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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1 localhost commented Permalink

I don't have any official data to backup the poor reputation of CLARiiON but I do have first hand experience of its relatively abysmal performance - remember we get to see EVERY vendors products behind SVC, and SVC can very easily overload most entry and mid-range products. We therefore have to qualify each controller, and set some 'limits' internally so we don't start getting queue full etc Lets just say some boxes surprise you at how low you have to set the limit.<div>&nbsp;</div> The multiple seconds or so of 'reset time' the box takes when you re-map luns has caught out more than one customer I've spoken to.<div>&nbsp;</div> These are just a couple of issues, just because you have a sales channel that can ship lots of boxes to unsuspecting customers (maybe Equallogic/Dell will put an end to some of that in the future) but equally some of it could be real FUD, I'd certainly not like my storage to be running on a Redmond based OS - no matter how cut-down - same reason I don't think DataCore is the best solution.<div>&nbsp;</div> Just my 2c / 2p

2 localhost commented Trackback

To clarify, Sun StorageTek VSM is almost 100% mainframe attach. <div>&nbsp;</div> Tony's point on VTL's big winner being FalconStor is a good one, not all users may know that this is the software behind EMC, IBM and Sun's offerings in this open systems space. (And yes, vendors do sometimes add value to this software layer) <div>&nbsp;</div> But, seems to me, the key differentiation in this segment comes down to the infrastructure (that's running FalconStor) and the preferred vendor. <div>&nbsp;</div> Now comes my shameless Sun plug....<div>&nbsp;</div> Our VTL Value product was built on our Sun Fire X4500 platform. This is a storage server that includes the FalconStor software + Server + OS + 24TBs of storage + networking - all in a 4U rack. <div>&nbsp;</div> I grabbed a couple stats off of the EMC DL210 spec sheet, so correct me if I am wrong - but I see 1 server + 48 SATA drives for 24TBs. Consuming a total of 1,315 Watts in a 15U rack. Running FalconStor. <div>&nbsp;</div> Sun StorageTek VTL Value consumes 1,100 Watts (16% less) and takes up 4U of space (73% less) - running FalconStor. <div>&nbsp;</div> Now our Sun Fire X4500 (aka "Thumper") platform is relatively new - but already this fiscal year we have shipped ~70PB of capacity. (Not all for VTL as we can run a lot of different software in this platform).<div>&nbsp;</div> So Sun (and IBM) can claim leadership in the mainframe space. Open systems is a new market, and since FalconStor is the common denominator, Sun's play here is to leverage innovative platforms and our intergated disk and tape portfolio...<div>&nbsp;</div> - Taylor

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Hi TonyI usually find most of your posts interesting but this was weak. Try to say more with less words. The rear view mirror is great for safety but does not help taking you forward. I would much rather read about your view of the future of IT infrastructure. Stay relevant and avoid these nonsense posts. Thanks and keep writing. "You cannot stop the evolution, you can only stop yourself from taking part of it"

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Thanks for the response Tony. I agree, in one respect, we are debating with inadequate information (without having read the report) and it is partly a discussion of what to label something. Having said that, while I agree that the 3494 VTS could have be used in the open systems environment (and in that limited sense can be labeled the "first" open systems VTL), I think we can agree that was not the primary intent when the product was developed. I can cite two proof points for that claim: one, the very small disk cache (5 TB on the B20 model) and the consistent marketing messaging around batch jobs and volume utilization (neither point is even relevant, really, in the open systems world). While I admit that I don't know how it was actually deployed by your customers, I still doubt that more than 10% of them ended up in the open systems backup world. I would further suggest that if that were not the case, there would be no need for the TS7520. In the same vein, it would be disingenuous for me to suggest that a Maybach is a wonderful comfortable leather chair--it may offer comfortable leather seating, but that clearly is not the design intent. <div>&nbsp;</div> I agree that the segmentation is difficult, certainly more so for Forrester who really has no rigorous way of determining if a 3494 is used primarily for mainframe or open attach... But perhaps you and I, as well as your readers, could indulge in a bout of common sense and agree that the 3494 VTS (as well as its TS7700 descendant) are really mainframe devices. You can spin it however you want, but a backup device that offers a miniscule disk capacity of 18 TB is not destined to sell well in the open systems world--certainly not at the price points they are at, and not if it is advertised as a batch processing aid. <div>&nbsp;</div> Net: an honest comparison would examine market share, including # of customers and units shipped, of the EDL, 7520, and the equivalent Sun product (VTL Value and brethren--not VSM!). EMC tends not to disclose the latter, and until you (and to some degree Sun) agrees that this is the relevant point of comparison, I guess I am not surprised! At the end of the day however, unless you want to state that IBM has shipped more than 1100 TS7520s, I don't think there is any doubt who the leader is!

5 localhost commented Trackback

Taylor,Your shameless plugs for Sun products on my blog make me giggle. I agree whole-heartedly about your point about choosing and buying from a choice of nearly comparable VTLs comes down to infrastructure and preferred vendor. Many customers prefer to buy their tape libraries from the vendor that sells them servers and backup software, for a complete end-to-end solutino, and both IBM and Sun are better positioned in that regard than EMC.--Tony

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