially useful as a disaster recovery mechanism. An organisation might operate from two sites (whether that's primary and backup or an active-active arrangement with spare capacity in both locations), but if one is affected by a catastrophe that means there is only one copy remaining. Oracle's archive storage is a relatively cheap way - one thirteenth the cost of Amazon's Glacier service, according to Oracle storage business group vice president Steve Zivanic - to keep a third copy without the need for an additional mainframe.
All other products in this category are "still limited within the four walls" in that they do not support cloud storage, Zivanic told iTWire. VSM 7 provides new options and flexibility for CIOs, he added. "It's an option you just haven't had before," one that is "bringing mainframe storage into the 21st century."
Target markets include financial services, government, telcos, insurance and healthcare - "wherever there's a mainframe," said Wultich.
But it's not only about mainframes: the new model broadens VSM's scope to the open systems market, which he described as "underserved."
Other VSM 7 features include the use of Oracle's latest M7 processor (which includes hardware support for encryption and memory protection), support for up to 211PB of on-premises storage, and the ability to scale out to 256 systems.
VSM 7 is expected to ship by the end of the month.