Archive for the ‘General’ Category

IBM Bundles Spectrum SDS Licenses

January 27, 2016 Leave a comment

IBM changed the way they are going to market with the Spectrum Storage family of software defined storage platform. Since the initial re-branding of their software formerly known as Tivioli, XIV, GPFS, SVC, TPC and LTFS, the plan was to create a portfolio of packages that would aid in protecting and storing data on existing hardware or in the cloud. This lines up with how Big Blue is looking for better margins and cloud ready everything.

These platforms, based on a heritage of IBM products, now are available as a suite where a customer can order the license (per TB) with unlimited usage for all six offerings. The now allows customers to move more rapidly into the SDS environment not have a complex license agreement to manage. All of the Spectrum family is based on a similar look and feel and support is all done through IBM.

Clients will have to license the software only for production capacity. Since all of the software is part of the suite, clients can also test and deploy different items and mix and match as they see fit. If you need 100TB of data protection, this allows you to have 50TB or Spectrum Protect and maybe 50 TB of Spectrum Archive. If you then need to add storage monitoring IE Spectrum Control, then your license count doesn’t start from 0 but at 100TB. If anything has taught me working with IBM, the more you buy of the same thing the cheaper per unit it will be in the end.

For more information on the Spectrum Storage Suite go to the IBM home here:


Big news coming from IBM Storage: New StorwizeV5000, XIV Encryption, Nseries Cluster mode.

October 9, 2013 Leave a comment

IBM made a TON of announcements yesterday. Here is a link and list of all of them.

* IBM Storwize V3700 delivers replication over IP networks and 800 GB SSD option
* New SSD and indicator features for IBM Flex System V7000 deliver increased capacity and manageability
* New IBM Flex System V7000 features deliver high performance and scalable storage
* New 800 GB SSD for IBM Storwize V7000 and IBM SAN Volume Controller offers a higher capacity option for high-performance environments
* New hardware features for IBM System Storage 7226 and 3580 increase configuration flexibility – HVEC/XCC
* IBM Virtualization Engine TS7700 Release 3.1 delivers 8 Gb FICON adapter support, increased capacity, and other system enhancements
* IBM 7226 Model 1U3 Multimedia Enclosure delivers new features and capabilities
* IBM System Storage N series clustered Data ONTAP software for implementing a cDOT configuration
* IBM System Storage N series clustered Data ONTAP hardware enables flexible scaling
* IBM Storwize V5000 delivers simplicity, efficiency, and flexibility for midsize organizations
* IBM Scale Out Network Attached Storage offers new disk capacities for models DR2 and DE2 for machine type 2851
* New IBM System Storage N series drive, adapter, and cable features deliver capacity and attachment options
* IBM XIV Storage System Gen3, Model 214 with software version 11.4 delivers data-at-rest encryption and software-based, encryption-ready flash drives
* IBM ILOG Supply Chain Application offerings add new and replacement part numbers
* IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center V5.2 offers cross-platform, automated storage, tier optimization, and improved data protection over IP networks
* IBM Product Recommendations Analytics Independent makes it easier for digital marketers and e-commerce professionals to add automated recommendations
* IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center for Replication for System z, V5.2 now enables control for multiple sysplexes from a single server
* IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center V5.2 helps improve the ability to visualize and control storage environments from end to end
* IBM SmartCloud Storage Access R1.2 transforms efficient SAN and NAS storage into cloud storage
* IBM Storwize Family Software for Flex System V7000 V7.2 delivers performance improvements and simplified storage management
* IBM Storwize V5000 Software version 7 delivers a rich set of functional capabilities and optional features for Storwize V5000 hardware
* IBM Security Access Manager for Mobile V8.0 helps protect mobile users and applications against fraudulent and unauthorized access
* IBM Security AppScan V8.8 portfolio supports collaborative and analytical security testing throughout the software development lifecycle
* IBM Storwize Family Software V7.2.0 delivers replication over IP networks and improved performance for Real-time Compression
* IBM XIV Storage System software version 11.4.0 for models 214 and 114 delivers encryption, scaling, and cloud management
* Software withdrawal: IBM ILOG Supply Chain Application offerings selected part numbers
* Hardware withdrawal: IBM System Storage 7226 select features (AAS) – Replacements available
* Hardware withdrawal: Select features for IBM System Storage 7226 (HVEC/Xcc) – Replacements available
* Software withdrawal: IBM FileNet Content Manager, IBM Content Foundation, and IBM Case Foundation XUVU select part numbers – Replacements available

IBM Storage Announcement Summary – April 16, 2013

April 18, 2013 Leave a comment

As usual, IBM has pushed out a bunch of things all at once. Other than the FlashSystem, the DCS 3700 has the T10 Protection Information (PI), and the DS series got some new disks.  For more information on T10 go to one of my favorite blogs “Storage CH Blog”

Content of this summary is subject to change after the date of publication

Announcements by Letter Number

113-046 New IBM FlashSystem portfolio of high-performance flash storage systems

113-047 New IBM FlashSystem portfolio of high-performance flash storage systems

113-056 Enhancements to IBM DCS3700 systems include new hard disk drive features and host connection capabilities

113-057 IBM System Storage DS5000 hard drive refreshes

113-058 IBM System Storage hard drive refresh for DS3500 and DS3950 systems

113-059 New hard drive refreshes for DS5020 Systems

213-105 New VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite editions and VMware vSphere with Operations Management offerings improve virtual and cloud environment administration

213-146 IBM AIX adds support for new IBM Power Systems hardware

213-152 IBM System Networking Switch Center v7.1

213-153 IBM System Networking Switch Center v7.1

613-002 IBM SmartCloud Unified Communications Dedicated

913-060 Hardware withdrawal: Select IBM System Storage DCS3700, DS5000, and DS5020 features – Some replacements available

913-061 Hardware withdrawal: Select IBM System Storage DS3950 and DS3500 features – Replacements available

913-094 Software withdrawal: IBM System Networking Element Manager v6.1

IBM releases Smarter Storage

February 5, 2013 Leave a comment

smarterstorageThe Super Bowl is over, March Madness is only a few weeks away and IBM is releasing more storage goodies. This latest round of software and hardware is the accumulation of hard work from our men and women that work in IBM research from around the world. But more than just shiny new objects, IBM is changing the story and becoming smarter with their solutions.
Our clients continue to grow and change the way they do business. We know the forces of cloud, analytics, social business and mobile computing are redefining business and creating IT challenges. Continuing with the promise to make the planet ‘smarter’ IBM is constantly listening to their clients and trying to solve their problems with real solutions. These solutions are based on 100 years of innovation and belief that IBM can really make a difference in your business.
Today, IBM is announcing Smarter Computing as the infrastructure that enables a smarter planet. This infrastructure is based on IBM products that are designed to help you transform your IT and meet the needs of what is coming next. There are products from each of our platforms including Power Systems, Pure Systems and of course Storage Systems. These platforms are designed to emphasize what matters most to our clients: Cloud, Data and Security.

Cloud is a term that is thrown around and can be defined by a variety of latest trends and jargon. Two of those that I think are important have to be efficiency and scalability. Data growth along with the demand to lower CAPEX/OPEX is fueling the cloud acceptance. For businesses, a smarter storage solution would demand a better efficiency that is virtualized and automated.
Two of the announcements today fit this profile. One is the IBM SmartCloud Storage Access. The self-service portal enables end-users to dynamically provision storage for use within minutes rather than requiring administer intervention which could take days. With a few clicks users can request and receive storage capacity, share files with other users and your storage administrators can easily monitor and report usage. The end user is guided through a catalog of services based on actual needs and is matched with a storage class that meets their needs.
The other cloud offering is based on a new model of the XIV family of storage. Last year IBM released its third generation of the XIV platform and today it makes that platform more efficient with 15% better energy efficiency. Also included is support for Windows 2012 server environments which includes space reclamation. Finally, this new model now offers 10GbE host ports that will offer up to a 5x sequential increase in iSCSI throughput compared to the previous generation 1GbE ports.
Data is the second design part of a smarter storage platform. As your data grows it is important to begin an automation and self-optimizing plan to accommodate data growth. One of the toughest concepts for businesses to achieve is increasing the speed of which data is gathered, processed and delivered while reducing costs.
Today IBM announces three pieces of IT infrastructure that will move customers closer to that goal. The first comes from our Real Time Compression Appliance. IBM announced a new model, STN7800, that doubles the performance from the previous model. This solution has beat all of the other compression models on the market and IBM is now adding even more performance on top. With RTCA customers can now save by storing more without having to purchase the storage up front and post process the compression. It also can update the data without having to uncompress the data which is unique to only IBM RTC.
Next is the addition of NFS connectivity to the ProtecTIER platform. This new interface enables users with NAS to backup data and dedupes it for better utilization. There was also improvement of the GUI and change in the upgrade to save time and unnecessary effort.
Last of the data design is the new XIV platform and some improved caching algorithms that our 300 mathematicians came up with. Yes IBM has the largest (and smartest) math department in the world. This improvement has been clocked to give a 4.5X performance bump for random workloads compared to previous versions.
Outside of the Smarter Storage announcements, IBM is releasing products in both the Power Systems and Pure Systems lines. Improving on the Power7 line, a Power 750 and 760 Enterprise server were announced along with Power Entry Servers and PowerLinux servers with Power 7+ processors and architecture.
Over on the Pure Systems side, a huge focus on MSP, VDI and interoperability are major topics of an all-day webcast. Other aspects around the Pure Systems platform include new models for entry x6 and Power based system.
IBM is very focused on meeting the needs of the customers with the infrastructure of a Smarter Planet. As customers look for ways to cut costs while dealing with the data growth, IBM is poised to take market share from those who still base their product on a 1992 technology.
To find more information about IBM Smarter Storage go here.

How do you buy storage?

October 9, 2012 2 comments

Just a quick post for today but something I have been thinking about for a few days. How does customers buy storage? Do they like vendors who offer lots of options or do they like those who are laser focused on a single solution? As I have pondered this I have broken storage vendors down into three categories: boutique, focused and too big to fail.

1. Boutique is the vendors out there who are selling point solutions. They seem to solve a certain problem but are also wanting to do more. These companies are usually the small start ups that are acquired when the larger vendors see some potential bubble up. It usually is when they loose a couple deals to some no name company is when they sit up and take notice. A couple alums in this group would Data Domain, XiV, 3par and Fusion IO.

2. The focused group is those small companies who have a good product and have decided to dedicate themselves to making it to the next level. They are agile and can develop new features to meet demand very rapidly. Sometimes they struggle with quality due to the nature of always trying to meet demands. The other mark of a focused company is how they are seen by their peers. If they are known as the “cloud provider” or “nas solution” , that outs them into this company. When I think of these companies, I envision Panass, Qlogic, Teremark, Amazon, and maybe Oracle, Redhat and somewhat Netapp.

3. Then the companies too big to fail. These are the big names that everyone will recognize even if the aren’t storage geeks. They have large product portfolios and span hardware, software and services. The larger ones can wait to put out technology as they have a loyal base of customers who trust them to put solid products in the market. They are also the ones who typically have the lion share of they market. A few examples are EMC, IBM, Dell and HP.

I might be completely off base here but that’s how I see it. Depending on your company, you may purchase your storage from one or all three. It really comes down to the product solving issues and the relationship you have with those who are selling it.

DRAM vs Flash who wins?

October 6, 2012 Leave a comment

I have spent most of the day looking over the products from TMS (Texas Memory Systems) that IBM just acquired. One of the questions I have always wondered is how to map performance back to a certain technology.  When dealing with DRAM and Flash devices there seems to trade offs on each. The first that comes to mind is DRAM requires some sort of battery backup as it will loose the data contents when power is lost. Most DRAM cards and appliances have this under control with some sort of destaging to SSD or they have some sort of battery attached to the IO card that allows the DRAM time to hold information until power is restored.
DRAM is typically faster than its flash cousin as well as reliable and more durable. Typically there is less controller latency due to the lack of complexity of wear leveling and garbage collection. DRAM is still more expensive that Flash and has the problem of needing power all the time.
When looking at systems to find out how to decide which solution fits your environment it comes down to price and IO. The DRAM solutions are usually smaller in size but can push more IO. For Example the TMS 420 is 256GB of storage in a 4U frame that can push 600,000 IOPs. Not bad if you need 256GB of really fast space. This could be used for very high transaction volumes.  This can be deployed with traditional storage and used for the frequently used database tables and indexes while lower IO tables can be thrown over to the spinning hard disk side.
In comparison the TMS 820 Flash array delivers a whopping 24TB in a 1U space and can push a meek 450,000 IOPS. This is somewhat incredible as the footprint is small and dense but still gives you the punch needed to beef up parts of your infrastructure. I stared running the numbers to compare this with say a V7000 with all SSD drives and we can’t come close.  You could virtualize  the system under the SVC code (included in the V7000) and use the Easy Tier function to move hot data to and from the TMS array which gives you the performance needed. I see why IBM decided to acquire TMS now.
So who wins in a DRAM and Flash discussion? The vendors of course, they are the ones who are going after this market aggressively. I think most consumers are trying to figure out if its needed to spend money on moving a database from 1500 disks at sub 20 ms response to using 200 larger disk and adding the DRAM or Flash device to keep the same latency. As an architect I want to keep in mind how much space and environmentals all of those disk eat up and having an alternative even if it costs more up front, is appealing.

IBM Releases Slew of Storeage Related Systems and Software Features

October 3, 2012 Leave a comment

So many things to talk about but a couple of notes of interest from today:

  1. DS8870 is a new system not just an upgrade. IBM went from the P6 server to the P7 which should give them a huge performance bump. I heard there are some impressive SPC numbers coming soon.
  2. XIV gets a GUI improvement with Multi-system manager. This will help drive some efficiency in management of those environments with larger deployments.
  3. V7000 Unified gets compression for file. Same story as on block but now for file objects.

Here are links to the hardware and software announcements from today.



IBM System Storage DS8870 (Machine type 2423) Models 961 and 96E with three-year warranty


IBM System Storage TS1060 Tape Drive offers an Ultrium 6 Tape Drive for the TS3500 Tape Library


IBM Virtualization Engine TS7700 supports disk-based encryption


IBM System Storage DS8870 (Machine type 2421) Models 961 and 96E with one-year warranty


IBM System Storage DS8870 (Machine type 2424) Models 961 and 96E with four-year warranty


IBM System Storage DS8000 series high-performance flagship – Function Authorizations for machine type 239x


IBM System Storage DS8870 (Machine type 2422) Models 961 and 96E with two-year warranty




IBM Systems Director Standard Edition for Linux on System z, V6.3 now manages zBX blades


IBM Systems Director product enhancements provide tools to better manage virtual and physical networks


XIV management is designed to enable more effective XIV deployments into private cloud computing environments and improve multi-system management


IBM Storwize V7000 Unified V1.4 includes real-time compression, local authentication server support, four-way clustering, and FCOE support


IBM Programmable Network Controller V3.0, when used with OpenFlow-enabled switches, provides architecture for centralized and simplified networking


IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center V5.1 offers efficient virtualization and infrastructure management to enable smarter storage


IBM Tivoli Storage Manager V6.4 products deliver significant enhancements to manage data protection in virtual environments


IBM Infoprint XT for z/OS, V3.1 provides support to transform Xerox data streams and highlight color resources for printing on AFP printers and enhances DBCS support


IBM Security zSecure V1.13.1 products and solutions enhance mainframe security intelligence, compliance, administration and integration


IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager V3.2 extends application-aware snapshot management to IBM N series and NetApp devices and enables seamless disaster recovery