Inside System Storage -- by Tony Pearson

Tony Pearson Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor and Senior IT Specialist for the IBM System Storage product line at the IBM Executive Briefing Center in Tucson Arizona, and featured contributor to IBM's developerWorks. In 2011, Tony celebrated his 25th year anniversary with IBM Storage on the same day as the IBM's Centennial. 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. You can also follow him on Twitter @az990tony.
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BarryB,IBM is a supermarket, some of the products on our shelves are made by others, some by IBM itself. EMC is a disk/archive/security specialty shop, some of your technology was acquired, while others are post-acquisition. If you want to limit your discussions to post-acquisition developments, that is up to you.<div>&nbsp;</div> However, just because IBM leverages the smart people in other companies does not imply we do not have smart engineers ourselves. Have you seen our 4Q07 numbers yet? They are quite impressive!

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One of these days, that sofa will get round that bend and make it into the apartment (dirk gently book1) <div>&nbsp;</div> Thin provisioning has is place, its uses, and its issues. If you are happy to accept 30% of your performance (what we have measured on DMX) when you thin provision - fair enough - if you want more - watch this space...

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BarryW - not sure how you are able to measure DMX performance with thin provisioning, since EMC's implementation for the DMX-3 &amp; 4 isn't shipping yet. If you're using SVC thin provisioning, I suspect the problem lies in your product, or possibly something is simply mis-configured.<div>&nbsp;</div> TonyP - Let's review those results - maybe I'm missing something (all quotes direct from the IBM press release):<div>&nbsp;</div> First, the "highlights" at the top of the release:<div>&nbsp;</div> Diluted earnings of $2.80 per share, up 24 percent as reported; Total revenues of $28.9 billion, up 10 percent; Global Technology Services revenues up 16 percent; pre-tax income up 26 percent; Global Business Services revenues up 17 percent; pre-tax income up 9 percent; Services signings of $15.4 billion; short-term signings up 8 percent; Software revenues up 12 percent; pre-tax income up 21 percent; 65 percent of revenues from outside the U.S.; E/ME/A revenues up 16 percent; Asia Pacific up 15 percent. <div>&nbsp;</div> Odd...there's no mention of STORAGE, or ANY HARDWARE for that point, in the "highlights" section of the press release.<div>&nbsp;</div> Pretty clear that most of the revenue gains came from outside the US:<div>&nbsp;</div> From a geographic perspective, the Americas' fourth-quarter revenues were $11.7 billion, an increase of 5 percent as reported (2 percent, adjusting for currency) from the 2006 period. Revenues from Europe/Middle East/Africa were $10.8 billion, up 16 percent (6 percent, adjusting for currency). Asia-Pacific revenues increased 15 percent (9 percent, adjusting for currency) to $5.5 billion. OEM revenues were $894 million, down 13 percent compared with the 2006 fourth quarter.<div>&nbsp;</div> Seems perhaps folks in the US (and some of your OEMs) aren't shopping at the Big Blue Super Mart as much...makes you wonder if they opted for the specialty stores instead?<div>&nbsp;</div> Revenues from the Systems and Technology segment totaled $6.8 billion for the quarter, down 4 percent (8 percent, adjusting for currency). <div>&nbsp;</div> Revenues from System z server products decreased 15 percent versus the year-ago period. <div>&nbsp;</div> Ahh..THERE'S the culprit. The MAINFRAME business was off (or was that just a tough compare?)<div>&nbsp;</div> But WAIT:<div>&nbsp;</div> Revenues from System Storage increased 11 percent<div>&nbsp;</div> Ahh - storage to the rescue. <div>&nbsp;</div> That would be impressive, I guess, if you actually told us how big the number for just Storage was, but since it's just part of the 6.8Bn Systems &amp; Tech revenus, it's pretty clear that the 11% gains were on a small number. And since the press release already admitted that the majority of the gains where due to currency exchange benefits of a weak dollar, methinks I can guess where you sold the majority of your storage products.<div>&nbsp;</div> And as we know from past reports (and TonyP blogs) a rather significant component of "System Storage" is TAPE.<div>&nbsp;</div> All nets out that you really aren't doing all that much business selling storage...<div>&nbsp;</div> =======To complete this discussion, we need another couple of weeks worth of earnings reports, to see how IT (and DISK storage) spend in the US fared. Let's check in again at the end of the month.<div>&nbsp;</div> BTW -it sure must be scary to see demand for "zee" Cash Cow tail off so quickly, though, huh?

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For more on DS4000 Best Practices for segment size selection, or other tuning guidelines, see the IBM Redbook here:

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My DS4000 colleagues have pointed out that with 16 drives per drawer, 7+P is not recommended as it would not leave room for spares, and offers an awkward 896K data stripe. More typical configurations are 4+P or 12+P. DS4000 can support even larger RAID5 configurations across multiple drawers. See the above IBM Redbook for additional considerations.

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