Recently we published an IBM Redbooks Solution Guide on Implementing IBM Easy Tier with IBM Real-time Compression.
IBM® Easy Tier® is a performance function that automatically and non-disruptively migrates frequently accessed data from magnetic media to solid-state drives (SSDs). In that way, the most frequently accessed data is stored on the fastest storage tier, and the overall performance is improved.
How does it work
Every volume is split into logical units called extents. Easy Tier is based on algorithms that are developed by IBM Research, which evaluates the access frequency of each extent. Each extent is rated according to the number of I/Os going to that extent. Extents with a high rating, receiving the most I/Os, are marked as “hot” extents and become candidates for migration to SSDs in the same storage pool. Periodically, but no greater than 24 hours, a migration plan is created according to the “heat” of the extents and the data is migrated to the SSD MDisk. When the SSD becomes full, and there is a hotter extent to move onto the SSD, the “cooled” extents are migrated back to the lower-tiered MDisk.
Migrations are typically minimal, and add up to a maximum of two terabytes of data per day. The number of host read and write operations to a specific extent determines the rating of the extents. Only I/Os smaller than 64 KB are considered when determining ‘heat’ to prevent sequential I/O patterns from filling up the SSDs with data that is not likely to be accessed again frequently.
Announced on April 27, 2016 IBM FlashSystem A9000 and IBM FlashSystem A9000R
deliver the microsecond latency and high availability of IBM FlashCore™ technology with grid architecture, simple scalability, and industry-leading IBM software, designed to drive your business into the cognitive era.
Comprehensive data reduction capabilities, including inline deduplication and compression, help lower total cost of ownership,
while a new, highly intuitive user interface simplifies management.
IBM FlashSystem A9000 and IBM FlashSystem A9000R transform technology infrastructure into business innovation.
From a functional standpoint IBM FlashSystem A9000 and IBM FlashSystem A9000R leverage most of the software-defined storage features offered by the IBM Spectrum™ Accelerate software, including multi-tenancy and business continuity functions.
For a quick tour of the systems, refer to the following IBM Redbooks Product guides:
As we made generally available the latest generation of Storwize V7000 available yesterday (for those of you that missed it go here) , it seems timely to point out the research that was performed by Forrester using their Total Economic Impact™ analysis.
Here is the executive summary:
In October 2013, IBM commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study and examinethe potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises may realize by deploying Storwize V7000 with Real-time Compression. The purpose of this study is to provide readers with a framework to evaluate the potential financial impact of Storwize V7000 with Real-time Compression on their organizations.
To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with a Storwize V7000 with Real-time Compression implementation, Forrester interviewed several customers with multiple years of experience using Storwize V7000 with Real-time Compression. Storwize V7000 is a virtualized storage system designed to consolidate block and file workloads into a single storage system for simplified management, reduced cost, scalable capacity, performance, and high availability.
Storwize V7000 with Real-time Compression provides additional levels of storage efficiency through compression of an organization’s primary storage environment. Prior to Storwize V7000 with Real-time Compression, customers had limited storage virtualization and compression technologies within their storage environments. With the rapid growth of their primary storage environments and need for high data availability, there was a requirement to make storage environments more efficient and effective through storage virtualization. With Storwize V7000 with Real-time Compression, customers were able to improve the time it took to provision data, improve staff efficiency, and improve the capital efficiency of their primary storage environments. According to one storage administrator, “Storwize V7000 with Real-time Compression allowed us to transform our storage environment, and shift from reactive to proactive [response] in storage allocation and provisioning.”
These figures translate to benefits of more than $1,581,287 over three years, implementation costs of $742,174, and an NPV of $839,113. With Storwize V7000 with Real-time Compression, average compression rates for primary storage was 65% and the representative organization experienced additional savings in provisioning, hardware, and administration.
If you are interested in finding out more, then download the 22 page PDF:
Here are 5 interesting facts to know about IBM FlashSystem 900:
1. Implement FlashSystem 900 when speed is critical.
IBM FlashSystem 900 is designed to accelerate the applications that drive business. Powered by IBM FlashCore Technology, FlashSystem 900 delivers high performance at lower cost:
90us/155us read/write latency
Up to 1.1 million random read 4 K IOPS
Up to 10 GB/second read bandwidth
2. Employ FlashSystem 900 for high capacity business needs.
IBM FlashSystem 900 has 12 hot-swappable IBM MicroLatency™ storage modules: 1.2 TB. 2.9 TB, and 5.7 TB IBM. This is a 40% increase in capacity per module with up to 10% lower cost per TB over the IBM FlashSystem 840.
3. FlashSystem 900 provides higher density and the same or greater performance than its predecessor.
IBM FlashSystem 900 employs 20nm MLC chips with IBM-enhanced Micron MLC technology for higher storage density and improved endurance.
4. FlashSystem 900 is highly scalable.
FlashSystem 900 is configurable 2.4 - 57 TB of capacity for increased flexibility. Many granular capacity points are possible due to the 3 choices in flash module capacity:
Using feature code AF23 (1.2 TB)
Start with 2.4 TB and grow to 4.8 TB 7.2 TB 9.6 TB, or 12 TB
Using feature code AF24 (2.9 TB)
Start with 5.8 TB and grow to 11.6 TB, 17.4 TB, 23.2 TB, or 29 TB
Using AF25 (5.7 TB)
Start with 11.4 TB and grow to 22.8 TB, 34.2 TB, 45.6 TB, or 57 TB
5. FlashSystem 900 is easy to integrate in VMware environments.
FlashSystem 900 is easy to integrate with VMware VASA via IBM Storage Integrated Server to exploit the following features:
Greater communication between vSphere and FlashSystem
Ability of vSphere to monitor and directly manage FlashSystem allowing greater efficiencies
Integration of VASA Unmap for greater storage efficiency
For more details on the new IBM FlashSystem 900, powered by IBM FlashCore technology, read the IBM Redbooks Product Guide : IBM FlashSystem 900 TIPS1261
Recently announced for the DS8870 , the high-performance flash enclosure (HPFE) is a RAID storage enclosure that can support up to thirty 400 GB encryption capable flash cards (1.8-inch, 46 mm form factor) in a 1U rack space. It is installed in the DS8870 base frame.
The high-performance flash enclosure comes with various capabilities and performance characteristics, as summarized here:
The high-performance flash enclosure delivers up to 250,000 IOPS and up to 3.4 GBps bandwidth in just one EIA (1U) of rack space.
Using high-performance flash enclosures can accelerate database performance by up to four times while still guaranteeing the industry-leading DS8870 availability.
By using high-performance flash enclosures, batch times shrink by up to 10%, therefore reducing impact on production applications.
High-performance flash enclosures can carry up to 12 TB of raw capacity per enclosure.
Flash cards in the high-performance flash enclosure support full drive encryption.
The high-performance flash enclosure is available in the following configurations:
DS8870 Model 961 Enterprise Class or Business Class configuration:
In the Enterprise or Business Class configuration, you can have up to four HPFEs installed vertically in the base frame. The base frame can still accommodate up to 10 standard drive enclosures, populated with either flash drives (SSDs) or spinning drives.
DS8870 Model 961 High Performance All Flash configuration
In the High Performance All Flash configuration, up to 8 HPFEs (four horizontally and four vertically) can be installed in the base frame. A High Performance All Flash configuration has four I/O enclosure pairs installed expanding the number of hosts and maximizing the bandwidth with up to 16 four or eight port Fibre Channel/IBM FICON® host adapters, offering maximum performance and connectivity in a single frame footprint.
“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” Alexander Pope.
Well we are mixing up poetry and Star Wars here today (or tomorrow, if it is already tomorrow where you are), and finish it off with a cryptic message.
Anyway, let's cut to the chase here: a long time ago, in an IBM Redbook far, far away (December 2011), in an effort to get out timely information to the field, the first draft (which was a pre-review version), of the IBM Redbook Implementing the IBM Storwize V7000 V6.3, SG24-7938-01, contained the following statement in error:
“Thin-provisioned volumes require additional I/O operation to read and write metadata to the internal disks or to the back‑end storage, which adds additional load to the IBM Storwize V7000 nodes. We therefore do not recommend the use of these volumes for high performance applications, or any workload with a high write I/O component.”
All 'fine-grained' implementations, like Thin Provisioning, require the recording of metadata to provide the virtual to physical mapping. At some point this metadata may have to be read or written, and so additional I/O may be required. This is the same for any vendor’s implementation.
The SVC/Storwize implementation includes intelligent caching of metadata to minimize the need to read and write from disk, and hence can be, and is, constantly being used worldwide very effectively with high-performance, Tier-1 data. In fact IBM has published independent performance benchmarks from the Storage Performance Council organization which show essentially the same performance results for the IBM SVC product (which has the same OS base as the Storwize storage family) with and without Thin Provisioning.
So why do we mention this? Well apparently, there is some FUD being spread around by one of our competitors that has latched on to our errata that we are more than happy to correct, well, corrected almost two years ago now !
It's a bit of a sauce really, as we say in the UK.
As 2013 draws to a close and travel gets harder as 4Q rapidly approaches, I have decided to try something a little different (yes, yes, I know we have done it in the past but normally only after some on-site attendance has taken place) and I am going to consider/pilot remote participation for some applicants for my residencies until year end.
REMOTE PARTICIPATION: For especially well qualified candidates who are not able to participate on-site, and are familiar with, or willing to take a FrameMaker education session, and can demonstrate an ability to work remotely, we will accept applications. Clearly state this on the application.
Naturally we will not compromise our high standards from either a subject matter expert standpoint, nor from a writing standpoint. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate that they are SMEs (ie. they meet the stated requirements of the residency), attend FrameMaker education, and demonstrate that they can pass a "skills" test for FrameMaker.
The expectation is that you devote the same amount of time to the residency as if you were on-site (unless agreed otherwise) and take part in as many discussions as timezones allow.
We are currently accepting applications for an exciting opportunity to join us in IBM Manchester Labs, UK, starting May 13th for 6 weeks !
This will be a residency to work on the IBM Storwize V3700 book update, and create a new book detailing new
product enhancements and features. This will involve extensive hands-on work based in the same building as some of the developers.
Starting with IBM Storwize Family Software V7.2, including IBM SAN Volume Controller, we introduced native replication over IP networks. As this IBM Redpaper describes, you will see that it is easy to configure in an existing IP infrastructure. This is a lower-cost alternative to the Fibre Channel-based and FCoE-based replication, and by having it within the software itself, it can eliminate the need for FCIP routers and dark fibre.
This native IP replication addition allows us to:
Accelerate the flow of data
Maximize the capacity of the pipe
Optimize multiple connections with Artificial Intelligence
By placing the IP replication function in the Storwize Family Software, server CPU and management overhead is freed up, and a single point of replication control is available for all server types.
Native IP replication uses the Ethernet ports introduced in V7.2.
In this paper we show how to configure the IP partnership, create remote copy relationships and consistency groups, and easily move between the three flavors of replication: synchronous, asynchronous and asynchronous using change volumes.
We cover configuration guidelines, restrictions, and best practices as well as some basics of what the integrated SANSlide function provides.
While bimbling around in developerWorks the other day I stumbled across something that I had long forgotten about. Well I am not entirely sure that I had ever seen it but I like to convince myself I know what is going on !
Anyway, sometimes we get spoiled in IBM having access to development at the click of a button so there is usually no need for us to utilize any other means to start a dialogue with them. Of course there are user groups, focus groups, informal and formal networks, social media, and so on, that can connect you a lot quicker to IBM teams than the old days, but it is often the case that you have a great idea that you would like to increase the visibility of and, better still, see what your peers and the developers think of it.
This is where the IBM Request for Enhancement process may help.
If you feel you are on the "outside" and wanted to submit a request for enhancement to a product, then here are a couple of very useful links:
This Redguide publication explains how the Tarmin™ GridBank Data Management Platform™ transforms the way organizations manage, scale, search, and gain value from unstructured data by uniting application, information, and storage tiers into a single, integrated data centric management architecture. There is also a focus on how well IBM XIV® storage systems (infrastructure designed for Big Data Analytics and cloud ready) fit into the GridBank architecture for solving current storage management challenges. Together Tarmin GridBank and IBM XIV can tame the data beast.
Tarmin, Inc. is a global pioneer of Data Defined Storage, a next generation data management platform focused on data accessibility and the value of information as a strategic business enabler. The Tarmin solutions presented in this Redguide address the following storage challenges:
Data Growth: Exponential unstructured data growth driving up cost and management overhead
Data Silos: Limited access to data between business units, locations and hardware
Data Risk: Increasingly stringent regulatory and legal compliance mandates
Data Protection: Multiple solutions required for disaster prevention, retention and immutability
Data Discovery: Restricted search capability across massively complex data repositories
Data Value: Storage is seen as a cost center versus a strategic business enabler
Figure 2 illustrates Oil and Gas Exploration and Production configuration use case. The Redguide also shows examples of Financial Services and Education use cases. I am sure these examples will generate many more ideas and examples of using grid-based solutions to solve current storage challenges.
Figure 2 Example of Oil and Gas Exploration and Production configuration
IBM Spectrum Control Storage Insights (IBM Storage Insights, for short) is a cloud-based offering designed for small and medium businesses and organizations. It helps you quickly understand what is happening in your storage environment without implementing complex tools.
Storage Insights provides a web interface with a dashboard that quickly lets you quickly access your information.
It can be set up in less than 5 minutes and provides actionable insights about your storage in less than 30 minutes.
The TS4500, IBM delivers the density that today’s and tomorrow’s data growth requires—along with the cost efficiency and the manageability to grow with business data needs while preserving existing investments in IBM tape library products. Now, organizations can achieve both a low cost per terabyte (TB) and a high TB density per square foot. In fact, TS4500 can store up to 5.5 PBs of data in a single 10 square foot library frame, more than three times more capacity than the IBM TS3500 tape library. Here an image of the minimum and maximum TS4500 tape library configurations.
If your data center is running out space the TS4500 tape library with TS1150 tape drives can give you tremendous floor space savings to handle storing Big Data files, archives and backups.
LTFS EE supports the TS4500 tape library with TS1150 tape drives.