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FlashCopy is an IBM feature supported on various IBM storage devices that made it possible to create, nearly instantaneously, point-in-time snapshot copies of entire logical volumes or data sets.[1] The Hitachi Data Systems implementation providing similar function was branded as ShadowImage. Using either implementation, the copies are immediately available for both read and write access.


Version 1[edit]

The first implementation of FlashCopy, Version 1 allowed entire volumes to be instantaneously “copied” to another volume by using the facilities of the newer Enterprise Storage Subsystems (ESS).[2]

Version 1 of FlashCopy had limitations however. Although the copy or “flash” of a volume occurred instantaneously, the FlashCopy commands were issued sequentially and the ESS required a brief moment to establish the new pointers. Because of this minute processing delay, the data residing on two volumes that were FlashCopied are not exactly time consistent.[2]

Version 2[edit]

FlashCopy Version 2 introduced the ability to flash individual data sets and then added support for “consistency groups”. FlashCopy consistency groups can be used to help create a consistent point-in-time copy across multiple volumes, and even across multiple ESSs, thus managing the consistency of dependent writes.[2]

FlashCopy consistency groups are used in a single-site scenario in order to create a time-consistent copy of data that can then be backed-up and sent off site, or in a multi-site Global Mirror for ESS implementation to force time consistency at the remote site.[2]

The implementation of consistency groups is not limited to FlashCopy. Global Mirror for IBM System z series (formerly known as XRC or eXtended Remote Copy) also creates consistency groups to asynchronously mirror disk data from one site to another over any distance .[2]


  1. ^ Connor, Denni (December 18, 2000), "IBM adds teeth to shark enterprise storage system", Network World, p. 16, retrieved September 15, 2010 
  2. ^ a b c d e "FlashCopy". Web page. Recovery Specialties, LLC. 2007. Retrieved July 18, 2013.