Sophisticated and comprehensive data and storage management

By | 5 minute read | October 22, 2018

Mainframe Shops

The cost of managing storage infrastructure can be a major component of the total lifetime cost of storage.[1] This is one of the primary reasons companies often have only 50 percent storage utilization rates[2], since it can be easier to throw more capacity at a storage problem than it is to troubleshoot and fix issues around poor storage utilization. But IBM is changing that with the announcement of sophisticated and comprehensive new data management enhancements and solutions that use artificial intelligence (AI) to help understand and optimize storage. This will help data-driven enterprises to gain greater value from their vast data assets.

With the addition of IBM Spectrum Discover to the market-leading IBM Spectrum Storage family, IBM can address the unique challenges of the rapid growth in unstructured data for both file and object deployments.

System metadata alone—the information provided by filesystems about unstructured file and object data—doesn’t necessarily provide storage administrators with the view of storage consumption and data quality needed for effective storage optimization. Such basic system-level metadata can also be inadequate for data scientists, business analysts, and knowledge workers who spend much of their time searching for the right data or struggling to identify files and objects that contain confidential or sensitive data.

To overcome these challenges, enterprises are turning to metadata management solutions that offer exceptional data visibility by enhancing system metadata with custom metadata that brings semantic context to massive unstructured data stores.[3] Once organizations have a clearer understanding of their unstructured data aligned to their business taxonomies and operational goals, they can optimize storage systems, working to ensure that data meets governance and compliance policies, and more efficiently harnessing the value of their oceans of data for competitive advantage and critical data insights.

IBM Spectrum Discover is a sophisticated metadata management solution that provides data insight for exabyte-scale unstructured storage, file and object. It connects to IBM Cloud Object Storage and IBM Spectrum Scale (with plans to add Dell-EMC Isilon in 2019[4]) to rapidly ingest, consolidate and index metadata for billions of files and objects, providing a rich metadata layer that enables storage administrators, data stewards and data scientists to efficiently manage, classify and gain insights from massive amounts of unstructured data. The insights gained accelerate large-scale analytics, improve storage economics and help with risk mitigation to create competitive advantage and accelerate critical research.

IBM Business Partners understand the advantages that deeper insight into their unstructured data can provide to clients:

“The simultaneous explosion of unstructured data and rapid rise of open AI and analytics frameworks have presented an unprecedented opportunity for enterprises and institutions looking to harness the power of data to discover new insights and enable amazing user experiences in the era of data-driven digital transformation,” notes Stan Wysocki, Vice President of IBM Platinum Business Partner Mark III Systems.  “As an enterprise full stack partner, we’re excited to have IBM Spectrum Discover, with its ability to provide useful and actionable insights into unstructured data at exabyte scale, in the hands of our data scientists, developers, and engineers to work with our clients to solve difficult challenges, open up new operating models, and innovate their organizations like never before.”

IBM Spectrum Discover can be easily deployed and is extensible using an SDK for integration with many IBM and non-IBM tools to orchestrate big data, analytics, AI, machine learning (ML) and other data management workflows.

“The digital transformation underway in most enterprises today is shifting them towards data-centric IT strategies that are presenting many new challenges, and in particular is significantly increasing the amount of unstructured data they must handle,” said Eric Burgener, Research Vice President, Server and Storage Infrastructure Group, IDC. “To effectively analyze all this data to turn it into insights that can help drive better, more efficient business operations while meeting IT governance guidelines, metadata fueled file- and object-based data management platforms like that provided by IBM’s Spectrum Discover support the large-scale analytics, risk mitigation, and data optimization use cases IT organizations need to achieve these goals.”

IBM Storage Insights is a powerful storage management tool available to IBM customers that uses a range of AI technologies and management techniques, to assess storage environments, help maximize performance and availability, optimize storage costs and streamline support. As a cloud-based service, it deploys in only a few minutes. Storage Insights monitors on a single pane of glass: health, capacity and performance for all IBM block storage and external storage under management, helping IBM customers understand and plan storage capacity and performance. It provides proactive best practices and helps identify potential issues before they become problems, then speeds resolution when support is needed.

Thanks to its AI roots and ongoing innovation by IBM, Storage Insights is constantly expanding its repertoire of insights and capabilities. IBM Storage Insights offers new AI technology to help diagnose and address the issues around SAN “gridlock”. In some cases, applications request data from storage systems, which send it faster than the server can accept it. Data backs up in the storage network fabric, consuming switch buffer credits, which blocks inter-switch links. Eventually, SAN performance is significantly affected by a problem that appears to be storage related when, in fact, it is caused by servers. The new release of Storage Insights uses its cloud-based AI technology to detect these situations. It then alerts IBM storage technicians who review the SAN status and contact storage administrators to help address the issue.

Additionally, Storage Insights now supports enhanced, customized reporting options that help enable administrators to create individualized reports, schedule automated report generation, and delivery. These new capabilities are also available on-premises with IBM Spectrum Control.

Sophisticated and comprehensive data management tools and solutions such as new IBM Spectrum Discover and Storage Insights help data-driven enterprises more effectively and efficiently monitor, analyze, manage and optimize data and storage infrastructure to derive even more value from data assets. Discover how these new solutions and enhancements recently introduced by IBM can help your enterprise thrive in the 21st century.

For more complete information about IBM’s latest storage enhancements, read our blog post or view our webcast.

[1] Three estimates of in-house storage costs,

[2] Average of individual customer Analysis Engine Reports produced by IBM Butterfly Software

[3] Gartner, Market Guide for File Analysis Software,

[4] Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice and represent goals and objectives only.