SAP HANA is an in-memory, relational database management system supported on Linux for x86 and POWER servers. The "HANA" acronym is short for "High-Performance Analytic Appliance" software. By keeping the data in memory, analytics and queries can be performed much faster than from traditional disk repositories.
Server memory, however, is volatile storage, so the data needs to be stored on persistent storage such as flash or disk drives. SAP has certified several configurations, some involve IBM Spectrum Scale solutions. I will use the following graphic to explain the three configurations.
- Linux on x86-64 with Spectrum Scale FPO
With SAP HANA on Lenovo x86-64 servers, SAP has certified internal flash or disk drives running IBM Spectrum Scale in "File Placement Optimization" (FPO) mode. FPO provides a shared-nothing architecture that matches the SAP HANA architecture. IBM Spectrum Protect can backup this configuration, providing data protection and disaster recovery support.
- Linux on POWER with Elastic Storage Server
With SAP HANA on POWER servers, SAP has certified external Elastic Storage Server (ESS). Not only is POWER the better platform to run SAP HANA than x86-64, but Elastic Storage Server offers excellent erasure coding to provide excellent rebuild times and storage efficiency.
The ESS is a pre-built system that combines IBM Spectrum Scale software with server and storage hardware. IBM Spectrum Protect can also backup this configuration, providing data protection and disaster recovery support.
- Block-level Storage over Storage Area Network (SAN)
Various IBM block-level devices are support for SAP HANA on both Linux on x86-64 and Linux on POWER. Unfortunately, SAP only has certified (to date) the use of the XFS file system. The problem many clients mention about this configuration is the lack of end-to-end backup and disaster recovery. This is solved by the Spectrum Scale configurations in the previous two examples.
Other combinations, such as SAP HANA on POWER with Spectrum Scale FPO, or on x86-64 servers with Elastic Storage Serer, are either not SAP-certified, or not directly supported by SAP without their approval.
IBM and SAP have worked closely together for many years, and I am glad to see SAP HANA and IBM Spectrum Scale based solutions continue this tradition.
technorati tags: IBM, SAP, SAP HANA, x86, x86-64, Linux, POWER, Spectrum Scale, FPO, Elastic Storage Server, ESS, Spectrum Protect, Disaster Recovery
Well it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM announcements!
(For those wondering where I went in July, then perhaps the better question should be "where didn't I go?". I started in Boston, MA, then Iceland, England, Hungary, Romania, Qatar, Kenya, Dubai UAE, and finally Seattle, WA. Whew! This week, I am visiting clients in Tennessee.)
Today, IBM launches a whole set of updated offerings based on the IBM Spectrum Virtualize software code base.
- IBM Spectrum Virtualize v7.7.1 software-only offering
Like the rest of the IBM Spectrum Storage family of products, IBM Spectrum Virtualize can now be purchased as software only, allowing you to install it on your own x86 servers, rather than purchasing pre-built systems from IBM.
The software license comes in two flavors. The traditional "perpetual license" allows you to move the software from one x86 server to another. Say after 4 years, you have depreciated the server, or the hardware components fail, and you want to get a newer server. This is the same perpetual license that clients with IBM SAN Volume Controller and Storwize family have enjoyed since 2003.
The other is a "monthly license", which allows you to stand up your own "SVC" using your own x86 servers, for a period of months needed for a development/test project, disaster recovery, or some other purpose. After the project is over, you can discontinue the license, and re-purpose the x86 servers for something else. This is especially handy for Managed Service Providers (MSP) and Cloud Service Providers (CSP), but certainly can prove useful in traditional datacenters as well. The "monthly licensing" option is also available for IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) as well.
The software license is based on Tebibyte [TiB]. For those not familiar with international standards, here is a comparison table:
||Always decimal, 10 to the 12th power
||Always binary, 2 to the 40th power
For more information, read the [IBM Spectrum Virtualize Software-only Announcement Letter].
- IBM SAN Volume Controller Model SV1
The new SV1 model is based on two 8-core [Intel Broadwell] processors, which IBM has clocked at up to 30 percent performance improvement over the DH8 model. It also offers up to 256GB of cache memory per node, which sadly only the first 64GB are usable at the current software level. Someday, a future release of software will address all 256GB of memory.
The IBM SAN Volume Controller now offers "Enterprise Class Support" as an option. In the past, the SVC was a "customer setup" box, similar to midrange and entry-level products. Now, you can upgrade your support to match that of IBM DS8000 and XIV enterprise class offerings. This means that IBM experts will maintain your microcode levels for you.
For more information, read the [IBM SAN Volume Controller SV1 Announcement Letter], and the [Enterprise Class Service Announcement Letter]..
- New software features
The v7.7.1 also provides new features for existing SVC, Storwize and FlashSystem V9000 products. Here are a few:
- Manageability with CLI support for host groups
- Scalability with support for up to 10,000 virtual disks, depending on the model; and up to 20 Expansion Enclosures on SVC 2145 DH8 and SV1 models, and the FlashSystem V9000
- RAS and performance enhancements for distributed RAID (DRAID)
- Flexibility with iSCSI virtualization support for XIV Gen3, IBM Spectrum Accelerate, FlashSystem A9000 and FlashSystem A9000R arrays
For more information, read the [IBM Spectrum Virtualize v7.7.1 Features Announcement Letter].
- IBM Storwize V7000 Gen2+ Model 624
The new 624 model is based on a single 10-core Intel Broadwell processor, which IBM has clocked at up to 45 percent performance improvement over the previous model. It also offers up to 128GB of cache memory per system, 64GB per node, double what came standard on the 524 model!
Why "Gen2+"? Moving from an 8-core Haswell to a 10-core Broadwell CPU, and doubling the cache memory didn't seem to be enough "architectural change" to justify calling it a "Gen3", so marketing decided on Gen2+ instead.
For more information, read the [Storwize V7000 Announcement Letter].
- IBM FlashSystem V9000
I refer to the IBM FlashSystem V9000 as my "Superman" product. When Superman dons on his glasses he becomes "Clark Kent", mild-mannered newspaper reporter. But behind the glasses, he is always Superman! Likewise, the FlashSystem V9000 is an all-flash array with an impressive set of features, but take off the fancy bezel, and you find that it is a pair of fully-loaded SAN Volume Controllers (which we call "Control Enclosures AC3") and a FlashSystem 900 drawer of the world's fastest flash storage.
The new FlashSystem V9000 is based on the new SV1 models of SVC. Each V9000 can attach up to 20 expansion enclosures over 12Gb SAS connections. The expansion enclosure can hold either 24 of the smaller 2.5-inch drives, or 12 of the larger 3.5-inch drives. Of course, the FlashSystem V9000 can also virtualize any of almost 400 different kinds of storage arrays, from all the major vendors, similar to SAN Volume Controller. This provides tiering options that match well with the FlashSystem 900 inside.
For more information, read the [FlashSystem V9000 Announcement Letter].
- IBM Storwize V7000F and V5030F all-flash array models
The FlashSystem V9000 was originally going to be called the Storwize V9000, but the FlashSystem folks wanted to keep all of the "FlashCore" technology under one name. In perhaps a bit retaliation, or maybe sibling rivalry, the Storwize team added the letter "F" to refer to the All-flash models of the Storwize V7000F and V5030F.
The "flash" in the V7000F and V5030F are just Solid-state drives, not nearly as fast as the cards in the FlashSystem models. The drives come in 1.92TB and 3.84TB capacities. You might see these rounded up to 2TB and 4TB on some presentations, but IBM officially never likes to exaggerate.
For more information, read the [Storwize All-Flash Announcement Letter], and the [New Flash Drive Options Announcement Letter].
technorati tags: IBM, SAN Volume Controller, SVC, Storwize, FlashSystem V9000, All-flash Array
Can you believe it has been a year already since IBM announced VersaStack?
In my May 2012 blog post, [EMC Strikes Back], I poked fun at the fact that Cisco had two
girlfriends "significant others": EMC and NetApp.
Cisco originally partnered with EMC to create a converged system called Vblock which combined Cisco UCS servers and switches with EMC storage. The partnership between VMware, Cisco and EMC was dubbed Virtual Computing Environment (VCE).
However, Cisco then partnered with NetApp to create Flexpod, a converged system that combined Cisco UCS servers and switches with NetApp storage. Many of my clients felt that Flexpod was an improvement over Vblock.
A lot has happened since then. In 2014, [drastically reduced its investment in VCE]. Last year, Dell then spent $67 Billion dollars to effectively take EMC out of the storage business. While this was a huge birthday present for IBM, not everyone is happy to see EMC fade away. Whitney Garcia has a great article titled [Crying at the Dell-EMC wedding: Why VCE customers should consider alternatives].
Before VersaStack, IBM had its own converged system, PureSystems, which combined IBM POWER and x86 servers with IBM storage. The x86 server portion of this business was sold off to Lenovo, but IBM continues to sell POWER-only and blended x86-and-POWER PureFlex systems, as well as PureApplication and PureData systems.
The [VersaStack] collaboration between IBM and Cisco offers an alternative to Vblock and Flexpod converged systems. Cisco is a leader in x86 blades and networking switches, and IBM is #1 in Flash and Software Defined Storage, including Storage Virtualization. VersaStack gives you the best of both worlds!
The VersaStack has Cisco Validated Designs for use with IBM's Spectrum Virtualize products:
- FlashSystem V9000
- Storwize V7000
- Storwize V7000 Unified
- Storwize V5000
This week, February 11, 2016, 12pm EDT, IBM and Cisco are hosting a webinar on VersaStack. Join us for the one year anniversary of VersaStack in a discussion with IBM, Cisco and VersaStack customers.
The speakers will be discussing VersaStack progress to date and the value VersaStack brings to client workloads. Topics of discussion will include how VersaStack can lower TCO, administrative overhead, reduce downtime and improve resource utilization, and allow for business innovation. The speakers include:
- Jonathan Cox, Medicat, Director, Technology Services
- Susan Martens, IBM, Director, VersaStack Sales, North America
- Kent Hixson, Cisco, Sales Business Development Manager
Here is the [Registration Link] to participate. Hope you can make it!
technorati tags: IBM, Cisco, EMC, VCE, VMware, Vblock, NetApp, Flexpod, VersaStack, #VersaStack, POWER, x86, Lenovo, PureSystems, PureFlex, PureApplication, PureData, Whitney Garcia, Jonathan Cox, Susan Martens, Kent Hixson, FlashSystem V9000, Storwize V7000, Storwize V7000 Unified, Storwize V5000, Medicat
Well it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
(FCC Disclosure: This official launch also includes October 6 announcements. In any case, the usual disclaimer applies: I currently work for IBM, and this blog post can be considered a "paid celebrity endorsement" of the IBM products mentioned below.)
IBM announced various updates to its Spectrum Storage product line. Here is a quick recap.
- IBM Spectrum Virtualize 7.6
Spectrum Virtualize is the new name of the "storage hypervisor" code that resides in IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) and Storwize family products. When you buy an SVC, you will license Spectrum Virtualize software on it. It is NOT available separately as software-only that you can install on any other hardware. There are three major improvements:
- Software-based Data-at-Rest Encryption
Earlier this year, IBM delivered data-at-rest encryption for the Storwize V7000 and V7000 Unified. This week, IBM extends this support to other storage hypervisors.
Since this feature is based on the Intel processor that supports the Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI), it applies only to the newer hardware: SAN Volume Controller 2145-DH8, the Storwize V7000 Gen2, FlashSystem V9000, and VersaStack converged systems that contain these. You can run Spectrum Virtualize v7.6 on older hardware models, but the encryption feature will be disabled.
Basically, by taking advantage of AES-NI commands, IBM can now offer data-at-rest encryption on any virtualized flash or disk arrays, eliminating the need for special "Self-Encrypting Drives", or SED.
The encryption keys are kept on USB memory sticks, that you can either leave in the machine, or stash away in some vault or safe somewhere.
- Distributed RAID
The other improvement is distributed RAID. Distributed RAID has been hugely popular on IBM XIV products, and has since found its way into the DCS3700, DCS3860 and Elastic Storage Server models.
With this new enhancement, storage admins can select "Distributed RAID-5" or "Distributed RAID-6" as alternate choices to traditional RAID ranks.
Why use it? All the drives are now active, eliminating idle spare drives that do nothing collecting dust and cobwebs waiting for an opportunity to spin up, and when they finally are used for a rebuild become a terrible bottleneck. Since all drives are reading and writing, the rebuild rate is an order of magnitude (5 to 10x) faster!
For those clients nervous about large 8TB drives and the number of days it would take to perform a traditional RAID rebuild, this should calm all of your fears.
- IP-based Quorum
This is one of those line-items that we have told clients that it was "just around the corner" and "coming soon, watch this space", and finally it is available. For clients using Stretched Cluster or HyperSwap across two buildings, best practices suggests keeping the quorum disk in a third building. This often met having to dedicate a single 2U disk system in a closet somewhere, with expensive Fibre Channel cables connecting to the other two buildings.
To address this, IBM now allows the quorum disk to be based on Internet Protocol (the IP portion of TCP/IP), which can be any bare-metal or virtual machine that is LAN or WAN attached. The "quorum disk" is just a little Java program. This can run on any cloud service provider as well, such as IBM SoftLayer, that both buildings have connectivity.
A minor improvement worth mentioning is that the IBM "Comprestimator" tool that estimates the capacity savings of Real-time Compression is now integrated into Spectrum Virtualize v7.6 command line interface (CLI), allowing you to run the tool on demand, as needed, on any virtual volume.
- IBM Spectrum Scale v4.2
IBM plans to offer all of its solutions in any of three flavors: software-only that you can deploy on your own server hardware, pre-built system appliances, and cloud services on IBM SoftLayer, IBM Cloud Managed Services or third-party cloud providers. Spectrum Scale is the software-only flavor, and Elastic Storage Server and Storwize V7000 Unified are pre-built systems based on that software.
- File and Object access
IBM published a "Redbook" on how to implement OpenStack Swift and Amazon S3 interfaces to an existing Spectrum Scale deployment. IBM supported it, but it was basically Do-it-Yourself DIY implementation. This has now been resolved, with full integration of OpenStack Swift and Amazon S3 object-protocol interfaces.
(For those unfamiliar with "Object storage", think of it like valet parking for your data. Before working for IBM, I was previously employed as a valet attendant, so I feel qualified to make this analogy.
If you park your car in a 10-story high parking structure, you have to remember where you parked to go find the car again. With valet parking, you hand over the keys to the valet attendant, the car gets parked, and you get a claim stub that you then use to get your car back. In the meantime, you don't know where your car is parked, and you don't care either!
Storing files in volume-level or file-level storage is like that 10-story high parking structure. You have to remember where you put it, which LUN or which sub-directory. With object storage, the system provides a "claim stub" in the form of an Universal Record Identifier, or URI, and simple HTTP commands like GET and POST can be used to upload and download the content.)
- Policy-driven Compression and Quality of Service (QoS)
If you want to differentiate the levels of service provided by files and objects stored in your infrastructure, look no further. Simple SQL-like language is used to set up policies that are invoked when needed.
- Hadoop Connector for File and Objects
The IBM Hadoop Connector allows Hadoop and Spark analytics applications to treat Spectrum Scale as a 100 percent compatible alternative to Hadoop File Systems (HDFS). Previously, this was only available for files, but now it has been extended to include objects as well.
- Advanced Graphical User Interface (GUI)
Based on the award-winning GUI that has been used for IBM XIV, SVC, Storwize and various other members of the IBM System Storage family, IBM announces an HTML5-based web-browser GUI for configuring and managing Spectrum Scale and Elastic Storage Server (ESS).
- Storwize V7000 Unified
The "file modules" that run IBM Spectrum Scale will get updated to R1.6 level, which supports SMB 3.0 and NFS 4.0 protocols. SMB support will now include both internal and externally-virtualized storage. You will also be able to use Active File Management to migrate to other Spectrum Scale implementations.
- IBM Spectrum Control
As the former chief architect of IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center v1, I have been a big fan of the advancements and evolution of Spectrum Control. IBM offers three levels. The first level is "Basic Edition", entitled at no additional charge for IBM storage hardware clients. The second level is "Standard Edition" which offers configuration, provisioning and performance monitoring. The third level is "Advanced Edition", which includes advanced storage analytics, file-level reporting, storage tiering and data placement optimization.
You can imagine my skepticism when I was told that Spectrum Control was going to be enhanced to support Spectrum Scale. What could it offer? IBM Spectrum Scale already has built-in storage tiering and data placement optimization!
It turns out that having effective "management tools" was the #1 reason clients have stated were needed to implement and deploy Spectrum Scale. Since 1998, back when it was called General Parallel File System, or GPFS, the target market was High Performance Computing (HPC) familiar with Command Line Interfaces (CLI).
But IBM was to broaden the reach of IBM Spectrum Scale, to financial services, health care and life sciences, government and education, and a variety of other industries. They won't tolerate being limited to CLI interfaces.
For clients with multiple Spectrum Scale clusters, Spectrum Control can offer the following:
- Visibility across the capacity utilization (file systems, pools, file sets, quotas) and cluster health across all Spectrum Scale clusters in the data center
- Ability to specify alerts which are applied across all Spectrum Scale clusters, for things like relative or absolute free space in a file system, or inodes used, nodes going down, etc.
- Understand the cross-cluster relationships established by remote cluster mounts, and seamlessly navigate between them
- If external SAN storage is used, Spectrum Control shows the correlation between Spectrum Scale Network Shared Disks (NSD) and their corresponding SAN volumes, again with the ability to navigate between them; also it can provide performance monitoring for the volumes backing the NSD
- Ability to monitor file capacity usage in the context of applications, by adding Spectrum Scale "file set containers" to application groups defined in Spectrum Control
- Compare file system activity across Spectrum Scale clusters, with the ability to drill into file system and node performance charts
- Support for object storage on Spectrum Scale, determine which object-enabled clusters are closest to running out of free space
While the basic built-in GUI is great for smaller deployments, if you have a dozen or more Spectrum Scale clusters, or have Spectrum Scale clusters intermixed with traditional block-level and NAS storage devices, then Spectrum Control is for you!
It used to take weeks to deploy the original versions of Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, but now, Spectrum Control is now offered in the cloud, and you can deploy it in as little as 30 minutes.
Want to check it out? You can explore Spectrum Control Storage Insights cloud service as a [Live Demo], or [Start your free trial]! The reporting capabilities of Spectrum Scale are identical between the on-premise version of Spectrum Control, and this cloud service offering.
Here's a great quote from a leading IT industry analyst:
"In multi-petabyte, multivendor installations, overall storage costs of ownership for use of IBM Spectrum Storage solutions averaged 73 percent less than EMC, and 61 percent less than Hitachi equivalents" -- Brian Jeffery, Managing Director, International Technology Group, Naples, FL
As IBM continues its transition from a hardware-oriented company founded over a century ago, manufacturing meat scales and cheese slicers, to one more focused on higher value-add software and services, the Spectrum Storage software family will play a critical role of this transformation!
technorati tags: IBM, Spectrum Virtualize, data-at-rest, encryption, SVC, Storwize, Storwize V7000, FlashSystem V9000, VersaStack, storage hypervisor, distributed RAID, RAID-5, RAID-6, Spectrum Scale, Elastic Storage Server, OpenStack, OpenStack Swift, Amazon S3, HTTP, Compression, Quality of Service, QoS, Hadoop, Spark, Hadoop Connector, HDFS, GUI, XIV, DCS3700, DCS3860, Spectrum Control, Tivoli Storage, Productivity Center, TPC, CLI, NAS, Storage Insights, SoftLayer, IBM Cloud Managed Services,
Oh my, it is Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
This week, IBM announced its latest storage arrays in its IBM System Storage DS8000 series: the DS8880 models. Similar to the "Business Class" vs. "Enterprise Class" distinctions of the DS8870, IBM announced two new models, the DS8884 and the DS8886.
All of the new DS8880 models are based on the latest IBM POWER8 processors, and are noticeably thinner! These are now standard 19-inch wide, fitting nicely into standard IBM racks alongside most other standard 19-inch rack equipment.
The DC-UPS that used to be on the side are now at the bottom of each frame, taking up 8U of space. The High Performance Flash Enclosures (HPFE) that formerly were stored vertically above the DC-UPS will be stored horizontally with the rest of the HDD and SSD drives.
- DS8884 model
- The DS8884 will have 6-core controllers, up to 256 GB Cache, 64 ports that can negotiate between 16Gbps and 8Gbps, up to 240 drives in a single-rack configuration or 768 drives in a three-frame configuration, and up to 120 flash cards in HPFEs. The performance of this one is equal or better to existing DS8870 systems.
- DS8886 model
- The DS8886 will have 8-core, 16-core and 24-core controllers, offering up to three times the performance as the previous DS8870 models, with up to 2 TB of Cache, 128 ports, up to 1,536 drives across five frames, and up to 240 flash cards in HPFEs.
Field model conversion from DS8870 to DS8886 is available for existing clients with DS8870 Enterprise Configurations. This will let clients move their existing HDD, SSD, HPFE and Host Adapters over to the new DS8880 models.
In previous DS8000 models, clients would have one Hardware Management Console (HMC) inside the array, and an optional second HMC workstation somewhere else for high availability. While the second one was optional, it was always considered best practice to have it for redundancy sake. In the new DS8880 models, you can have both HMC in the array, and the Keyboard/Video/Monitor (KVM) can select between the two.
The new I/O enclosure pairs are four times faster, supporting six Device Adapters and two HPFE connections over PCIe Gen 3 network, the fastest available in the industry.
Lastly, IBM simplified the licensing of software features into three bundles, based on TB total capacity of Fixed Block (FB) LUNs and Count-Key-Data (CKD) volumes:
- Base function License: Logical Configuration support for FB, Operating Environment License, Thin Provisioning, Easy Tier® automated sub-volume tiering, and I/O Priority Manager.
- Copy Services License: FlashCopy®, Metro Mirror, Global Mirror, Metro/Global Mirror, z/Global Mirror (XRC), z/Global Mirror Resync, and Multi-Target PPRC.
- z-Synergy Service License: Parallel Access Volumes (PAV), HyperPAV, FICON® attachment, High performance FICON (zHPF), and IBM z/OS® Distributed Data Backup (zDDB).
IBM also provided a "Product preview", announcing plans for a third member of the DS8880 family in 2016 that will be flash-optimized to provide an all-flash, higher performance storage system model.
To learn more, read the [IBM Press Release] and [Function authorizations].
technorati tags: IBM, DS8000, DS8870, DS8880, DS8884, DS8886, HPFE, HDD, SSD, HMC, KVM, FB, CKD, Easy Tier, FlashCopy, FICON, zHPF, zDDB, all-flash