May 9 is here – get excited!

Its that time of the year again – announcement time!   And the May 9 set of storage announcements by IBM is one of the richest set of announcements I have ever seen.  Practically every storage product has received updates with new features stretching from Tape Drives to Tape libraries to Disk system updates (from the smallest system to the largest system). We have NAS updates and we have storage virtualization updates.  I struggled to decide which subject to start on, to do justice across the board.  So let me first list just some of the products that have received updates:

TS1140 – Super fast, massive capacity, enterprise tape technology.

For many years IBM has been using its own technology (as an alternative to LTO) to offer clients a higher class of enterprise tape. The TS1140 is the fourth generation of this technology. Using the new JC media which has 4TB of native capacity, then presuming a compression ratio to 2.5 to 1, you could place 10 TB of compressed data onto a single cart.  And you could do this at 250 MBps sustained, which according to Oracle, makes the TS1140 the fastest tape drive in the world!  The TS1140 will happily burst at up to 650 MBps – so we now have a tape drive that can truly utilize a 8 Gbps fibre channel port. It reinforces the green credentials of tape by using only 46W of power and supports LTFS, the Long Term File System, which leads me to….

 LTFS – Long Term File System

Speaking of LTFS, we have enhanced the LTFS standard to now support tape libraries. So get this idea…. you attach a tape library to your server.  All the tapes in the library appear to the operating system as directories. You can select any of these directories and the library will open it up (i.e. mount the tape). Now the contents of the tape itself appear as a directory structure, from which you can add or remove files.  In other words, the library and the tapes can be manipulated without any form of backup software sitting between you and the operating system. After the initial tape mount, the directory is locally cached, so you don’t need to mount the tape again to see what is on it (and to search the directory). This whole concept has the most amazing potential use cases.

TS3500

IBM has a truly fantastic tape library with the TS3500. Now we add the ability to shuttle tapes between aisles to create a larger logical library. How do you like the idea of a logical tape library that can hold 300,000 cartridges totaling 2.7 exabytes?

 TS7700

The IBM TS7700 is our Mainframe virtual tape library solution. It gets a major performance boost with the introduction of Power 7 servers plus many other improvements.

In terms of disk we have enhancements to the following products:

DS8000 Family with release 6.1

When we released the DS8800 last year, we committed to deliver a merged code library which would support both DS8700 and DS8800.  This would ensure that they both have the same feature set. We now deliver on that commitment, plus supply an enormous set of new features and functions for both products: so both products continue to get major enhancements and updates. These include:

Easy Tier enhancements:  Any two disk technologies can now be placed in a pool
I/O Priority Manager: Which allows for quality of service management.
Multi-tenancy management: Allows for the creation of separate Copy Services domains.
Larger LUN sizes:  Allows the ability to create LUNs up to 16 TiB in size.
Enhanced GUI: We will now have a common GUI for DS8700, DS8800, Storwize V7000, SVC and XIV.
8Gb/s host adapters for the DS8700

 V7000 and SVC Family with release 6.2

The IBM SAN Volume Controller and Storwize V7000 share a common code library, so improvements are common.   In the 6.2 release we deliver the following enhancements:

Flash Copy Improvements:  Allow remote copies of flashcopy targets
SVC 2145-CG8 Node:  New hardware model
10 Gb iSCSI:  For both Storwize V7000 and SVC
SVC Solid State Drive Support:   Allowing SVCs to use internal SSDs for EasyTier
VMware VAAI:  All three VAAI primitives now implemented.
Real Time Performance Statistics:  A new GUI panel giving performance info.
Storwize V7000 System Clustering:  Allowing us to cluster two Storwize V7000s together.

DS3500

The DS3500 is IBM’s entry level disk rocket ship.   I am a huge fan of this box for clients with smaller or point solution requirements.  We have enhanced the product with the following:

Double the drives:   We now support 192 drives.
Scheduled flashcopies:   Gives the ability to have scheduled flashcopies run without external intervention.
Improved volume copy:   Gives the ability to create a volume copy without stopping host access.
10 Gb iSCSI:  Allows us to add 10 Gb iSCSI to the DS3500.

DS5000

The DS5000 range consists of DS5020 (also sold as DS3950), the DS5100 and the DS5300.  Improvements include:

Scheduled flashcopies:   Gives the ability to have scheduled flashcopies run without external intervention.
Improved volume copy:   Gives the ability to create a volume copy without stopping host access.
10 Gb iSCSI:  Allows us to add 10 Gb iSCSI to the DS5100 and DS5300
T10-PI:  Allows selected operating systems to add meta data to track write integrity.
SAS drives:  We are adding a 600 GB SAS drive that has a SAS to FC interposer so it can be installed in a EXP5000

I have not listed all of the product announcements.   There are improvements to SONAS, our nSeries products, Information Archive, Real Time Compression device…. the list goes on.

I will write up another post with all the links….

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About Anthony Vandewerdt

I am an IT Professional who lives and works in Melbourne Australia. This blog is totally my own work. It does not represent the views of any corporation. Constructive and useful comments are very very welcome.
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