Integration by design: DS8880 and IBM Z

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Through close coordination between engineering and product development teams, IBM DS8880 storage systems and their precursors have maintained a close relationship with IBM mainframe processors. The recent launch of IBM z14 — the latest in a long line of IBM Z mainframe solutions — provides an excellent opportunity to highlight how this close relationship offers many benefits to IBM clients.

The current DS8880 enterprise data systems are the result of years of research and collaboration between the IBM storage and mainframe teams, who have been working together to provide innovative solutions that deliver the greatest business value possible. The recent announcement of DS8880 Release 8.3 introduces even more capabilities specially designed, developed and tested in conjunction with the IBM Z team to maximize the potential of mainframe environments.

IBM DS8880 is the leader in the external storage market for mainframe environments. This is a very significant achievement because mainframes process roughly 30 billion business transactions per day, including most major credit card transactions and stock trades, money transfers, manufacturing processes and ERP systems.

New DS8880 features are planned and developed in conjunction with the IBM Z team and released in a coordinated manner. Because they are not IBM, storage systems from other vendors can’t access the same IBM internal integration capabilities, cross teaming, testing or design resources. This is why the new IBM DS8880 family features for IBM Z tend to be delivered before similar capabilities for IBM Z are offered by competitors.

The newest DS8880 family features complement the z14 main areas of innovation. For example, to most efficiently support leading-edge cognitive applications that leverage intelligent capabilities such as machine learning to increase the resolution of data analytics tools and provide greater business insight, much higher system performance and lower storage latency tends to be needed. DS8884F, DS8886F, and DS8888F all-flash models are designed to address these types of requirements. Now, Release 8.3, introduces IBM zHyperLink technology, the result of an IBM research project created to provide ultra-low latency links between IBM mainframes and their storage by interconnecting IBM Z Central Electronics Complexes directly to the I/O bay of DS8880 arrays. Lower latency helps organizations more effectively implement the latest cognitive applications to achieve deeper business insights.

Complementing the IBM Z focus on hybrid cloud, DS8880 systems provide transparent cloud tiering (TCT) functionality. TCT is designed to help automate the movement of data to and from the cloud. Larger volumes of more complex data have put an emphasis on archiving tasks in IBM Z environments, which in turn consumes more mainframe resources. TCT technology is designed to offload much of the management workload for moving data to and from the cloud to the DS8880 array itself, which can have the effect of reducing mainframe CPU utilization for these tasks. And of course, moving data to the most efficient storage media based on its rate of access or value can lower data costs even further. By making the cloud more easily available as another mainframe storage tier, the new DS8880 TCT feature provides multiple options designed to reduce archiving costs and complexity.

IBM Z has added innovations that are designed to help enterprises implement new blockchain-based solutions. Blockchain may revolutionize the way organizations conduct business transactions. However, the infrastructure supporting blockchain solutions must provide higher performance, cryptography, security and high availability. DS8880F all-flash arrays supply flash performance, deep integration with IBM Z encryption at-rest and on-the-fly technologies and “six-nines” availability, plus pervasive encryption with no changes or impacts to current applications. Not only has IBM been a founding member of the blockchain Hyperledger Project and provided thousands of lines of code, IBM is also building infrastructure solutions such as IBM Z and DS8880 family storage that help bring the capabilities needed to build successful blockchain implementations.

TCT, zHyperLink and blockchain support are only a few examples of the many ways DS8880 innovation moves hand-in-hand with IBM Z to help deliver greater business value. I believe the close collaboration between the DS8880 and IBM Z teams results in a true synergy where innovation enhances innovation. It isn’t by accident or delayed reaction, this is synergy by design. And that’s a very important business advantage.

Learn more today about IBM DS8880F all-flash solutions.

VP, HE Storage BLE (DS8, DP&R And SAN)

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