Looks like fellow blogger and arch nemesis BarryB from EMC is once again stirring up trouble, this time he focuses his attention on IBM's leadership in Solid State Disk (SSD) on the IBM System Storage DS8000 disk systems in his post [IBM's amazing splash dance, part deux
], a follow-up to [IBM's amazing splash dance
] and multi-vendor tirade [don't miss the amazing vendor flash dance
(Note: IBM [Guidelines] prevent me from picking blogfights, so this post is only to set the record straight on some misunderstandings, point to some positive press about IBM's leadership in this area, and for me to provide a different point of view.)
First, let's set the record straight on a few things. The [RedPaper is still in draft form] under review, and so some information has not yet been updated to reflect the current situation.
- You can have 16 or 32 SSD per DA pair. However, you can only have a maximum of 128 SSD drives total in any DS8100 or DS8300. In the case of the IBM DS8300 with 8 DA pairs, it makes more senseto spread the SSD out across all 8 pairs, and perhaps this is what confused BarryB.
- Yes, you can order an all-SSD model of the IBM DS8000 disk system. I don't see anywhere in the RedPaper that suggests otherwise, and I have confirmed with our offering manager that this is the case.
- The 73GB and 146GB are freshly manufactured from STEC. The 146GB drive and 200GB drives are actually the same drive but just formatted differently. The 200GB format does not offer as much spare capacity for wear-leveling, and are therefore intended only for read-intensive workloads. (Perhaps EMC wants you to find this out the hard way so that you replace them more often???) These reduced-spare-capacity formats may not be appropriate with some write-intensive workloads. Don't let anyone from EMC try to misrepresent the 73GB or 146GB drives from STEC as older, obsolete, collecting dust in a warehouse, or otherwise no longer manufactured by STEC.
- You can relocate data from HDD to SSD using "Data Set FlashCopy", a feature that does not involve host-based copy services, does not consume any MIPS on your System z mainframe, and is performed inside the DS8000 disk system. You can also use host-based copy services as well, but it is not the only way.
- You can use any supported level of z/OS with SSD in the IBM DS8000. There is ENHANCED support mentioned in the RedPaper that you get only with z/OS 1.8 and above, allowing you to create automation policies that place data sets onto SSD or non-SSD storage pools. This synergy makes SSD with IBM DS8000 superior to the initial offerings that EMC had offered without this OS support.
I find it amusing that BarryB's basic argument is that IBM's initial release of SSD disk on DS8000 is less than what the potential architecture could be extended to support much more. Actually, if you look at EMC's November release of Atmos, as well as their most recent announcement of V-Max, they basically say the same thing "Stay Tuned, this is just our initial release, with various restrictions and limitations, but more will follow." Architecturally, IBM DS8000 could support a mix of SSD and non-SSD on the same DA pairs, could support RAID6 and RAID10 as well, and could support larger capacity drives or use higher-capacity read-intensive formats. These could all be done via RPQ if needed, or in a follow-on release.
BarryB's second argument is that IBM is somehow "throwing cold water" on SSD technology. That somehow IBM is trying to discourage people from using SSD by offering disk systems with this technology. IBM offered SSD storage on BladeCenter servers LONG BEFORE any EMC disk system offering, and IBM continues to innovate in ways that allow the best business value of this new technology. Take for example this 24-page IBM Technical Brief:[IBM System z® and System Storage DS8000:Accelerating the SAP® Deposits Management Workload With Solid State Drives]. It is full of example configurations that show that SSD on IBM DS8000 can help in practical business applications. IBM takes a solution view, and worked with DB2, DFSMS, z/OS, High Performance FICON (zHPF), and down the stack to optimize performance to provide real business value innovation. Thanks to this synergy,IBM can provide 90 percent of the performance improvement with only 10 percent of the SSD disk capacity as EMC offerings. Now that's innovative!
The price and performance differences between FC and SATA (what EMC was mostly used to) is only 30-50 percent. But the price and performance differences between SSD and HDD is more than an order of magnitude in some cases 10-30x, similar to the differences between HDD and tape. Of course, if you want hybrid solutions that take best advantage of SSD+HDD, it makes more sense to go to IBM, the leading storage vendor that has been doing HDD+Tape hybrid solutions for the past 30 years. IBM understands this better, and has more experience dealing with these orders of magnitude than EMC.
But don't just take my word for it. Here is an excerpt from Jim Handy, from [Objective Analysis] market research firm, in a recent Weekly Review from [Pund-IT] (Volume 5, Issue 23--May 6, 2009):
"What about IBM? One thing that we are finding is that IBM really “Gets It” in the area offlash in the data center. Readers of the Pund-IT Review will not only recall that IBM Researchpushed its SSD-based “Quicksilver” storage system to one million IOPS using Fusion-ioflash-based storage, but they also may have noticed that the recent MySQL and mem-cachedappliances recently introduced by Schooner Information Technology are both flash-enableddevices introduced in partnership with IBM. Ironically, while other OEMs are takingthe cautious approach of introducing a standard SSD option to their systems first, IBM appearsto have been working on several approaches simultaneously to bring flash to thedata center not only in SSDs, but in innovative ways as well."
As for why STEC put out a press release on their own this week without a corresponding IBM press release, I can only say that IBM already announced all of this support back in February, and I blogged about it in my post [Dynamic Infrastructure - Disk Announcements 1Q09]. This is not the first time one of IBM's suppliers has tried to drum up business in this manner. Intel often funds promotions for IBM System x servers (the leading Intel-based servers in the industry) to help drive more business for their Xeon processor.
So, BarryB, perhaps its time for you to take out your green pen and work up another one of your all-too-common retraction and corrections.[Read More]
Continuing my ongoing discussion on Solid State Disk (SSD), fellow blogger BarryB (EMC) points out in his [latest post
Oh – and for the record TonyP, I don't think I ever said EMC was using a newer or different EFDs than IBM. I just asserted that EMC knows more than IBM about these EFDs and how they actually work a storage array under real-world workloads.
(Here "EFD" is refers to "Enterprise Flash Drive", EMC's marketing term for Single Layer Cell (SLC) NAND Flash non-volatile solid-state storage devices. Both IBM and EMC have been selling solid-state storage for quite some time now, but EMC felt that a new term was required to distinguish the SLC NAND Flash devices sold in their disk systems from solid-state devices sold in laptops or blade servers. The rest of the industry, including IBM, continues to use the term SSD to refer to these same SLC NAND Flash devices that EMC is referring to.)
The disagreement resulted from his earlier statement from his post[IBM's amazing...part deux]:
Although STEC asserts that IBM is using the latest ZeusIOPS drives, IBM is only offering the 73GB and 146GB STEC drives (EMC is shipping the latest ZeusIOPS drives in 200GB and 400GB capacities for DMX4 and V-Max, affording customers a lower $/GB, higher density and lower power/footprint per usable GB.)
Here is where I enjoy the subtleties between marketing and engineering. Does the above seem like he is saying EMC is using newer or different drives? What are typical readers expected to infer from the statement above?
- That there are four different drives from STEC, in four different capacities. In the HDD world, drives of different capacities are often different, and larger capacities are often newer than those of smaller capacities.
- That the 200GB and 400GB are the latest drives, and that 73GB and 146GB drives are not the latest.
- That STEC press release is making false or misleading claims.
Uncontested, some readers might infer the above and come to the wrong conclusions. I made an effort to set the record straight. I'll summarize with a simple table:
|Raw capacity||128 GB||256 GB||512 GB|
|Usable (conservative format)||73 GB||146 GB||300 GB|
|Usable (aggressive format)||100 GB||200 GB||400 GB|
So, we all agree now that the 256GB drives that are formatted as 146GB or 200GB are in fact the same drives, that IBM and EMC both sell the latest drives offered by STEC, and that the STEC press release was in fact correct in its claims.
I also wanted to emphasize that IBM chose the more conservative format on purpose. BarryB [did the math himself] and proved my key points:
- Under some write-intensive workloads, an aggressive format may not last the full five years. (But don't worry, BarryB assures us that EMC monitors these drives and replaces them when they fail within the five years under their warranty program.)
- Conservative formats with double the spare capacity happen to have roughly double the life expectancy.
I agree with BarryB that an aggressive format can offer a lower $/GB than the conservative format. Cost-conscious consumers often look for less-expensive alternatives, and are often willing to accept less-reliable or shorter life expectancy as a trade-off. However, "cost-conscious" is not the typical EMC targeted customer, who often pay a premiumfor the EMC label. To compensate, EMC offers RAID-6 and RAID-10 configurations to provide added protection. With a conservative format, RAID-5 provides sufficient protection.
(Just so BarryB won't accuse me of not doing my own math, a 7+P RAID-5 using conservative format 146GB drives would provide 1022GB of capacity, versus 4+4 RAID-10 configuration using aggressive format 200GB drives only 800GB total.)
In an ideal world, you the consumer would know exactly how many IOPS your application will generate over the next five years, exactly how much capacity you will require, be offered all three drives in either format to choose from, and make a smart business decision. Nothing, however, is ever this simple in IT.
technorati tags: IBM, SSD, EMC, EFD, SLC, NAND, Flash, disk, storage systems, life expectancy, reliability, capacity, Barry Burke, STEC, IOPS
My post last week [Solid State Disk on DS8000 Disk Systems
] kicked up some dust in the comment section.Fellow blogger BarryB (a member of the elite [Anti-Social Media gang from EMC
]) tried to imply that 200GB solid state disk (SSD) drives were different or better than the 146GB drives used in IBM System Storage DS8000 disk systems. I pointed out that they are the actual same physical drive, just formatted differently.
To explain the difference, I will first have to go back to regular spinning Hard Disk Drives (HDD). There are variances in manufacturing, so how do you make sure that a spinning disk has AT LEAST the amount of space you are selling it as? The solution is to include extra. This is the same way that rice, flour, and a variety of other commodities are sold. Legally, if it says you are buying a pound or kilo of flour, then it must be AT LEAST that much to be legal labeling. Including some extra is a safe way to comply with the law. In the case of disk capacity, having some spare capacity and the means to use it follows the same general concept.
(Disk capacity is measured in multiples of 1000, in this case a Gigabyte (GB) = 1,000,000,000 bytes, not to be confused with [Gibibyte (GiB)] = 1,073,741,824 bytes, based on multiples of 1024.)
Let's say a manufacturer plans to sell 146GB HDD. We know that in some cases there might be bad sectors on the disk that won't accept written data on day 1, and there are other marginally-bad sectors that might fail to accept written data a few years later, after wear and tear. A manufacturer might design a 156GB drive with 10GB of spare capacity and format this with a defective-sector table that redirects reads/writes of known bad sectors to good ones. When a bad sector is discovered, it is added to the table, and a new sector is assigned out of the spare capacity.Over time, the amount of space that a drive can store diminishes year after year, and once it drops below its rated capacity, it fails to meet its legal requirements. Based on averages of manufacturing runs and material variances, these could then be sold as 146GB drives, with a life expectancy of 3-5 years.
With Solid State Disk, the technology requires a lot of tricks and techniques to stay above the rated capacity. For example, you can format a 256GB drive as a conservative 146GB usable, with an additional 110GB (75 percent) spare capacity to handle all of the wear-leveling. You could lose up to 22GB of cells per year, and still have the rated capacity for the full five-year life expectancy.
Alternatively, you could take a more aggressive format, say 200GB usable, with only 56GB (28 percent) of spare capacity. If you lost 22GB of cells per year, then sometime during the third year, hopefully under warranty, your vendor could replace the drive with a fresh new one, and it should last the rest of the five year time frame. The failed drive, having 190GB or so usable capacity, could then be re-issued legally as a refurbished 146GB drive to someone else.
The wear and tear on SSD happens mostly during erase-write cycles, so for read-intensive workloads, such as boot disks for operating system images, the aggressive 200GB format might be fine, and might last the full five years.For traditional business applications (70 percent read, 30 percent write) or more write-intensive workloads, IBM feels the more conservative 146GB format is a safer bet.
This should be of no surprise to anyone. When it comes to the safety, security and integrity of our client's data, IBM has always emphasized the conservative approach.[Read More]
Wrapping up my week in Seattle, Washington, I presented at a[Dynamic Infrastructure
] client event. This is the third one in a six-city tour. I will not be at the remaining cities next week, as I will be at the [Forrester IT Forum 2009 Conference
] instead in Las Vegas, Nevada.
|Rather than hold this in IBM's Kirkland facility, we chose to have this instead at the [Chateau Ste. Michelle] winery, which was just a few miles away in Woodinville.|
The weather was a perfect match to pair with the information we presented. Clear sky in the low 70s.
This was a typical roadshow event, serve breakfast, meet everyone, have four main-tent sessions, answer questions, then finish with a nice lunch. Here was the speaker line-up:
- Jerry Mixon presented IBM Global Services to help customers improve service, reduce costs and manage risk.
- Steve Loeschorn presented the latest on IBM System x and BladeCenter offerings. Steve showed how IBM'sSystem x servers were more energy efficient than x86 servers from HP and Dell.
- Michael Middleton presented the latest from IBM POWER® systems. Michael had some interesting statisticsthat showed IBM's AIX operating system to be more reliable than Sun Solaris, HP-UX, andMicrosoft Windows. Based on a study of 400 companies, AIX averaged only 36 minutes of downtime per year.
- Tony Pearson (that's me, in case you forgot already, writing in the third person) presented IBM's [Information Infrastructure strategy], with highlights of [XIV], [TS7650 ProtecTIER], and [N series] storage systems.
Next week, Las Vegas!
technorati tags: IBM, Dynamic Infrastructure, Seattle, Washington, Kirkland, Woodinville, Global Services, System x, BladeCenter, HP, Dell, POWER systems, AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, improve service, reduce costs, manage risk, XIV, TS7650, TS7650G, ProtecTIER, N series
Continuing my blog coverage of the [Forrester IT Forum 2009 conference
],I finally catch up with some keynote sessions this morning. Here's my recap on the rest of the main tent general session keynote presentations from BP, Microsoft and CFIL.
- Dana Deasy, CIO and Group VP, Information Technology and Services (IT&S), BP
Dana presented "The gift we’ve been given – reinventing the IT organization". He is the CIO of BP, an energy company that made over 360 billion dollars selling oil and gas. In fact, it is the fourth largest company in the world, with 92,000 employees in more than 100 countries. Back in 2007, business was good but the senior management team felt that IT needed to be straightened out.Dana was brought in as a "fresh thinking" outsider, managing a group 4000 IT staff composed mostly of contractors, dealing with more than 2000 IT suppliers and more than 60 versions of SAP.
Dana presented the results of their IT makeover. In the first year, he was able to cut out 400 million US dollars from the IT budget, including the reduction of 500 people from the IT staff. He increased the employee/contractor ratio to 40/60, with plans to bring this up to 65/35 over the next year. He was able to get 1800 IT employees to perform a self-assessment to understand their strengths and weaknesses. He was able to centralize the IT leadership team, and deploy a common [ITIL] best practices implementation.
What did he learn from all this? Here were his top four "lessons learned":
- No time to dwell but know your facts
- Work in parallel to push the pace of change
- Listen but in the end take your own counsel
- Tell a compelling story to energize your employees and your leadership
- Chris Capossela, Senior VP of Information Worker Product Management Group, Microsoft
Chris presented "Uncovering Value in the Cloud and On Your Desktop", onhow Microsoft customers are taking advantage of the software they have already purchased.For example, Jamba Juice was able to use Microsoft SharePoint to cut down locating documents from 15 minutes to just seconds, reducing 10-15 hours per week for more than 500 managers. More importantly, they were more confident that document they found was the right one. This is often referred to as "one version of the truth." In another example, Tyson Foods was able to connect Microsoft Word to their SAP application, and have that then connect to their Microsoft SharePoint.
Chris was amazed that many Microsoft customers don't take advantage of all that is available to them.He gave four examples:
- Planning Services: If you buy an enterprise license to Microsoft products, you get planning services, from either Microsoft's own Microsoft Consulting Services or from thousands of Microsoft Business Partners. Only 8 percent of customers take advantage of this.
- Home Use Rights: For enterprise license customers, employees can purchase "home use rights" to use the Enterprise level of Microsoft Office software for only 10 US dollars, but only about 3 percent take advantage of this.
- Training: Many enterprise licenses come with 2-4 weeks of training vouchers, but only 40 percent take advantage of these vouchers.
- E-Learning: Microsoft also offers e-learning, which Microsoft customers can either have delivered from Microsoft's own hosted services, or they can get a copy of the E-learning materials hosted inside their own company firewall. Again, few take advantage of this.
Chris wrapped up his presentation by citing some examples of customers that migrated from in-house, on-premises collaboration software to Microsoft's "Exchange Online" and "SharePoint Online" cloud computing Software-as-a-Service [SaaS] offerings. The cloud versions of these software do not offer all the features as the on-premise versions, but Microsoft is working to close this gap.
(IBM offers similar cloud computing services for email and collaboration called [LotusLive])
- Gary Heil, Founder, [Center for Innovative Leadership]
Gary presented "Tough Times: Opportunity for Innovation and Corporate Makeover". He had some greatquotes intended to help people become better leaders, like this:
“Leadership failures do not usuallyresult from leaders not knowing what todo; rather these failures result becauseleaders fail to do what they know fullwell they should and must do.Most leaders never get fully comfortable withthe changes that they wish for theirorganizations.”
- Change the Conversation - employees want to have a compelling reason to change.
- Create a compelling description of the future - employees want a vision of where they are headed.
- Emotionally enlist employees in the cause - leaders are not remembered for their attributes, as much as the causes they stood for.
- Help me understand the business - employees often do not have information in context to act accordingly.
- Choose passionate - employees want to see leaders that are passionate and confident on the process and strategic direction.
- Create a To-Stop list - we all have "to do" lists, but perhaps you need a "to don't" list. In other words, a list of bad habits and practices you need to discontinue.
Gary indicated that trust must be given before it is earned. If a leader doesn't trust the employees, how do you expect the employees to trust the leader? When asking employees to change their behavior, or self-assess their own skills, a leader must emphasize "I mean you no harm." Otherwise,mistrust will undermine the intended results.
The keynote sessions the past three days have provided clear motivation to the CIOs and IT leaders in the audience to consider making the necessary changes, with impressive results and actionable advice.
technorati tags: IBM, FITF09, Forrester, Forrester Research, FORR, IT Forum, BP, Dana Deasy, Microsoft, Chris Capossela, LotusLive, Cloud+Computing, Gary Heil, CFIL