IBM FlashSystem Announcement

In their earnings announcement, IBM said that in Q4 2019 they experienced 3% year over year growth in storage revenues, including strong growth in their DS8K and high-end tape.  

On February 12 the company said that it was simplifying its FlashSystem product line to reduce complexity and help customers control their costs.  The company’s IBM Spectrum Virtualize will offer a single storage platform, using the same software, same API and same management, encompassing on-premises to hybrid multicloud deployments and that spans bear metal, virtualized, container and hybrid cloud environments.  

This software will span entry to high end enterprise as well as hybrid multicloud environments.  The company says that  FlashSystem with IBM’s Spectrum Virtualize provides a simplified offering to enterprise customers.  Also note that IBM’s new FlashSystem hardware costs offer more IOPS for lower price than the prior generation of products.

IBM says that the product provides more innovation with FlashCore and Storage Class Memory technology, with enterprise class services from entry to hybrid multicloud, advanced cyber resiliency, AI-driven management, data placement and support and transparent migration and virtualization of existing storage hardware.  Another innovation is that IBM is offering options to buy or lease or to pay only for the capacity that you consume with a subscription model having no long-term commitments.

The figure below shows various offerings in the IBM Flash System Family, including built in product features.

From IBM

IBM FlashSystem Product Features

IBM Product Announcement

The storage class memories mentioned in the announcement include Intel’s Optane NVMe SSDs with 375 GB and 750 GB capacity and Samsung Z-SSD’s with 800 GB and 1.6 TB capacity.  These are available for the FlashSystem 5100 and above.  These can be mixed with IBM’s GCMs or NVMe flash in the system.

The figure below shows on IBM Spectrum Virtualize software coupled with IBM’s FlashSystems solution fits into IBM’s overall storage product line.  Systems with IBM Spectrum Virtualize also support Red Hat Ansible Automation.  An upcoming update for Red Hat OpenShift and Kubernetes will provide full backup, restore and reuse functionality for container environments.

IBM Announcement

IBM Software and Services

From IBM Product Announcement

The company also said that their products enable cost-efficient scale-up (to 32 PB of capacity) and scale-out (to 18M IOPS) with a single point of control and managed with a single pane of glass.  IBM says that this is achieved in only 8U versus 15M IOPS with 80U for Dell EMC PowerMax 8000.  Note that a single IBM FlashSystem 9200 can achieve 45 GB/s, scaling to 180 GB/s data rates.

As shown above, IBM Storage Insights is a cloud service that monitors the performance, capacity and health of the storage infrastructure with AI capabilities that predict and prevent storage problems before they impact the customer.  Insights automates aspects of the support process for faster problem resolution.  IBM says that currently have 3+ Exabytes of storage under this management with >23 million telemetry data points collected daily from a single system. Storage Insights Pro supports IBM and non-IBM storage from major storage system vendors.

IBM’s FlashSystems hardware upgrades and Spectrum Virtualize software offer a cleaner product line with paths to scaling to very high performance in small footprints and managing from storage on-premises to hybrid multicloud configurations.