The sixth generation of IBM Easy Tier, provides support for the flash cards in the new High-performance flash enclosure, announced for the DS8870 with microcode Release 7.3 (General Availability scheduled for June 6, 2014) . The use of flash cards and the flash storage enclosure in the DS8870 provides up to three and a half times the performance of current flash drives (SSDs).
All previously announced IBM Easy Tier functions apply to the new flash cards, including manual volume migration, automated sub-volume data relocation to help optimize price and performance, automated performance rebalancing within drive tiers (in both single tier and multi-tier drive pools), hotspot management, rank depopulation, and Easy Tier Application interfaces.
Easy Tier remains available at no charge.
Drive Classes (Flash, Enterprise and Nearline)
Currently, Easy Tier supports up to three drive classes or storage tiers that can be configured in the same DS8870:
- Tier 0 or Flash tier. Contains flash cards and flash drives (SSDs). This class is the highest performance drive class currently available
- Tier 1 or Enterprise tier. Contains the Enterprise drives (15k or 10k rpm): This class is the high-performance drive class.
- Tier 2 or Nearline tier. Contains the Nearline drives ( 7.2k rpm). This class is the low-cost, large capacity, storage drive class.
New flash cards - Tier 0
The new 400 GB Flash cards along with existing 200 GB, 400GB and 800 GB flash drives (SSDs) are considered as part of Tier 0. Both types of drives offer a number of potential benefits over spinning drives, including better IOPS, lower power consumption, less heat generation, and lower acoustical noise. However the flash cards offer even higher throughput thanks to the flash RAID adapters in the high-performance flash enclosure and direct PCIe connections to the DS8870 processor complexes.
IBM Easy Tier intra-tiering auto-rebalance and micro-tiering features are exploited to distribute the workload among traditional flash drives and flash cards according to their IOPS capacity within the highest storage tier (Tier 0).
For more details, refer to the recently updated IBM DS8000 Easy Tier Redpaper (draft) , REDP-4667