On SearchStorage.com, my buddy Tony Asaro recaps the latest Storage Acquisition Frenzy
It has always been the case in fast pace technology areas that you can't tell the players without a program card, andthis is especially true for storage.
When analyzing each acquistion move, you need to think of what is driving it. What are the motives?Having been in the storage business 20 years now, and seen my share of acquisitions, both from within IBM,as well as competition, I have come up with the following list of motives.
Although slavery was abolished in the US back in the 1800's, and centuries earlier everywhere else, many acquisitionsseem to be focused on acquiring the people themselves, rather than the products or client list. I have seen statistics such as "We retained 98% of the people!" In reality, these retentions usually involve costly incentives,sign-in bonuses, stock options, and the like. Desptie this, people leave after a few years, often because ofpersonality or "corporate culture" clash. For example, many former STK employees seem to be leaving after their company was acquired by Sun Microsystems.
If you can't beat them, join them. Acquisitions can often be used by one company to raise its ranking in marketshare, eliminating smaller competitors. And now that you have acquired their client list, perhaps you can sellthem more of your original set of products!
Symantec had acquired Veritas, which in turn had acquired a variety of other smaller players, and the end result is that they are now #1 backup software provider, even though none of theirproducts holds a candle to IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager. Meanwhile, EMC acquired Avamar to try to get more into the backup/recovery game, but most analysts still find EMC down in the #4 or #5 place in this category.
Next month,Brocade's acquisition of McData should take effect, furthering its marketshare in SAN switch equipment.
Prior to my current role as "brand market strategist" for System Storage, I was a "portfolio manager" where wetried to make sure that our storage product line investments were balanced. This was a tough job, as the investmentshad to balance the right development investments into different technologies, including patent portfolios.Despite IBM's huge research budget, I am not surprised that some clever inventions of new technologies comefrom smaller companies, that then get acquired once their results appear viable.
- Value Shift
The last motive is value shift. This is where companies try to re-invent themselves, or find that they are stuck in acommodity market rut, and wish to expand into more profitable areas.
LSI Logic acquisition of StoreAge is a good exampleof this. Most of the major storage vendors have already shifted to software and services to provide customer value,as predicted in 1990's by Clayton Christensen in his book "The Innovator's Dilemma". The rest are still strugglingto develop the right strategy, but leaning in this general direction.
I hope that provides some insight.[Read More]
I've only had this blog since Sep. 1, and already it is listed in the Data Storage Bloggers wiki list.
In last week's System Storage Portfolio Top Gun class in Dallas, some of the students were not familiarwith Really Simple Syndication (RSS). For the uninitiated, this can be intimidating.I thought a quick overview of what I've done might help:
- Chose a "feed reader". I chose Bloglines but there are many others.
- Use Technorati to search other blogs for keywords or phrases I am looking for.
- When I find a blog that I like to continue tracking, I "add" it to my subscription list on bloglines. Just hit "add" and copy the URL of the blog you want to track. Bloglines will figure out the RSS keywords required.I track eight blogs at the momemnt, but some people with lots of time on their hands track 20 or more. It is easy to unsubscribe, so don't be afraid to try some out for a few days.
- Since I was actually going to run a blog of my own, I read a few books on the topic. One I recommend is "Naked Conversations" by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, both experienced bloggers.
- Finally, I am not big on spell checking, but most places have the option to preview your post or comment before it actually gets posted, which is not a bad idea if you use any HTML tags.
For a quick taste of blogging, consider using Data Storage Blogger Feed Reader. This has a lot of blogs on the topic of storage, already added and categorized for your convenience, ready for your perusal.
I am sure there are many other ways to enjoy the Blogosphere, but this works for me.[Read More]
IBM Master Inventor, Senior IT Architect, and Event Content Manager
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
It has been 71 days since my last post, and people were beginning to worry. Did Tony with the lottery? Was Tony hit by a bus? Did Tony get abducted by aliens from another planet? No, none of these things happened.
I got a new job! I am still working with IBM Systems, but now am one of the Event Content Managers for the [IBM Systems Technical University] events, or TechU for short. For those who have attended these events, I have taken over for Glenn Anderson, who retired December 31, 2018.
Last year, the IBM TechU team asked me to present eight topics at an event in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a last-minute replacement for other speakers. While there, Glenn Anderson mentioned to me that he was planning to retire. "Do you know anyone interested in taking over for me?" he asked.
I jumped at the chance to apply for the job! There was stiff competition, but after three rounds of interviews and background checks, I was offered the position! This all happened after the zTechU event in Hollywood, Florida last October, so if this is the first you have heard of it, you are not alone.
For those wondering "What about the IBM Tucson Client Experience Center?" you have good reason to ask. I had worked at the center for the past 12 years, the last six as the chief subject matter expert (SME) for all things IBM System Storage. Who is going to replace me? The job posting is still open, and the new manager, John Zupetz, has been reviewing resumes.
As time permits, I will continue to do storage briefings to help out during this transition, both here in Tucson, Arizona, as well as outbound to various client and IBM locations. I have also offered to help train whomever gets hired for the job.
In my new role, I will be managing TechU events, selecting topics, accepting speakers, scheduling sessions, and even presenting sessions at the events themselves. I will be focused on IBM Z and LinuxONE mainframe servers and related Storage solutions, but will also manage sessions on soft skills for IT Leadership and Professional Development.
We plan to have about 18 events this year, spanning countries across six continents! I just finished smaller 3-day events in Istanbul, Turkey and Cairo, Egypt, and am now working on larger events to be held in Dubai, Atlanta, and Berlin!
Shameless plug! Registration is open for these TechU events. I plan to be at all three, if you want to meet me in person!
In the meantime, I have decided to take on two extra co-authors for this blog. Let me introduce them to you:
- Christopher Vollmar
Christopher Vollmar, or Chris for short, is a Storage Architect supporting customers in Canada and the Caribbean. He is a Certified Consulting IT Specialist and a Design Thinking practitioner.
Chris and I have worked together for many years. Most recently, we were in Zurich Switzerland as contributing authors to write two IBM Redpapers: [IBM Private, Public, and Hybrid Cloud Storage Solutions] and the [IBM Software-Defined Storage Guide].
You can follow Chris on twitter @vollmar_chris and LinkedIn Chris Vollmar.
- Lloyd Dean
Lloyd Dean is an IBM Senior Certified Executive IT Architect in Infrastructure Architecture. Lloyd has held numerous senior technical roles at IBM during his 19-plus years at IBM. Lloyd most recently has been leading efforts across the Communication/CSI Market as a senior Storage Solution Architect/CTS covering the Kansas City territory.
I also have known Lloyd for years. In prior roles, Lloyd supported the industry accounts as a Storage Solution architect and prior to that as a Storage Software Solutions specialist during his time in the Advanced Technical Skills (ATS) organization.
Lloyd currently supports North America storage sales teams in his Storage Software Solution Architecture SME role in the Washington Systems Center team. His current focus is with IBM Cloud Private and he will be delivering and supporting sessions at Think2019, and Storage Technical University on the Value of IBM storage in this high value IBM solution a part of the IBM Cloud strategy. Lloyd maintains a Subject Matter Expert status across the IBM Spectrum Storage Software solutions. You can follow Lloyd on Twitter @ldean0558 and LinkedIn Lloyd Dean.
I have spent the last 10 weeks working with the IBM developerWorks team converting from a single-author blog to a multi-author blog. I had no idea it would be so complicated to re-work the HTML templates, acquire all the legal and managerial approvals, and then authorize additional contributors!
I look forward to working with my new co-authors!
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements! This week IBM announced new and refreshed storage products.
On Feb 20, there will be a [Live Stream event] to watch the announcements online. The event is at Half Moon Bay in California, starting at 9:30am Pacific Standard Time (PST).
IBM decided to do things a bit differently for this launch. Instead of dozens of stodgy press releases, IBM has opted to complement with a series of blog posts, with [Storage innovation drives 21st century business] providing an overall recap.
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM. This blog post can be considered a "paid celebrity endorsement")
- IBM Spectrum NAS
IBM Spectrum NAS is a new software-defined storage offering to address three specific market segments:
- General purpose file serving and home directories
- Native SMB protocol NAS for Microsoft Windows Applications
- File serving for Virtualization Environments, such as VMware and Hyper-V
IBM Spectrum NAS is software that you can run on your x86 servers, either bare metal or as Virtual Machines. You start with four nodes, and can scale out to tens of machines as you grow.
IBM Spectrum NAS was written from scratch, not based on open source SAMBA software. It has already been deployed internally within IBM last year, and now is being productized. It is very compatible with the SMB2 and SMB3.1 protocol specifications, and supports the NFS3, NFS4 and NFS4.1 protocols as well.
As a scale-out solution, it is both more robust and scalable than a single Windows server, and less expensive to run than traditional dual-controller NAS filers.
To learn more, see the [IBM Spectrum NAS V1.7] press release, and [Easy to manage IBM Spectrum NAS] blog post.
- IBM Spectrum Protect and Protect Plus
IBM Spectrum Protect has been enhanced to detect ransomware attacks, and improved auditing to meet European Union's General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR] privacy legislation.
(If you are not in Europe, and feel this legislation does not apply, you may be sadly mistaken. This legislation may affect any company that shares information with EU companies, or has even a single client from the European Union. Think of it as this year's [Y2K crisis]. It hits globally on May 25, 2018.)
IBM Spectrum Plus offers snapshot support for both VMware and Hyper-V virtualization environments. The vSnap repository can now be replicated to remote facility for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR). IBM Spectrum Plus is now also available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering on IBM Cloud.
To learn more, see [Innovations just keep on coming with IBM Spectrum Protect and Protect Plus].
- NVMe over Fabric (NVMe-oF)
IBM FlashSystem 900 storage system will be enabled for NVMe-oF, initially over InfiniBand. In my January 2018 blog post [NVMe and the future of NVMe-OF and FC-NVMe], I cover these technologies in detail.
IBM also made an official Statement of Direction (SoD) to offer NVMe-oF support on many of its other storage systems as well.
To learn more, see [Driving new level performance with NVMe storage solutions].
- IBM Spectrum Virtualize
IBM Spectrum Virtualize is the software in SAN Volume Controller, FlashSystem V9000, and the Storwize V7000 and V5000 series. It is also available as software you can deploy on your own x86 servers, or in the IBM Cloud. Fellow IBM master inventor and blogger Barry Whyte has a great post on the details of Spectrum Virtualize v8.1.2 latest release, including [Data Reduction Pools].
To learn more, see [Spectrum Virtualize v8.1.2], [IBM SAN Volume Controller, IBM FlashSystem V9000, and IBM Storwize family], and [New architecture for IBM Spectrum Virtualize].
- IBM Cloud Object Storage System
Cohasset Associates has reviewed the IBM Cloud Object Storage (IBM COS) Compliance Enabled Vaults (CEV) capability and determined that this feature meets the U.S. Security Exchange Commission SEC 17a-4 requirement for non-erasable, non-rewriteable (NENR) tamperproof enforcement.
Some clients also refer to this as Immutability, Content Addressable Storage, or Write-Once Read-Many (WORM). Rather than invent new terminology, IBM opts to use Non-erasable, Non-rewriteable to match the standard language in the SEC 17a-4 legislation.
IBM COS is now also eligible for "Storage Utility" pricing. See my blog post [ IBM Announcements 2017 November] for details on how Storage Utility pricing is implemented.
To learn more, see [Regulatory Support for IBM COS], and [Storage Utility Pricing for IBM COS].
- IBM Spectrum Connect
More than 15 years ago, I was the chief architect for IBM Spectrum Control, which back then was called the IBM TotalStorage Productivity Center.
A subset of IBM Spectrum Control was needed for a variety of IBM storage products to support VMware in a consistent manner, so IBM made this available as the "Spectrum Control Base Edition", entitled at no additional charge. Last year, IBM also merged in storage enablement for containerized environments like Docker.
Since "IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition with Storage Enablement for containerized environments" is too long to say, IBM shortened this to "Spectrum Connect". In addition to VMware and Docker support, Spectrum Connect also supports Microsoft PowerShell and IBM Cloud Private.
To learn more, see [One stop integration for storage with IBM Spectrum Connect].
- IBM XIV Gen3 and the FlashSystem A9000/R
In 2016, IBM [announced the IBM FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R] as the official follow-on products for the XIV Gen3.
If you have 11.6.2a microcode on your XIV Gen3, you can now perform Online Volume Migration (OLVM) to FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R systems running 12.2.1 release. This will help clients in their migration efforts.
To learn more, see [A bridge across XIV generations].
Yes, this was a big launch! Send me your thoughts in the comments section below.
technorati tags: IBM, Half Moon Bay, Spectrum NAS, VMware, Hyper-V, open source, SAMBA, SMB, SMB2, SMB3, NFS3, NFS4, Spectrum Control, TotalStorage, Productivity Center, Spectrum Control Base Edition, SCBE, Docker, Microsoft PowerShell, IBM Cloud private, Spectrum Connect, XIV Gen3, FlashSystem A9000, FlashSystem A9000R, Spectrum Virtualize, SVC, FlashSystem V9000, Storwize, Storwize V5000, Storwize V7000
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
Today, IBM announces a complete refresh of its IBM FlashSystem® all-flash array product line.
(FCC Disclosure: I work for IBM. Compression, data footprint reduction, and performance results, based here on internal IBM tests, vary widely by data and workload type. Your mileage may vary. This blog post can be considered a "paid celebrity endorsement".)
- New FlashSystem 900 model AE3
The new AE3 model introduces new Microlatency cards at larger capacities: 3.6, 8.5 and 18 TB. Compare that to the previous model AE2 at 1.2, 2.9 and 5.7 TB.
These capacities are achieved by combining three-dimensional (3D) chip layout with Triple-Level Cell (TLC) transistors, often referred to as 3D-TLC. The previous technology was single-layer 2-dimensional, multi-level cells (MLC).
Last week, at IBM Systems Technical University in New Orleans, Clod Barrera, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Chief Technical Strategist, explained this via an analogy. The 2-dimensional is like a Bungalow. If you want to pack in more people, you need to make the rooms smaller, which is getting more difficult. Alternatively, you could build a multi-story skyscraper, adding more floors relieves pressure to shrink the rooms down.
Triple-level cell holds three bits per transistor. In the past, we had Single-level Cell (SLC) that stored one bit, and Multi-level Cell (MLC) that stored two bits. A future technology, Quad-level Cell (QLC) is not yet ready for production workloads in a datacenter.
The new AE3 models also offer Embedded inline Compression (EiC), with "Always-On" compression being done right on the Microlatency cards. With a fully-loaded 12 card 2U drawer, that is 10+P+S RAID-5 configuration, the amount of effective capacity is drastically increased:
|FlashSystem 900 Model AE3
|2U Drawer (Usable TB)
|2U Drawer (Effective TB) w/EiC
The compression gets 2x to 3.5x on typical data, but your mileage may vary. The small latency cards are capped at 110 TB, and the medium and large at 220 TB effective capacity, to avoid overwhelming the on-board DRAM cache. For clients who need smaller amounts of flash, IBM will continue to sell the AE2 models with 1.2 TB MLC Microlatency cards.
After the compression, the data is encrypted with AES 256-bit encryption. This is same as the previous AE2 models, so nothing changing there.
The EiC compression and encryption do not impact performance. The new Microlatency cards achieve as low as 95 microsecond latency, about 10x faster than traditional Solid-State Drives (SSD) found in Dell EMC XtremIO and Pure Storage competitive offerings, and 40 percent faster than the new NVMe Solid-State drives. A 2U drawer can deliver up to 1.2 million IOPS, slightly more than the AE2 models (1.1 Million IOPS).
To learn more, see [IBM FlashSystem 900 accelerates applications] press release.
- New FlashSystem V9000 AE3 enclosure models
The new FlashSystem V9000 take advantage of the new FlashSystem 900 AE3 models, effectively tripling the usable capacity.
The interesting thing now is compression. Both are hardware-accelerated, with EiC being done on the Flash cards, and Real-time Compression (RtC) being done by the Intel QuickAssist chips in the controllers.
The EiC method works on 4KB blocks, so only gets 2.5x to 3.5x on typical data. The RtC method works on larger 32KB blocks, is therefore able to find more replicated sequence of characters, gets up to 5x ratio, with compressed data in the controller node cache for better cache hit ratios.
However, RtC is limited to only 512 volumes, so admins would run the [Comprestimator tool] and select the cache friendly workloads with the best compression, such as Databases and CAD/CAM images.
With new FlashSystem V9000, you now get the benefits of both. Continue to use RtC for data that is better served with 4x-5x compression, and let EiC compress everything else!
|FlashSystem V9000 model AE3
|Usable (1 drawer) TB
|Usable (8 drawers) TB
Running a typical 70/30 workload, representing 70 percent reads and 30 percent writes, each controller pair can deliver up to 600,000 IOPS. With four V9000 controller pairs clustered together, that is 2.4 Million IOPS. For more read-intensive, cache-friendlier workloads, IBM has clocked the system up to 1.3 million IOPS per controller node-pair, and 5.2 million for a four-pair cluster.
As with the previous model, the FlashSystem V9000 offers "Easy Tier" automatic sub-LUN tiering, and "storage virtualization" to manage both SAS-attached and SAN-attached storage. Over 400 different devices from major vendors are supported. This means that the busiest blocks will be moved up to low-latency Flash, and less active data will be moved to spinning disk.
To learn more, see [IBM FlashSystem V9000 Control Enclosure Model AE3] press release.
- New FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R model 425
As with the FlashSystem V9000, the A9000/R model 425 use the new FlashSystem 900, increasing the effective capacity.
The A9000/R models will continue to do "Data Footprint Reduction" of pattern removal, data deduplication and RtC compression for data to achieve up to 5x compression ratio. However, to improve performance, internal metadata will not be compressed with RtC, allowing the underlying Flash cards to do EiC instead. This reduces CPU workload.
The FlashSystem A9000 model 425, aka "The Pod", has three grid controllers combined with the new FlashSystem 900 model AE3 for compact 8U solution that can store nearly a Petabyte. For smaller deployments, IBM also offers an 8-card partially-filled drawer for lower entry system size.
|A9000 Model 425
|Number of cards/drawer
|Effective @5x TB
The FlashSystem A9000R model 425, aka "The Rack", has two to four grid elements, each grid element has two grid controllers and one FlashSystem 900 AE3 drawer. The previous 415 model supported five and six grid elements, but for now, model 425 is limited to just two, three or four. The A9000R model 425 supports all three Microlatency sizes, whereas the previous 415 model only supported medium (2.9 TB) and large (5.7 TB) sizes.
|FlashSystem A9000R model 425
|Usable (2 elements) TB
|Usable (3 elements) TB
|Usable (4 elements) TB
Performance of both the A9000 and A9000R are based on the number of grid controllers. Each grid controller gets about 300,000 IOPS. The A9000 pod with three controllers gets up to 900,000 IOPS. Each A9000R grid element has two controllers, so 600,000 IOPS per element, with 2.4 million IOPS for a maxed out four-element A9000R rack.
Along with the hardware changes, IBM released version 12.2 of the Spectrum Accelerate software that runs in the FlashSystem A9000/R models.
This version supports Asynchronous mirroring between FlashSystem A9000/R systems and IBM XIV Gen3 storage. The replication can go in either direction, but the intent is to use FlashSystem for production, replicating to XIV Gen3 at a disaster recovery facility. Version 12.2 also increased the number of volumes, snapshots, and consistency groups supported.
- 24,000 volumes and snaps
- 1024 consistency groups, 512 volumes per consistency group
The new version applies to both the new model 425, as well as the previous 415 models!
To learn more, see [IBM FlashSystem A9000 leverages the latest 3D-TLC NAND flash] and [ IBM FlashSystem A9000/R Software V12.2] press releases.
I realize this is a lot to absorb, feel free to read this blog post over and over until it sinks in!
technorati tags: IBM, #AllFlash, All-Flash Array, AFA, FlashSystem, FlashSystem 900, FlashSystem AE2, FlashSystem AE3, Microlatency, 3D-NAND, NAND Flash, 3D-TLC, SLC, MLC, QLC, Clod Barrera, bungalow, skyscraper, Embedded inline Compression, EiC, Always-On Compression, RAID-5, DRAM, FlashSystem V9000, Real-time Compression, RtC, Intel QuickAssist, Comprestimator Tool, Database, CAD/CAM, IOPS, Easy Tier, automatic tiering, FlashSystem 415, FlashSystem 425, FlashSystem A9000, FlashSystem Pod, FlashSystem A9000R, FlashSystem Rack, CPU, Spectrum Accelerate, XIV Gen3, Asynchronous Mirror