Open flexibility with infrastructure-independent software

By | 4 minute read | November 11, 2019

There is a rapid industry transition underway to a hybrid multicloud style of computing. It’s happening across all industries and all lines of business and being pushed along by stakeholders from IT managers to the C-suite and shareholders. Although the transition to hybrid multicloud infrastructure is touching every area of IT, its impact on storage decisions can be significant.

IT managers attempting to improve their knowledge base or explore solution alternatives are finding little help in the competitive noise pollution and overly brash vendors who sometimes seem more interested in picking fights with their competitors than in helping their clients. For the reader hoping for more, in this 2-part post I’m going to briefly describe IBM Storage for hybrid multicloud.

IBM Storage for hybrid multicloud is centered on two pieces of software. The first is IBM Storage Insights. This is an absolutely free SaaS service that is designed to simplify your IT operations. The second is IBM Spectrum Virtualize. This is a strategic storage software foundation. Let’s take a quick look.

As I mentioned, Storage Insights is a free cloud service. It comes with all IBM Storage offerings to help simplify operations. The service collects telemetry data from storage systems at a rate of around 23 million data points a day[1] and uses AI to proactively monitor your storage’s performance, capacity, configuration, and health, working to predict and prevent issues before they impact business. It also automates many aspects of the support process giving you faster resolution of issues that do occur.

Because it is software as a service running in the cloud, it is like IBM has become a part of your operations and support team — keeping the service updated and running, watching for issues and helping you resolve them.

At this time, IBM Storage Insights is managing about 1.8 exabytes of storage capacity. [2] Perhaps the best way to get a sense for just how simple your operations can get is to take 10 minutes for a quick tour of Storage Insights.

IBM Spectrum Virtualize is the storage software foundation that can be adopted without having to buy any IBM Storage. It is software independent of your choice in a storage hardware vendor. Clients have been using it for years to improve agility in heterogeneous storage environments, giving them the ability to leverage AI-driven automatic tiering and non-disruptive data migration. They do so both among storage systems (regardless of the hardware vendors you happen to choose), and among tiers that will include storage class memory as you choose to add it to your infrastructure.

Now it can also help you bridge to new technology through container and Kubernetes integration (including Red Hat OpenShift) and to the hybrid multicloud where IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud already runs on both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM Cloud with other clouds planned.

IBM Spectrum Virtualize also enables a consistent approach to data reduction and encryption. It does so regardless of your choice in hardware vendors and whether you are using new storage systems or have some legacy gear that you just want to modernize a bit.

Choosing a strategic software foundation gives you the flexibility to choose and change hardware suppliers over time without impacting the consistency in APIs, automation, operations, procedures, skills and training.

Suppose you have chosen IBM Spectrum Virtualize as your strategic software foundation and you are currently using NetApp hardware. Then, if some new innovation in physical hardware drives you to pure storage, no big deal, just add it in. There’s no change in APIs, automation, operations, or skills.

Or perhaps you learn about IBM FlashCore Modules and their hardware-accelerated compression for performance sensitive applications that can still benefit from data reduction. They also offer FIPS 140-2 certified encryption for highly sensitive data. With IBM Spectrum Virtualize as your strategic storage software foundation, you would have the option of quickly adopting these latest hardware innovations while maintaining consistency in your environment.

To drive this point home, IBM offers an IBM Spectrum Virtualize appliance called SAN Volume Controller. Now in its ninth generation, clients have been deploying IBM Spectrum Virtualize on SAN Volume Controller for over a decade to bring the power of a strategic software foundation to over 450 on-premises storage systems from a wide mix of vendors. If you are interested in modernizing the storage you already have, this is a starting point.

In Part 2 we’ll continue our look at IBM Storage for hybrid multicloud, exploring the all-flash and hybrid storage systems built with IBM Spectrum Virtualize in greater depth.

What do you think? Does the idea of being able to change on-premises hardware suppliers without changing APIs, automation, operations, procedures, or skills appeal to you? Sound like magic? Read part two of this series, and join the conversation using one of the social links below!

[1] Assuming 1,000 volumes per system

[2] Source: Storage Insights Cloud Monitor