IBM Storage innovation from data creation to archive
By Eric Herzog | 7 minute read | October 22, 2018
“Today, enterprises must innovate quickly and constantly–or risk losing competitive advantage,” states Senior Analyst Mark Peters of Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). IBM lives this observation, constantly innovating at breakneck speed to deliver the best possible solutions to the market. To further our commitment to our customers, today IBM is announcing several new solutions in the hottest spaces of the storage market, as well as significant enhancements and upgrades across our industry-acclaimed storage and storage software portfolios, driving solutions that span the lifecycle of data from creation to archive.
This stream of innovation is moving along multiple pathways–a new NVMe enabled all-flash storage system, flash storage and NVMe networking enhancements, modern data protection and security improvements, new storage solutions and certifications, and an entirely new offering that is designed to enable data-driven enterprises to derive even more value from their oceans of data.
We’re introducing enhancements that provide end-to-end NVMe technology, faster performance, and increased capacity across nearly our entire flash portfolio:
- A new Storwize V7000 system that delivers 2.7x maximum throughput for data-driven workloads when using compression and extends end-to-end NVMe capability into the IBM Storwize family. The new Storwize V7000 system starts as all-flash and offers significant expansion capabilities. Easy tier AI-based management automatically moves data to the most appropriate media tier based on use patterns.
- Major expansion of lower latency and higher throughput Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) fabric support across our storage portfolio. Updates to IBM Spectrum Virtualize enable NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) support for Fibre Channel through a simple nondisruptive software upgrade for FlashSystem 9100 and many installed FlashSystem V9000, Storwize V7000F/V7000, SAN Volume Controller systems, and VersaStack solutions that use those storage systems. A new 16Gbps adapter adds Fibre Channel NVMe-oF support for FlashSystem 900, which has supported Infiniband NVMe-oF since February 2018. IBM is also outlining plans to add NVMe capability to IBM Cloud Object Storage software in SDS Configurations in 2019.
- Up to double the maximum storage density and effective flash capacity (after compression) for FlashSystem 900, which can help to reduce costs and further simplify storage solutions.
- For DS8880F, the number one family of storage systems supporting mainframe-based IT infrastructure, new custom flash provides up to double maximum flash capacity in the same footprint. An update to our zHyperLink solutions helps speed application performance by significantly reducing both write and read latency.
- A new entry level configuration is now available for IBM FlashSystem A9000R, delivering a 40 percent lower entry list price but no compromise on scalability. IBM has added the ability to use both high-availability HyperSwap and disaster recovery capabilities at the same time to enhance data availability. Finally, IBM plans to enhance FlashSystem A9000/R in 2019 with AI technologies from IBM Research to simplify capacity management with deduplication.2
The new storage system capabilities have caught the eye of IBM customers:
“I believe compression with FlashCore Modules is the most impactful change with the new Storwize V7000,” says Andy Davis, Storage Architect at Drillinginfo. “Storwize V7000 performance has always been great but having FCM compression included in the price–considering how great the ratios are–basically turns a database environment physical footprint from 100TB to 30TB. This makes it even more affordable to put data on flash to meet our demanding application requirements.”
Data-driven business leaders need to be able to identify the right data to drive their analytics and when working with data, they need to keep that data moving. Our flash and NVMe enhancements help but new software solutions complement them:
- IBM Spectrum Discover can help you to better understand your oceans of data, which, in turn can improve and accelerate large-scale analytics, ease data governance, and improve storage economics. By characterizing data for analytics, IBM Spectrum Discover can help improve competitive advantage and speed critical research. Based on technology from IBM Research designed to provide data insight of unstructured data for analytics, governance and optimization, IBM Spectrum Discover automatically enhances and then leverages metadata—data about your data—to provide these capabilities. At a time when data is growing at 30 percent per year, finding the right data for analytics and AI can be harder than finding a needle in a haystack. IBM Spectrum Discover rapidly ingests, consolidates, and indexes metadata for billions of files and objects from your data ocean, enabling you to more easily gain insights from massive amounts of unstructured data. IBM Spectrum Discover supports unstructured data in IBM Cloud Object Storage and IBM Spectrum Scale with plans to also support Dell-EMC Isilon in 2019.2
- IBM Storage Insights, cloud-based management for IBM block storage, leverages new AI technology to identify storage network “gridlock” which can slow applications to a crawl across your SAN. While very difficult to diagnose, Storage Insights embedded AI technology provides an ideal solution to solve this perplexing problem. When Storage Insights detects gridlock, it alerts IBM support staff who proactively call clients.
IBM’s Business Partners are extremely enthusiastic about the wide spectrum of storage innovation announced today:
“NVMe is one of the hottest technologies in the marketplace,” states Hugh Hayes EVP of IBM Business Partner Alliance Technology Group. “Last year, IBM announced their commitment to implementing NVMe portfolio-wide. Since then, we’ve seen a constant stream of NVMe announcements coming from IBM Storage. One of the most important is the recent release of the new Storwize V7000, which brings NVMe and support for NVMe over Fabrics to the Storwize lineup. Now we have a powerful new solution to offer our many customers where cost-efficiency is a crucial purchasing factor. This is the NVMe solution the market has been waiting for.”
Requirements for data protection and security never stand still. IBM is also announcing new capabilities to help protect data and enhance data security:
- Regulatory requirements are critical for many businesses; IBM Cloud Object Storage small CD mode configurations support policy-based WORM and lockable vaults that can help meet these requirements even for smaller companies. IBM Cloud Object Storage also supports more distinct use cases with substantial increase in the number of vaults to support 1,500 unique environments.
- In today’s world of cybercrime and ransomware, tape media plays a vital role in creating an “air gap” between servers and backup data copies. New TS1160 enterprise tape drives support-doubled native capacity (20TB) and improved performance. These new drives are supported in IBM TS3500 and TS4500 libraries, enhancing those existing investments with greater capacity.
- Cost concerns are never far from mind, even when considering high availability. IBM Storage Utility Offering provides cloud-like storage pricing for on-premises storage based on actual monthly usage, turning your storage budget from CAPEX into OPEX. Now, IBM Storage Utility Offering enables the acquisition of HA configurations (two systems) for a starting monthly rate from only 20 percent more than leasing a single system. IBM Storage Utility Offering has also been extended to include IBM TS7760 virtual tape libraries.
IBM customers recognize the advantages of relentless innovation:
“ESG’s research clearly shows that data security is the number one IT priority for organizations of all types and sizes,” said Mark Peters, Principal Analyst and Practice Director, ESG. “Technology solution providers that want to maintain market leadership positions, or hope to capture market share, must constantly innovate within the data security domain. These latest announcements from IBM confirm that it is continuing to aggressively follow this approach.”
In addition to all of the innovation noted above, IBM is enhancing a number of sophisticated new multicloud storage and data management solutions for next-generation applications:
- IBM Storage Solution for SAP is designed specifically to provide enhanced data protection for SAP Hana environments leveraging the capabilities of IBM storage, IBM Spectrum Protect, and IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management. This solution is enhanced with SAP TDI certification of FlashSystem 9100, the new IBM Storwize V7000 model, and Elastic Storage Server.
- The award-winning IBM FlashSystem 9100 has received electronic healthcare records certification from Epic, with certification from Meditech planned in 2019.2
- Supporting our clients’ adoption of blockchain, IBM plans to extend IBM Storage Solutions to include solutions supporting blockchain in 2019.2
- Finally, as clients embrace more and more multicloud solutions, IBM plans to make IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud available on Amazon AWS in 2019,2 where IBM Spectrum Scale is already available.
This is an impressive list of new solutions and substantial enhancements and updates to announce all at once. But at IBM Storage, the pace of innovation is incredibly brisk. For our customers and Business Partners, this long list means more opportunity, greater advantage and increased benefits.
You can learn more about the innovations described above by watching our webcast or reading these blog posts from other IBM executives:
 Storwize V7000 Gen2+ with 24 flash drives and software compression compared with Storwize V7000 Gen3 with 24 FlashCore Modules using hardware compression
 Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice and represent goals and objectives only.
 New high-capacity 18TB module supports up to 44TB effective capacity after compression, compared with 22TB for previous module.
 Based on IBM analysis of IDC Worldwide Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker data, March 1, 2018, https://www.idc.com/tracker/showproductinfo.jsp?prod_id=5#
 DS8882F: 737.3TB compared to previous 368.6TB; improvement varies by model.
 IDC White Paper: Using Tape to Optimize Data Protection Costs and Mitigate the Risk of Ransomware for Data-Centric Organizations, April 2018 IDC #US43710518
 Compared with IBM TS1150
 Two IBM FlashSystem 9150 with twenty-four 19.2TB FlashCore Modules with 36-month SUO base commitment compared with typical 36-month lease for one similar system.
 IBM IT Infrastructure Blog: Flash Memory Summit Award: Most Innovative Flash Memory Technology — IBM FlashSystem 9100, August 2018 (https://www.ibm.com/blogs/systems/flash-memory-summit-award-innovative-flash-memory-technology/)