A Common Storage GUI – Simplify the flightdeck!

With the announced release of DS8000 6.1 code, IBM has moved its three major storage systems to a common GUI platform.   This makes me think of aircraft manufacturers who utilize a common cockpit design.   For airlines, this is major drawcard when choosing aircraft models. It cuts down on training costs for your pilots.  Except in storage IT, there is a major difference in motivation….

First and foremost, the design of the XIV GUI (that has inspired such dramatic change in IBMs other GUIs), was made possible, not by clever XIV GUI developers (don’t get me wrong – they ARE clever), but by a remarkably user-friendly architecture.  The XIV GUI is a miracle of ease-of-use for end users, made possible because first and foremost, by design, the XIV made it almost impossible to make it hard.

The good news for Storage administrators, is that unlike a jet aircraft, where a pilot needs to spend hundreds of hours in the cockpit before they are considered potentially competent,  the XIV GUI can be picked up in minutes and lends itself very well to casual contact.   You don’t need to keep using it to stay competent.

The challenge for IBM was take more complex products, which require more user decisions, and make the usage experience just as easy.   To add to this, the SVC and DS8000 GUIs were driven by WebSphere.   Changing these GUIs would require a complete re-write to employ Java script.

First off the rank was the SVC and Storwize V7000.   With the release last year of the SVC 6.1 update, the transformation was nothing less than remarkable.   End user experience ruled every decision.   The key again is that the user does not need to spend hundred of hours learning this GUI or re-learning it every time they go to perform a configuration task.   Everything is in its right place.  Its much more than an XIV-like GUI.   Its a GUI that took the ease of use experience of the XIV and used that to inspire something just as remarkable.

With the release of the 6.1 update for the DS8000, we complete another fundamental step towards a truly common GUI.   The DS8000 GUI has undergone a complete re-write.   Essentially it has been rebuilt from the ground up.   This highlights something fundamental:   It confirms the DS8000 has a very strong roadmap.

As you can see from the image below, the transformation from the old design (to the left) to an ease of use model is complete:

The end result is  a DS8000 GUI that has the same look and feel that we find in the XIV, the Storwize V7000 and the SVC.  It is a GUI packed with usability features and because we use Javascript, the webpages are active and  self-refreshing.

In short it a common flight deck, that almost anyone can fly.


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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2 Responses to A Common Storage GUI – Simplify the flightdeck!

  1. Dag Kvello says:

    Now, if only they could do that to other products that went through that horrible “Everything Websphere!!!” transformation the last 5-7 years. IBM Systems Director would be a prime candidate, being completely ruined, from an end-user point of view, when moving from a Java-based UI to an unusable monster of a websphere application.

    • avandewerdt says:

      I think there are certainly some obvious and glaring differences when various products are juxtaposed. These differences are disappearing as products get refreshed.

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