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IBM DS8880 arrays lift mainframe archiving to the cloud

IBM Storage has closed the loop on its Transparent Cloud Tiering software by adding it to IBM DS8880 arrays for archival storage of mainframe data.

The Transparent Cloud Tiering (TCT) microcode update for IBM DS8880 all-flash arrays became official last week following a June 9 soft launch. The IBM DS8880 storage is used predominantly to support IBM z Business mainframe clients.

IBM has integrated TCT  for cloud tiering across its storage during the past year, including IBM Elastic Storage Server, IBM FlashSystem all-flash arrays and the midrange Storwize family.

TCT is available on those physical IBM arrays or as software-defined storage with IBM SpectrumScale (formerly known as IBM General Parallel File System) file storage and x86-based SpectrumVirtualize for IBM SAN Volume Controller.

“This gives you the ability to create a hybrid cloud with easy data movement across our entire storage portfolio,” said Eric Herzog, IBM’s chief marketing officer and vice president of worldwide storage channels and software-defined infrastructure.

Adding cloud storage is part of IBM’s strategy to hedge against an industry-wide decline in networked storage and server revenues.

No gateways  needed for cloud tier

The latest release allows aged data to migrate from z Business systems to an intermediate IBM DS8880 target for eventual archiving to a local or cloud-based object store. Previously, mainframe archiving required data to be ingested from a DS8880 array and written to a physical disk or tape target via the z System storage subsystem.

Tiering also required IBM customers to add a third-party endpoint device to move data to a cloud-based block store, an approach other vendors also take. Dell EMC sells its Cloud Tiering Appliance as a purpose-built hardware or as a VMware virtual appliance.

“Because of how we do it (now), you aren’t required to buy a separate cloud gateway or other additional hardware. We do the tiering right on the array itself,” Herzog said.

The latest TCT release presents an IBM DS8880 source target from which customers can select a destination target, including an on-premises object store with the TS7700 storage system or the use of IBM Cloud Object Storage boxes as a hybrid target.

Additionally, IBM Bluemix (formerly IBM SoftLayer) can be chosen to deliver archiving as a service off premises. Herzog said IBM will add an Amazon Simple Storage Service block store to the Bluemix option in August.

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