Well it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
In my previous post, [How is Software Defined different than what we have now?], I explain how software can enable self-service automation through a "Control Plane" to request IT infrastructure resources, and a "Data Plane" to provision those resources.
IBM has chosen three particular Software Defined Environments. At one end, IBM is a platinum sponsor of OpenStack which supports x86 servers, POWER systems and z System mainframes. A problem with open source projects like this, however, is that they can be a bit like putting together IKEA furniture from pieces in a box: "Some assembly required."
At the other end, highly proprietary environments from VMware and Microsoft bring enterprise-ready out-of-the-box solutions. However, nobody wants to be limited to just x86-based solutions. IBM offers the best of both worlds, basing its IBM Cloud and SmartCloud software on OpenStack standards, but providing enterprise-ready solutions for x86, POWER Systems and z System mainframes. This includes IBM Cloud Manager with OpenStack, IBM Cloud Orchestrator, and IBM SmartCloud Cost Management software products.
(Analogy: If open source solutions were vanilla ice cream, and proprietary solutions were chocolate ice cream, then IBM Cloud and SmartCloud is vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce on top! This is the same approach IBM used for WebSphere Application Server, based on Apache web server, and IBM BigInsights, based on Hadoop analytics.)
For some people, software defined can also refer to how the resources are deployed. Rather than using specialized hardware, solutions based on industry-standard hardware can be delivered either as pre-built appliances, services in the Cloud, or as software-only products.
Back in the 1990s, IBM came up with the [Seascape Storage Enterprise Architecture], deciding to focus the design of its storage systems to be based, where possible and practical, on industry-standard components.
Let's review a few products:
IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) and Storwize V7000: IBM storage hypervisors were originally designed to run on industry-standard x86 servers. The IBM scientists at Almaden Research Center referred to this as the "COMmodity PArts Storage System" (COMPASS) architecture.
That is still mostly true 12 years later, but SVC and Storwize V7000 does have specialized hardware, including host bus adapter cards and the [Intel® QuickAssist] chip for Real-time Compression.
IBM DS8000 disk system: The DS8000 is based on off-the-shelf IBM POWER servers. Originally, you could only purchase POWER-based servers from IBM, but now thanks to the [OpenPOWER Foundation], you now have more options.
The DS8000 does use some specialized hardware for its host and device adapters, taking advantage of ASICs and FPGAs to optimize performance.
IBM XIV storage system: IBM acquired XIV back in 2008, but its design is very similar to Seascape architecture. All of the Intellectual Property was in the software, installed on industry-standard x86 servers, cache memory, host bus adapters and 7200 RPM nearline disk drives. I joked that the entire hardware bill-of-materials could be ordered directly from the CDW catalog!
IBM FlashSystem: IBM is #1 rank in the All-Flash Array market. Rather than using off-the-shelf commodity Solid-State drives (SSD), the IBM FlashSystem employs specialized hardware based on FPGAs to optimize performance.
IBM FlashSystem came from the recent acquisition of Texas Memory Systems, and was not designed under the IBM Seascape architecture.
Combining the method the resources are controlled and managed with the way storage is deployed results in a quadrant. Let's take a look at this from a storage perspective:
- Category I:
Traditional storage products that are based on specialized hardware that do not support Software Defined Environment APIs.
- Category II:
Storage products that are based on specialized hardware, but have been enhanced to support Software Defined Environment APIs. For OpenStack, this refers to Cinder and Swift interfaces. For VMware, this would include VAAI, VASA and VADP interfaces and vCenter Console plug-ins.
- Category III:
Storage products that are basically software, either installed on pre-built hardware appliances, offered as services in the Cloud, or software you deploy on your own industry-standard hardware. Unfortunately, this category does not support software defined environment APIs, and so proprietary interfaces require administrator-intensive involvement instead.
- Category IV:
Storage software for industry-standard hardware. You purchase the appropriate server, cache memory, flash and disk drives as needed. This category could also extend to pre-built appliance versions of this software, or as services in the Cloud. APIs for software defined environments are available to deploy this with self-service automation.
IBM Spectrum Storage is a family of Category IV software offerings. Here are the products announced:
|Product||SDE Plane||Function provided||Based on technology from...|
|IBM Spectrum Control™||Control Plane||Simplified control and optimization of storage and data infrastructure||SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center, Tivoli Storage Productivity Center|
|IBM Spectrum Protect™||Control Plane||Single point of administration for data backup and recovery||Tivoli Storage Manager|
|IBM Spectrum Accelerate™||Data Plane||Accelerating speed of deployment and access to data for new workloads||XIV storage system|
|IBM Spectrum Virtualize™||Data Plane||Storage virtualization that frees client data from IT boundaries||SAN Volume Controller|
|IBM Spectrum Scale™||Data Plane||High-performance, scalable storage manages exabytes of unstructured data||GPFS and codename:Elastic Storage|
|IBM Spectrum Archive™||Data Plane||Enables easy access to long term storage of low activity data||Linear Tape File System (LTFS)|
Last year, IDC recognized IBM as #1 in this new emerging software defined storage market. This announcement reinforces IBM's lead in this area. See the [Press Release] for details.
technorati tags: BM, Spectrum Storage, Software Defined Environment, SDE, Software Defined Storage, SDS, Control Plane, Data Plane, OpenStack, IBM Cloud, SmartCloud, VMware, Microsoft, IBM Spectrum Control, IBM Spectrum Protect, IBM Spectrum Accelerate, IBM Spectrum Virtualize, IBM Spectrum Scale, IBM Spectrum Archive, DS8000, SAN Volume Controller, SVC, Storwize, Storwize V7000, Intel, QuickAssist, Real-time Compression, FlashSystem, XIV, Virtual Storage Center, Tivoli Storage, Productivity Center, GPFS, Elastic Storage, LTFS, Tivoli Storage Manager