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IBM Announces Expansion of Flash Storage Portfolio

  • By Allie Philpin 
  • Category: News 
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IBM has announced that they have significantly increased expansion of their flash storage portfolio, focusing on hybrid cloud and cloud-based systems to enable data storage at the same speed as on-premise hardware.

IBM has released to new solutions to the portfolio: the IBM FlashSystem A9000 and the IBM FlashSystem A9000R.  The new models have been built specifically for the cloud and incorporate a range of features that will aid cloud service providers and enterprise customers.

Greg Lotko, General Manager of IBM Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure, said: “The drastic increase in volume, velocity and variety of information is requiring businesses to rethink their approach to addressing storage needs… IBM’s flash portfolio enables businesses on their cognitive journey to derive greater value from more data in more varieties, whether on premises or in a hybrid cloud deployment.”

The FlashSystem A9000 is an 8U unit with 3 grid controllers and a single 2U storage enclosure.  Storage starts at 60TB and can increase up to 300TB per unit.  Up to 144 units can be managed together via a single management console and a performance up to 500,000 IOPS can be achieved, according to IBM, depending on the read/write ratio.

The FlashSystem A9000R is rack-based in its configuration with 4 grid controllers and 2 storage controllers, which can be increased to 12 grid controllers and 6 storage controllers within a single rack.  Storage starts at 300TB and can rise to 1.8PB.  The system is self-tuning, allowing the addition of more storage whereupon it will reconfigure and balance without complex planning.  Performance is up to 2 million IOPS, according to IBM, depending on the read/write ratio.

Key features of both systems include:

• IBM FlashCore – introduced by IBM over a year ago, it uses a combination of technologies including hardware acceleration, IBM-designed flash modules and their own flash management software.
• QoS – new QoS tools that have been designed to help reduce the problem of noisy neighbours, and guarantees performance that has been set out in Service Level Agreements.
• Secure Multi-Tenancy – aimed at the cloud service providers, the feature allows each tenant to have their own management and encryption.
• Cloud Integration – cloud box integrations have been incorporated including Microsoft Azure, OpenStack, SoftLayer, VMware and a REST API for other clouds.
• Data Efficiency Suite – a range of new features have been integrated together including pattern removal, inline deduplication and inline compression for data reduction, as well as thin provisioning and space-efficient snapshots.
• New Management Interface – there has been a significant overhaul of the existing FlashSystem management interface. A new UI with more detailed analytics, an improved health dashboard and more granular data on how to manage storage efficiency are included in the new features.

IBM are being consistent in allowing customers to move to new technologies over the year and take their existing licences too.  As part of their new announcement, IBM customers using IBM Spectrum Storage Suite or Spectrum Accelerate will be able to use their licences for the new FlashStorage systems.

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