This week IBM announced an update to its FlashSystem storage portfolio. While new flash storage releases have become somewhat commonplace lately, thinking that IBM’s FlashSystems are just systems with flash does them a huge disservice. IBM has integrated some game-changing software innovation into its FlashSystems. While much of this technology has been in there for a while, the benefits extend far beyond the average storage system.
So, what’s new? IBM announces several faster, more powerful storage hardware options, with:
- The new FlashSystem 7200, 9200, and 9200R.
- New IBM SAN Volume Controller engines.
These systems have all the advances you might want or expect including massive performance with end-to-end NVMe and support for storage class memory (SCM), a bevy of enterprise features, data reduction, six-nines availability, and a really interesting virtual “air-gap” feature that can protect key snapshots of data from malicious attacks.
What’s the big deal?
The new part of the announcement is the hardware (it’s bigger, faster, better, which is all wonderful), but it is the software that should probably dominate the headlines. FlashSystem is an intelligent hybrid cloud storage virtualization/orchestration layer in a flash array package thanks to a couple key technologies:
- Integrated Hybrid Cloud Storage Virtualization – The FlashSystem portfolio integrates IBM Spectrum Virtualize as part of the system. This means non-disruptive data movement and migrations across the FlashSystem family, other IBM storage systems, on-premises storage from other vendors, and public cloud storage services from IBM Cloud or Amazon Web Services (AWS). This capability allows for non-disruptive, time-saving, and risk-reducing data movement not only in the data center when switching or retiring hardware systems, but also to the cloud for business continuity, to accelerate Dev/Ops, to create an “air-gapped” copy of data to improve digital security, as well as for workload migration. This technology also provides consistent management and APIs across hybrid cloud environments allowing IT to simplify and standardize operations.
- AI-based Cloud Management & Proactive Support – IBM’s cloud management, IBM Storage Insights, collects, according to IBM (I didn’t count them all), over 23 million points of telemetry data from a single system daily. This data is then used to provide proactive support, with two-thirds (66%) of system issues (another IBM stat) being resolved automatically. The FlashSystem also can use this data to provide automated best practice checks, ensure high availability, and conduct a risk analysis. Combined, these efforts dramatically simplify storage infrastructure management and maintenance.
IT has a skill shortage crisis. IT talent has become scarce; nearly a third (32%) of IT organizations indicate that they have a problematic skills shortage in IT architecture and planning, and (33%) have a problematic skills shortage in cloud architecture and planning. Simple doesn’t begin to describe what IT needs right now.
We need intelligent, automated, heterogeneous, hybrid cloud storage virtualization and consolidation. IT needs the ability to make a bunch of different, disparate, and distributed systems all look like one, easy-to-manage and automated ecosystem with the intelligence to help administrators optimize each of the individual pieces, on- and off-premises, to achieve the maximum benefits. This is what IBM is helping deliver. Oh, and all this comes with an impressive all-flash array too.