Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor and Senior IT Architect for the IBM Storage product line at the
IBM Systems Client Experience Center in Tucson Arizona, and featured contributor
to IBM's developerWorks. In 2016, Tony celebrates his 30th year anniversary with IBM Storage. He is
author of the Inside System Storage series of books. This blog is for the open exchange of ideas relating to storage and storage networking hardware, software and services.
(Short URL for this blog: ibm.co/Pearson )
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A Brief History of SVC and Storwize Family: What, How and Why?
Fellow IBM Master Inventor [and blogger] Barry Whyte gave an excellent session on the past 10 years of development history for IBM SAN Volume Controller and the rest of the Storwize Family based on its binary code. The SAN Volume Controller represents the start of a movement, what is now called "Software-Defined Storage", with a layer of abstraction that completely hides the differences between different back-end devices. The Storwize family is the most successful Software-defined Storage solution in the IT industry!
IBM Cloud Storage Architectures
IBM Clod Barrera presented an updated version of his "Cloud Storage Architecture" pitch from a technical and strategic viewpoint. From 2011 to 2015, external storage spend is increasing 25 percent for public cloud, and 17 percent for private cloud deployments, and that is not including all of the Do-it-yourselfers like Facebook who build their own storage devices from piece parts.
This year, Clod has expanded his "Cloud Storage Taxonomy" to six different categories:
OLTP/transactional, typically block-based
General purpose storage
Ephemeral storage that exists only while a specific virtual machine (VM) is running
Analytics, which tends to be more sequential than random in I/O pattern
IBM is a platinum sponsor of OpenStack, and is proud to have hundreds of contributors assigned to improve this open source initiative.
IBM Linear Tape File System - Enterprise Edition
IBM Ed Childers presented the latest announcement on Linear Tape File System [LTFS]. For a quick recap, IBM first introduced LTFS Standard Drive Edition [LTFS-SDE] in April 2010, which allowed workstations attached to single tape drives to use cartridges much like USB memory sticks. Then, IBM introduced LTFS Library Edition [LTFS-LE] which allows an entire tape library to be mounted as a file system, with each resident tape cartridge listed as a sub-directory.
Now, IBM has LTFS Enterprise Edition, which combines disk-based General Parallel File System [GPFS] with LTFS-LE, resulting in a combined hybrid disk-and-tape file system.
To provide a client's perspective, Konstantin Arnold with Biozentrum, the Life Sciences Research department of the University of Basel, Switzerland and SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics presented some shocking information on their data growth. Biozentrum studies 3D protein folding, with information from the Worldwide Protein Data Bank [PDB] and [UniProt], which combines protein information from Swiss-Prot with manually annotations and TrEMBL computationally analyzed and automatically annotated entries.
Combining lab data, proteomics, deep-sequencing, imaging and high-content analysis, their storage requirements has grown exponentially, from less than 50 TB in 2009, to over 350TB in 2013. With the need to have such a large repository of unstructured data, it made sense to use LTFS-EE for this project!
IBMers presented the use of SAN Volume Controller (SVC) in a "stretch cluster" for a production environment at a bank in the Middle East. Before going into the technical details of the solution, they explained the challenges of running a bank under Sharia law. For example, Sharia law does not allow charging interest rates on borrowed money, but banks can charge fees for services. Debit cards are automatically denied at shops that are "black-listed" such as liquor stores, that are not consistent with the precepts of the Islamic religion.
The SVC implementation was rather straight-forward. IBM has offered Stretch Cluster since 2009 with version 5.1, but it only gained popularity years later when VMware pointed out that this can be used for datacenter to datacenter vMotion activity. The IBM team tested this out with a short 500 meter distance locally, before stretching it out to two locations now implemented. They have three SVC nodes managing 60TB of managed disk capacity at each data center, made up from a mix of DS8870, Storwize V7000 and DS3950 disk systems.
To demonstrate the robustness of the solution, the client requested that the IBM team demonstrate various recovery scenarios while running live in production mode! As you would expect, IBM SVC successfully handled every one.
IBM Cloud Storage with OpenStack and IBM System Storage
IBM Michael Factor presented this overview of OpenStack, and how IBM already supports various aspects of the open source initiative with products like SAN Volume Controller, XIV, and Storwize V7000.
This was the best overview of OpenStack I had heard. IBM is a platinum sponsor of this open source initiative, managed by the [OpenStack Foundation]. In traditional open source fashion, bi-annual releases are given alphabetically-ascending names. The last release was named Folsom, the current release is Grizzly, and the next release planned will be named Havana.
OpenStack is designed to manage your data center or cloud across four capabilities: Compute, Network, Storage and Shared Services. For Compute, the "Nova" project focuses on managing running VM instances, and "Glance" manages VM images that can be launched. The "Networking" project focuses on providing network connectivity. This was formerly called "Quantum", but Quantum (the company) felt there might be some confusion, so it was renamed to just "Networking".
For Storage, there are two projects, "Cinder" and "Swift". Cinder refers to persistent, external block storage, accessible via iSCSI or Fibre Channel. IBM's SAN Volume Controller, XIV and Storwize V7000 already support the Cinder API interface. Swift is focused on "object storage", which can provide an alternative way of storing information for cloud-based applications. SNIA's Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) is working with OpenStack to bring object storage into the mainstream.
With the Cinder API, applications can create volumes, take snapshots, set quotas, and attach these volumes to VM instances.
I realize there is a big time gap between this post and my last. Where have I been? "Where haven't I been?"... might be the better question! After my week at Edge, I flew from Las Vegas to Sao Paulo, Brazil where various protests delayed my departure, then visited clients in the Midwestern USA, then London to watch a bit of tennis. From there, I flew to Athens, Greece (and yes, more protests!), took some overdue time-off on the beach on various Greek islands, then taught a Storage Top Gun class in Bangalore, India. So, yes, I have been quite busy. I will try to catch up on typing up all my notes from the IBM Edge conference over the next few weeks!