Tony Pearson is a Master Inventor and Senior IT Architect for the IBM Storage product line at the
IBM Systems Client Experience Center in Tucson Arizona, and featured contributor
to IBM's developerWorks. In 2016, Tony celebrates his 30th year anniversary with IBM Storage. 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.
(Short URL for this blog: ibm.co/Pearson )
My books are available on Lulu.com! Order your copies today!
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Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements!
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM, and have either written code and/or presented the DS8000 storage system and Spectrum Storage products in my professional capacity. This blog post can be considered a "paid celebrity endorsement" for the IBM DS8000 Storage System and Spectrum Storage software.)
IBM DS8880 and DS8880F Storage Systems
For those not up on the DS8000 nomenclature, here's a quick recap:
DS8880 supports a hybrid mix of Flash cards, SSD, 15K, 10K and 7200 rpm drives.
This includes the DS8884 and DS8886. The Flash cards are held in High Performance Flash Enclosures (HPFE) directly attached to the controllers, whereas the SSD and spinning disk are in shelves connected via the Device Adapters.
DS8880F is an all-flash array, with Flash cards only in HPFE. This includes the DS8884F, DS8886F and DS8888F models.
DS8880/F is convenient shorthand to refer to both the hybrid and all-flash models collectively.
Today, IBM announces new 7.68TB flash cards for the High Performance Flash Enclosures of the IBM DS8880/F. These are double the capacity of the 3.84TB cards currently available, doubling the total capacity to 368.6TB per HPFE.
Different DS8880 models support a different number of HPFE. An HPFE is a pair of 2U drawers, holding a total of 48 flash cards. You can purchase flash in groups of 16 cards, with the option to mix and match within the HPFE. For example, you can have 16 cards at the 1.6TB capacity, 16 cards with 3.68TB and 16 cards of the new 7.68TB capacity, all in a single HPFE.
The new 7.68TB support 1 Drive Write Per Day (DWPD). Some people call these "Read-Intensive" drives, but IBM refers to them as "High-Capacity Drives", to differentiate them from the "High Performance Drives" that support 10 DWPD.
In reality, the read performance is similar in both types of Flash cards offered, but the write performance is slightly slower for the High-Capacity drives due in part to additional garbage collection performed in the background. Our studies found that over 90 percent of workloads might find the High-Capacity drives good enough to handle I/O requirements.
IBM Easy Tier was updated to distinguish between High-Performance and High-Capacity flash cards, so that blocks of data that have higher or lower I/O characteristics will be relocated to the appropriate level of storage.
The newest level of IBM Spectrum Storage Suite simplifies procurement by bringing together the latest releases of the following software:
IBM Spectrum Accelerate V11
IBM Spectrum Archive Enterprise Edition V1 (Linux edition)
IBM Spectrum Control Advanced Edition V5
IBM Spectrum Protect Suite V8 (including Spectrum Protect Plus!)
IBM Spectrum Scale Data Management Edition V5
IBM Spectrum Virtualize Software for SAN Volume Controller V8 (including FlashCopy and Remote Mirror, Real-time Compression and Encryption Software)
IBM Spectrum Virtualize Software-only V8
IBM Cloud Object Storage System V3
Instead of buying software products separately, a single license enables administrators to deploy IBM Spectrum Storage Suite software when and where they need it, without having to wait. Simplified capacity pricing can significantly reduce software costs and time spent on license management.
The Spectrum Storage suite also offers a "sandbox" approach for try-and-buy. Since you have access to all the software listed, you can set up a sandbox to experiment with the functionality, without having to pay for the added capacity, until you deploy it to dev/test, quality assurance, or production.
The suite is licensed per 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
The two terms sound similar and represent nearly the same quantity within 10 percent of each other, so it is understandable when people mistakenly use the terms interchangeably.
From farm to fork, IBM Food Trust platform is a collaborative network of growers, processors, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, retailers and others enhancing visibility and accountability in each step of the food supply.
Powered by the IBM Blockchain Platform on IBM servers and storage systems, IBM Food Trust directly connects participants through a permissioned, permanent and shared record of food origin details, processing data, shipping details and more.
(This reminds me of a funny story: the man sitting next to me on my flight back from an IBM Systems conference in New Orleans asked me, "You look familiar. Didn't I see you at the conference this week?" I responded "Yes, were you there for the "server" or "storage" side?" He thought about it for a while, and said "I guess the server side". "Too bad", I replied, "I am on the storage side."
It took us a while, but I realized he worked in the food and restaurant industry, and that he was at a completely different conference. It happened to also have both a "server" and "storage" side!)
The IBM Food Trust platform provides new levels of transparency, quicker recalls, better standardized communication and protection of brand value. As an authorized user, you have immediate access to shared, actionable food supply data through integrated IBM Blockchain-powered modules for faster traceability and more confidence in provenance.
Today, IBM announces new services to enable clients to successfully connect to and make use of the IBM Food Trust Platform.
This week, May 14-18, is Business Continuity Awareness Week!
This worldwide event, sponsored by the [Business Continuity Institute], promotes education and awareness designed to increase our understanding of business continuity, teach clients on ways to understand and manage IT and business risks, and introduce new techniques and technologies designed to minimize and even to eliminate business and personal disruption.
IBM is actively involved. Monday starts off with opening statements by Andrea Sayles, IBM General Manager of Resiliency Services, and Michael Puldy, IBM Director of Global Business Continuity Management.
The event offers a variety of online webinars, as well as a wealth of educational resources.
Well, it's Tuesday again, and you know what that means? IBM Announcements! There were a lot of IBM Power System announcements on Tuesday, so the IBM Power team asked us to wait until Thursday to post about all of the IBM storage announcements, to avoid overwhelming excitement levels with the press and analysts.
(FTC Disclosure: I work for IBM. I have either worked on the code, developed marketing materials, and/or represented each of the products below in my professional capacity. This blog post can be considered a "paid celebrity endorsement")
A few months ago, IBM re-factored its internals. Spectrum Virtualize will continue to support its legacy storage pools, but also offered "Data Reduction Pools", or "DR pools" for short. At the time, this supported only Thin Provisioning and Compression. See fellow blogger Barry Whyte's post on [Data Reduction Pools] for more details.
Spectrum Virtualize 8.1.3 release now adds Data Duplication and RESTful API support for the Spectrum Virtualize family, including SAN Volume Controller, FlashSystem V9000 and Storwize products. These features also apply to Spectrum Virtualize as software only, and to Spectrum Virtualize for the Public Cloud.
Data Deduplication is a form of data footprint reduction. Like the deduplication in Spectrum Protect and FlashSystem A9000/R products, Spectrum Virtualize will use SHA1 hash codes to identify duplicate 8K blocks. If the hash code of the block about to be written does not match any existing hash code previously written to the cluster, it is considered unique data.
Legacy storage pools supported three kinds of volumes: fully-allocated, thin-provisioned, and compressed-thin volumes. The new DR pools support five kinds: fully-allocated, thin-provisioned, deduped-thin, compressed-thin, and deduped-compressed-thin volumes.
The new deduplication feature is included at no additional charge with the base Spectrum Virtualize license.
The RESTful API enables storage admins to easily automate common tasks with industry-standard tools. RestAPI support is available to interface with the command-line interface (CLI), create vDisk volumes and generate views normally available through the CLI, and secure authentication to the IBM Spectrum Virtualize family.
The SAN Volume Controller, FlashSystem V9000 and Storwize family now also support 12TB drives for internal storage. These are 7200 rpm 3.5 inch drives that can be in the 2U 12-bay or 5U 92-bay expansion drawers, or directly in the 12-bay Storwize controllers. Spectrum Virtualize 7.8.1 is the minimum level to support these high-capacity disks.
IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud, available on IBM Cloud, has been enhanced to support a full eight node cluster (four node-pairs, or "I/O Groups" as they are called). This can be used as a target for remote mirror from your Spectrum Virtualize cluster on premises.
IBM offers data footprint reduction, high availability, and technical refresh guarantee programs for these products. See Ernie Pitt's blog post on [Peace of Mind with IBM Storage].
IBM Spectrum Scale 5.0 is highly scalable file and object storage system. It is available as software, pre-built appliances, and in the Cloud.
The pre-built appliances are called "Elastic Storage Server", combining Spectrum Scale software on two IBM Power servers with drawers of flash or disk drives.
IBM introduces two new "Hybrid" models to the ESS family. GH14 has one 2U drawer with 24 Solid State Drives (SSD) combined with four 5U drawers with 7200rpm spinning disk. The GH2R has two 2U drawers with four 5U drawers.
Like the GS models, the SSD are either 3.84TB or 15.3TB capacities. The 5U drawers are similar to those in the GL models, either 4TB, 8TB or 10TB capacities.
A new Enterprise Slim Rack (S42) is now available to hold these. The S42 is available for all ESS orders, including the GS, GL and new GH models.
IBM has shortened the name of "Spectrum Control Storage Insights" to just "Storage Insights" and made it available in two flavors: Storage Insights, and Storage Insights Pro.
Storage Insights is a no-cost cloud Artificial Intelligence (AI) service that provides common monitoring capabilities to all of your IBM block-level storage, including IBM FlashSystem, SAN Volume Controller (SVC), Storwize, DS8000 models and IBM XIV Storage Systems. Here are some of the capabilities offered:
View the health, performance, and capacity of all your IBM-supported devices from a single place
Filter storage device events to help you focus on the things that require your immediate attention
Act on predictive insights provided by device intelligence before anomalies have an impact on service levels
Use actionable data you get to resolve more issues on your own
Open and view IBM support tickets
Enable IBM Support to automatically collect log packages with no interaction with the client
IBM Storage Insights Pro includes everything in Storage Insights as well as these additional capabilities. This is a fee-based cloud service, licensed per TiB per month, for the added functionality:
Business impact analysis
Data placement optimization with tier planning
Capacity optimization with reclamation planning
Supports file and object storage, including IBM Spectrum Scale, Elastic Storage Server (ESS), and IBM Cloud Object Storage (IBM COS)
Both Storage Insights and Storage Insights Pro use a "data collector" that runs on premises. This can be any bare metal server or Virtual Machine running Windows, Linux or AIX operating system connected to the SAN, with access to the Internet to upload the data to the IBM Cloud.
If you have IBM block storage today, there is no reason not to try this out. You can download the "data collector" and start using Storage Insights right away. If you like it, consider upgrading to Storage Insights Pro, or the full on-premise Spectrum Control product.
This session had four parts. First, an overview of "Data Footprint Reduction" technologies, like compression, data deduplication, space-efficient snapshots and thin provisioning.
Second, a look at how these technologies can get storage administrators in trouble. Much like airlines selling more tickets than seats on the airplane, storage administrators may over-provision based on data reduction estimates, and then suddenly run out of storage capacity.
Third, an overview of IBM FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R products, often referred to as "A9000/R" to cover both as a family. These models offer data footprint reduction for all data.
Finally, I explain how the Hyper-Scale Manager GUI can help with reporting and analytics to avoid these risks. This GUI is available for the FlashSystem A9000/R, as well as XIV Gen3 and Spectrum Accelerate software clusters.
Special thanks to Rivka Matosevich for her help in preparing this presentation.
The Pendulum Swings: Understanding Converged and Hyperconverged Integrated Systems
With IBM's partnership with Cisco for VersaStack, and Nutanix for the IBM Power systems, this has become a particularly popular topic.
I started with an overview of the last 50 years of storage evolution, from internal storage and external storage to NAS and SAN storage networks. An estimated 96 percent of the storage in corporate data centers are connected via NAS or SAN networks.
More recently, people have been willing to give up all those gains for something simpler, less powerful, less reliable, less expensive. Enter Converged and Hyperconverged Systems. IBM PureApplication and VersaStack lead the pack for Converged Systems, along with IBM Spectrum Scale, Spectrum Accelerate and Nutanix on IBM Power Systems for Hyperconverged Integrated Systems.
We had 1,600 attendees, much higher than expected. This is a good sign, when you consider IBM just had its "Think 2018" conference last March, and Dell EMC had their big conference the same week in Las Vegas.
When people asked me what was the main difference between "Think 2018" and "IBM Technical University", I explain it as follows:
Think 2018 is a big conference focused on uni-directional communication. IBM executives present the corporate line repeatedly to large audiences. Its size and scale means they can have big name bands and celebrity speakers.
IBM Technical University is a smaller conference focused on bi-directional communication. Audiences are small and encouraged to ask questions. Demos, Labs and Meetups allow for conversations with IBM technical experts. There are no crowds in the hallways to hamper ad-hoc side conversations. The IBM speakers listen to the clients concerns and bring that feedback to development.
This week, I am in Orlando, Florida for the [IBM Technical University], with focus on IBM storage, IBM Z mainframes and IBM Power servers. This is my recap for Day 3 breakout sessions.
VersaStack for Containers: IBM Cloud Private and Spectrum Access
Chris Vollmar, IBM Canada, presented all day today. In this session, he explained how "Spectrum Access" was not a product, but rather a blueprint of best practices on how to install the IBM Cloud Private and Spectrum Connect software on the VersaStack solution.
Leveraging IBM Cloud Object Storage for z/OS
Louis Hanna, IBM Z Software, presented this session. I was expecting it to either cover the DS8000 Transparent Cloud Tiering, or direct access to IBM Cloud Object Storage, but it turns out neither!
Instead, Louis talked about [IBM Cloud Tape Connector for z/OS], which mimics tape drive interfaces that can be used to move disk and tape data to a public cloud, or to IBM Cloud Object Storage on premises.
Information Lifecycle Management: Why Archive is Different than Backup
Can you believe there are still companies out there keeping backup tapes for seven years and pretending that this meets their long-term retention requirements?
What happens when you try to recover those tapes, and you need the right server, the right operating system, and the right application software to make sense of it all?
Backups should not be used in this manner. Rather, backups are to recover from recent hardware failure or data corruption only. If you have are keeping backups longer than 90 days, you are probably doing something wrong.
Archiving, on the other hand, is an intelligent process for managing inactive or infrequently accessed data, that still has value, while providing the ability to preserve, search and retrieve the information during a specified retention period.
However, some of the product names have changed, so I thought it would be good to do a fresh update on this topic for this conference.
Becoming the person you published on LinkedIn
Frank Degilio, IBM Distinguished Engineer, presented this "Career Development" session. IBM Technical University is not just for technical education, it also offers sessions of general interest to help round out personal skills.
Frank explained that to rise the corporate ranks, you need to learn to communicate, to collaborate, and to network with others. Technical workers should be "T-shaped", with the top part of the letter "T" representing broad, general skills, and the lower part representing deep technical skills in a specific area.
You can follow along with Twitter hashtag #IBMtechU, or follow me at @az990tony.