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IBM ships new Storwize V5000, rolls out software package for Apache Spark

IBM recently rolled out a pair of new storage offerings: the “Gen 2” Storwize V5000 hybrid system, with upgraded Spectrum Virtualize software, and a “Platform Conductor” for Apache Spark data analytics.

The Gen 2 edition of IBM’s Storwize V5000 for the first time gives customers a choice of three models: the V5010, V5020 and V5030. The company sold only one V5000 model in the past, although the Storwize product line also includes a higher end V7000 and lower end V3700.

Eric Herzog, vice president of product marketing and management for IBM’s storage and software-defined infrastructure, said the V5000 targets the “lower end of the mid-tier market.” That includes small and medium businesses and remote offices and departments of large enterprises. Typical workloads include databases and virtual server workloads.

The Storwize V5010 and V5020 models each hold up to 264 drives, and the larger V5030 has a 504-drive limit, or 1,008 drives per clustered system. Herzog said customers can technically use all hard disk drives (HDDs) or all solid-state drives (SSDs), but most use the V5000 in hybrid mode with a combination of the two.

The flash percentage is typically 5% to 10% in a Storwize V5000 hybrid array, and the bulk of the HDDs are 7,200 RPM, according to Herzog. The new V5000 offers per-system cache options of 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB.

The Storwize V5000 bundles the latest version of IBM’s Spectrum Virtualize software, which was formerly known as SAN Volume Controller (SVC). The main new feature in last fall’s Spectrum Virtualize 7.6 release was data-at-rest encryption. The Spectrum Virtualize software in the V5000 can manage up to 32 PB, according to an IBM spokesperson.

IBM’s Spectrum virtualization software supports more than 300 arrays from a wide range of vendors, according to Herzog. Customers with maintenance contrasts can update to the new Spectrum Virtualize at no charge.

All models of the new Storwize V5000 product line include features such as internal virtualization, thin provisioning, data migration, multi-host support, snapshots, automated tiering and remote mirroring. The V5020 adds encryption and boosts performance, and the V5030 also tacks on clustering, compression, external virtualization and HyperSwap high-availability technology.

The Gen 2 Storwize V5000 supports 16 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) and 12 Gbps SAS connectivity, unlike the prior version’s 8 Gbps FC and 6 Gbps SAS. The Gen 1 and Gen 2 products both support 10 Gbps iSCSI/Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).

List price for the V5010 is $9,250 including hardware, software and a one-year warranty, according to IBM.

IBM Platform Conductor for Spark
IBM also recently announced its Platform Conductor to help users deploy the open source Apache Spark engine for large-scale data processing. Apache Spark can run programs up to 100 times faster than Hadoop Map Reduce in memory, or 10 times faster on disk, according to the open source project’s Web site.

Spark is a real-time analytics engine. These real-time analytics engines require parallel processing on the storage side” for performance, said Herzog. “Spectrum Scale provides the parallel file system and scales up to exabytes of capacity. We don’t care what storage hardware they use.”

The IBM Platform Conductor for Spark includes the Apache Spark distribution, workload/resource management software and IBM’s Spectrum Scale File Placement Optimizer.

“People were getting Spark, the platform computing and Spectrum Scale. They were putting it all together, or we were putting it together, or our business partners were putting it together,” said Herzog. “We saw this trend happening already, so it made sense just to bundle them up and make it more convenient.”

Herzog said Apache Spark originally gained a foothold in academic communities, but Spark usage has been spreading to more traditional enterprise customers. He said IBM is considering more pre-packaged bundles similar to the Spark offering.

The list price for IBM Platform Conductor for Spark is $6,250 per managed server, whether physical or virtual, inclusive of licensing and one year of support.