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IBM Spectrum Virtualize adds support for hybrid clouds

Next month, IBM plans to add hybrid cloud capabilities to its Spectrum Virtualize storage software, as well as offering new flash hardware choices and converged infrastructure options.

Next month, IBM plans to roll out updated Spectrum Virtualize software to give customers expanded options to deploy hybrid clouds, new higher density flash enclosures and additional converged infrastructure choices.

The December upgrade to IBM Spectrum Virtualize will include software functionality and support for Amazon Simple Storage Service, OpenStack Swift and IBM Cloud APIs to enable users to tier data from on-premises block storage systems to off-premises cloud storage.

The hybrid cloud capabilities will be available in IBM's Storwize, FlashSystem V9000, SAN Volume Controller (SVC) and VersaStack systems -- all of which are based on the IBM Spectrum Virtualize software. The cloud functionality will also be available by extension to the nearly 400 third-party storage systems the Spectrum software can virtualize, according to IBM.

"We're bringing hybrid cloud capability to storage that clients already have so they don't have to rip and replace their existing storage to put in storage that has hybrid cloud capability," said Chris Saul, marketing manager for the IBM Spectrum Storage family.

Saul said IBM has been adding hybrid cloud support to its entire Spectrum Storage software family, which also includes Spectrum Scale (based on IBM's General Parallel File System), Spectrum Accelerate (based on IBM's XIV Storage System) and Spectrum Protect (based on Tivoli Storage Manager).

We're bringing hybrid cloud capability to storage that clients already have so they don't have to rip and replace their existing storage to put in storage that has hybrid cloud capability.
Chris Saulmarketing manager, IBM Spectrum Storage

"Where you really see them going as a strategy is focused on software-defined storage as a flexible technology or data layer to enable organizations to transform their data center and move to a hybrid cloud architecture," said Scott Sinclair, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.

"They support cloud tiering without requiring an external gateway," wrote Eric Burgener, a research director at International Data Corp., in an email. "Given that hybrid cloud is the future, this is an important capability for managing high data growth while keeping cost low. They're not the only ones to do this, but they're also not the last ones."

IBM Spectrum Virtualize 7.8 is due to become generally available on Dec. 9. The upgrade is free for existing Spectrum Virtualize customers who have a current subscription and support agreement with IBM.

Next month, IBM will also make a new policy-based cloud data sharing capability available with Spectrum Scale. The Spectrum Scale 4.2.2 update will enable replication and automatic synchronization of file and object data across on-premises and cloud storage.

New Storwize hardware options

New expansion enclosures supported with Storwize V5000 Gen2, Storwize V7000 Gen2 and Gen2+, FlashSystem V9000, SVC, and the converged VersaStack systems can hold up to 92 flash and/or hard disk drives (HDDs) in five rack units. The new enclosure requires the use of IBM Spectrum Virtualize 7.8 software and supports built-in, hardware-assisted compression.

New drives available for use with the enclosure are 7 TB and 15 TB 3D V-NAND solid-state drives (SSDs) from Samsung and 10 TB near-line SAS HDDs. Using 15 TB drives, the enclosure has a maximum raw capacity of 1.4 petabytes (PB). The maximum raw flash capacity of the prior 24-drive enclosure, with 3.84 TB drives, was 92 TB in 2U, according to Saul.

IBM's Storwize V7000 will be able to support up to 32 PB of raw flash storage capacity in its largest four-rack clustered configuration. The prior cluster limit was 4 PB.

In December, IBM also plans to add the ability for Storwize V7000 Gen2 customers to nondisruptively upgrade to a V7000 Gen2+ system. The same nondisruptive upgrade capability will also be available for Storwize V5010, V5020 and V5030.

New DeepFlash Elastic Storage Server

Next month, IBM will release a preconfigured option of the IBM DeepFlash 150 "just a bunch of flash" (JBOF) device -- based on SanDisk's InfiniFlash System -- with Spectrum Scale software for file and object storage.

The IBM DeepFlash Elastic Storage Server will have two models. The 7U GF1 system offers 180 TB of usable capacity and a dual IBM Spectrum Scale I/O server. The 10U GF2 model has two DeepFlash 150 JBOFs, for 360 TB of usable capacity, and two IBM Spectrum Scale I/O servers.

David Hill, founder of Mesabi Group LLC, said DeepFlash Elastic Storage Server targets capacity-driven production data that requires better performance than hard disk drives can offer, where standard flash is too expensive. Potential workloads include high-performance computing, such as oil and gas exploration and genomic sequencing, and media and entertainment, he said.

IBM DS8880 flash update

IBM's flash hardware updates extend to enclosures for its DS8880, which is used primarily with z Systems mainframes and Power Systems workloads. Customers previously had a choice of 400 GB or 800 GB flash cards. In December, they'll be able to use 1.6 TB and 3.2 TB SSDs with the DS8880 High-Performance Flash Enclosure Gen2.

The maximum raw capacity per enclosure will increase from 24 TB to 153.6 TB. IBM is also adding the option for RAID 6 data protection in addition to the previously available RAID 5 and 10.

IBM claimed the new DS8880 flash enclosure could boost read IOPS by 90%, write IOPS by 50%, read throughput by 110% to 8 GB per second and write throughput by 85% to 5 GB per second. Saul attributed this performance improvement to a new flash adapter and newly added support for PCI Express (PCIe) version 3.

Also on tap for IBM are three new configurations for its VersaStack converged infrastructure product line. IBM SVC with Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) became available last month for mixed storage environments. Due this month is a model combining Storwize V5000/V5030F with Cisco UCS Mini for entry-level to mid-sized businesses. Next month, an option with IBM FlashSystem A9000 and Cisco UCS will focus on virtual desktop infrastructure environments.

Next Steps

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