The 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.
So many things to talk about but a couple of notes of interest from today:
- 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.
- XIV gets a GUI improvement with Multi-system manager. This will help drive some efficiency in management of those environments with larger deployments.
- 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|
Every year DCIG scores and ranks over 50 midrange arrays to help storage buyers make an educated decision on future purchases. Like most of these reports, it takes months to put together and by the time the report is released, the information is stale and out of date. I noticed in this year’s report they XiV gen3 system was listed as the number 6 system behind some of the other vendors that were ranked with a higher score. I decided to dig in and see what was the difference between the number 6 and the number 1 array.
The fist thing I noticed is the ranking on the XiV was based on some old/incorrect data. Here is a snapshot of the report with red circles on things that are not correct:
A couple of things we should point is the support for SSD drives. IBM XiV started support for the multi-level cell drives to enhance its read cache up to 6TB on a full populated system. This increases performance by 3X in most cases. Other options listed like mirroring and snapshot licenses included have been part of the system since the Gen2 days.
The XiV system also supports VASA, that crazy acronym inside of another acronym. The VMWare API for Storage Awareness allows for automation of storage operations and monitor storage alerts. Most storage vendors have come to the same conclusion that IBM has that you have support VASA if you are going to be part of the future.
As you prepare to sit down and start to decide which here are a few things to consider when looking at the XiV system:
1. Management is close to zero. This system is not only easy to deploy but it self tunes itself. The problems with other traditional systems like hot spots or provisioning is made easier with XiV technology.
2. All features are included. No need to worry if you bought the right licenses as all of them are included in the price.
3. XiV is true grid based storage. You really have to compare apples to apples and look under the covers at other storage systems. They may claim some type of grid architecture but in reality they are still using active / active pairs instead of 15 modules all working together on a infiband backbone.
While this is no dig on the DCIG team, it is a little misleading potential customers. I spoke with the analyst that puts these together and he admitted that it was done back in the September time frame and may not represent the true feature and functionality that IBM offers today. I also learned they are working on a more interactive report that can be updated more regularly.
The differences in what they published and what is offered today would more than surpass some of the other storage arrays listed ahead of the XiV. I also would like to see them consider the XiV more of a enterprise array and not so much of the midrange but that’s another blog article entirely.
From Jon Toigo’s blog today:
I have to admit that I have had some mixed feelings about storage platforms with lots of value-add software joined at the hip to proprietary controllers, but I was intrigued by XIV when it was software only and have watched quietly as IBM built it into a hardware/software solution. I will be moderating a webcast […]
Post from Roger Luethy:
This paper highlights the importance of mirroring as a data protection strategy to minimize risk of data and system unavailability and the advantages of IBM® XIV® Storage System asynchronous mirroring. It covers the system’s essential mirroring solution characteristics and organizational mirroring requirements that ensure business continuity. While this paper touches on the value of synchronous mirroring in certain situations, its primary focus is asynchronous mirroring.
Reading this paper will give you a clear understanding of effective enterprise mirroring implementations and the IBM XIV Storage System series solution, which offers a comprehensive, successful mirroring strategy for today and the future.
Great article comparing EMC VFCache and the XIV G3 with ssd. Tony does a great job with a side by side comparioson.