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IBM Announcements for October 2018 ESS Spectrum Scale and FlashSystem A9000R
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
Here is a quick recap of the October 9, 2018 announcements this week.
IBM Elastic Storage Server V5.3.2
The new IBM Elastic Storage Server v5.3.2 offers support for new drawers, non-disruptive upgrades of older models, and an optional 100GbE switch.
When the ESS was first announced, we had GSx models and GLx models, where x represented the number of storage drawers. The "S" stood for small 2U-24 drive drawers, so for example the GS4 had two Power8 servers combined with four 2U-size flash SSD drawers. The "L" stood for large 4U-60 drive nearline HDD drawers.
The second generation models append "S" for Second, so we had GS4S and GL6S. The large models changed to larger 5U-84 drive drawers. As with the previous "L" models, two slots per system contain Solid State Drives for internal use and caching, leaving the rest for slower spinning HDD disk.
Before this week, to upgrade from one model to another meant moving the data off, installing and configuring the additional drawers, and then move the data back. With today's announcements, you can now non-disruptively upgrade GS1S to GS2S to GS4S models, and GL1S to GL2S to GL4S to GL6S.
While you can federate as many GS and GL models together, that may mean having to spend more for Power8 servers than you are comfortable with, so IBM added "GHxy" Hybrid models, with x 2U-24 drive drawers, and y 5U-84 drive drawers. Initial models included the GH14 and GH24, which had one or two flash drawers, and four large drawers. This week, IBM announced a new GH12 model. The SSD flash in the 2U drawer can be 3.84TB or 15.36TB, and the nearline drives in the 5U drawers can be 4TB, 8TB or 10TB capacities.
What did IBM call the third generation GL models? Instead of using "T" which is both the next letter in the alphabet after "S", and the initial letter of the word "third", IBM instead decided to use "C" to designate CORAL project, the Collaboration of Oakridge, Argonne, and Lawrence Livermore national labs. Since the change applied only to the GL models, not the GS models, this makes sense.
To meet the requirements to build the world's fastest supercomputer for the CORAL project, IBM created a modified Elastic Storage Server model with 4U drawers that contained 106 drives. Now, these are available to the general public! IBM announced GL1C, GL2C, GL4C and GL6C models. In these, there are 2 SSD drives, and the rest are 10TB nearline drives.
The new optional 100GbE switch has 32 ports with a total of 6.4 Tbps. These can support 10, 40, 50 and 100GbE data rates, with 300 nsec latency for 100 GbE port to port
Spectrum Scale is licensed two ways: Standard Edition based on the number of sockets, with different prices for NSD servers, FPO servers and NSD clients; and the "Data Management" edition which offered advanced features, and was based on capacity of NSD, independent of the number of servers and clients attached.
Clients liked the capacity-based license model, but did not necessarily need the advanced features. In response, IBM now offers the "Data Access" edition, which offers the same features and functions of Standard Edition, but with capacity-based licensing.
For ESS models, you can chose to license by disk as before, or by capacity in combination with Spectrum Scale capacity-based deployments.
Hortonworks Data Platform v3.0.1 has followed suit. With the merger between Hortonworks and Cloudera, Hortonworks now offers capacity-based licensing for shared storage, like the IBM Elastic Storage Server.
IBM FlashSystem A9000/A9000R software version 12.3
There are three enhancements in this release: Three-site replication, a new model of A9000R, and raising a previous pool size limit.
For three-site replication, you can now combine HyperSwap which maintains two identical copies at distance, with a third asynchronous mirroring. The first two are typically within 100 km, but the third copy can be a much greater distance, across the continent if you like.
The A9000 "Pod" had three x86-based controller and one FlashCore drawer. The A9000R "Rack" had four, six or eight x86-based controllers and two, three or four FlashCore drawers, respectively, as well as a Power Distribution Unit (PDU) and pair of InfiniBand switches to connect everything together. The new "Grid Starter" model is very much like the "Pod" with three controllers and one FlashCore drawer, but adds the PDU and IB switches. The idea is that you can start with a "Grid Starter", then later upgrade to the larger A9000R models as you grow.
Back in XIV days, the architectural limit per pool of 1PB was plenty big. But with the new capacities on the A9000 and A9000R, the 1PB limit was starting to draw complaints. This limit was lifted, so that now a single pool can be made with the entire capacity of the box.
In the mainframe world, IBM Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex, now just GDPS, provide the highest BC-7 business continuity tier, providing end-to-end coordination with servers, networks and storage devices. For IBM Power Systems, similar BC-7 support is provided by IBM Geographically Dispersed Resiliency.
In this week's announcement, IBM Geographically Dispersed Resiliency (GDR) for Power Systems has been renamed and now offered in two editions: VM Recovery Manager HA and VM Recovery Manager DR. The "HA" edition provides high availability using Power Systems Live Partition Mobility for AIX, IBM i and Linux operating systems.
The "DR" edition provides both High Availability and Disaster Recovery capabilities, supporting mirrored storage systems like IBM DS8000, SAN Volume Controller, FlashSystem 9100 and V9000, and Storwize systems, as well as competitive storage from Dell EMC and Hitachi.
Next week, I will be in Hollywood, Florida for IBM Technical University (Oct 15-19), and then Rome for the IBM Technical University (Oct 22-26). I will be covering many of these announcements above, and more!