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IBM brings out new midrange, enterprise storage arrays

IBM launched two new storage systems today. The Storwize V7000 is a brand new midrange array and the DS8800 is an upgrade from its DS8700 high-end enterprise SAN system.

IBM will hold a live event and webcast this morning to formally announce the systems, and we’ll have more on following that event, but the vendor has already released some information on the products.

Interestingly, IBM is using the Storwize brand for its new midrange array without any of Storewize’s primary data compression technology in the product. IBM acquired Storwize for around $140 million in July.

The Storwize V7000 is IBM’s only internally developed midrange system. IBM also sells midrange storage through its OEM deal with LSI, but recently discontinued the internally developed DS6800 that it had positioned as a high-end midrange/low-end enterprise product. IBM positions the V7000 as competitive with EMC Clariion CX4, HP EVA and Hitachi Data Systems AMS storage.

According to a blog by IBM Master Inventor Barry White today, the V7000 has the same SCSI front-end and back-end as the IBM’s SAN Volume Controller (SVC) storage virtualization product, and can virtualize the same storage from competitors as the SVC. “Why not stick your Clariion behind one and see a performance boost,” Whyte wrote.

The V7000 includes Easy Tier, thin provisioning, dynamic migration and FlashCopy built in.
The Storwize V7000 system has 2U controller and expansion enclosures. Controller enclosures consist of dual controllers and drives, and expansion controllers only contain drives. The system supports 24 2.5-inch drives or 12 3.5-inch drives, and each controller enclosure can connect to nine expansion enclosures. The V7000 holds 6 Gbps SAS drives and 300 GB solid state drives (SSDs), and a system can contain 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch enclosures.

Each enclosure can hold 24 TB with 12 2 TB nearline SAS drives or 14.4 TB with 24 600 GB performance SAS drives. A 20U half-rack system can hold 480 TB of raw capacity. The V7000 supports 300 GB 2.5-inch E-MLC (enterprise-grade multi-level cell) SSDs, and can hold 72 TB of SSD capacity in one system.

A dual-controller system has eight 8 Gbps Fibre Channel and four Gigabit Ethernet iSCSI host ports.

The DS8800 consists of incremental changes from the IBM’s DS8700 high-end enterprise SAN system, with most of the microcode remaining the same. The major design change is the DS8800 has front-to-back cooling instead of the DS8700’s chimney design of taking cold air from front and back and sending hot air out the top.

The DS8800 scales higher than the DS8700, and uses faster Power6-plus processors with dual-core 8 Gbps Fibre Channel and FICON host adapters. It also supports 2.5-inch 6 Gbps SAS drives. The denser DS8800 holds 1,000 drives in three frames, compared to five frames required for the same amount of drives on the DS8700.

IBM said the DS8800 won’t support Easy Tier sub-LUN automated tiering software that moves data between SSDs and hard drives until next year.

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