IBM Catches Up to Competitors with New Tiered Storage System

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-04-23 Print this article Print

UPDATED: Nothing here is revolutionary, but the new additions are improvements to IBM's data storage portfolio that catch the company up to features that smaller companies already have made available.

IBM, which hasn't made a lot of storage news in the last 12 months, April 21 announced the availability of several new tiered storage products.

Nothing here is revolutionary, but the additions are indeed improvements to its previous portfolio that catch the company up to features that smaller companies already have made available.

Lately, IBM has been devoting a lot of attention to making and marketing cloud computing hardware and software, cloud-delivered service products, and green IT initiatives. Now it's the storage division's turn to release several products all at once.
The most important newbie is IBM's DS8700 disk storage system, a combination solid-state and spinning disk array that utilizes IBM's new System Storage Easy Tier. This feature continually monitors I/O performance and is able to move the most frequently used data to faster solid-state storage, based on policy or on data type.

IBM is using solid-state NAND flash disks from STEC in the DS8700, although it also has a partnership with Fusion-io for some other new products.

By automatically placing clients' most important business data on Tier 1 NAND flash SSDs, the DS8700 provides quicker access to data so it can be analyzed on demand for business intelligence use.

This new system is designed for large data-producing deployments, such as business analytics, financial services and scientific projects.

IBM also has launched a new version of its Long Term File System, a tape-based archiving package that provide up to 1.5TB of capacity. It could go as high as twice that amount using an optional compression feature.

The LTO (Linear Tape-Open) Ultrium format is open-standards tape storage that is the greenest type of storage, since when storage is finished, the data is completely at rest. IBM's new Long Term File System uses LTO-5 for file system access to very large data archives created by unstructured enterprise data.

The Long Term File System is designed to address the growing storage needs of industries that generate digital media such as media and entertainment, and medical and digital surveillance, IBM engineer and Chief Technical Storage Strategist Clod Barrera told eWEEK.

IBM also is upping the ante in the deduplication and replication areas, as EMC, NetApp, Quantum and Dell also have done in the last year. IBM's so-called many-to-one replication service is now standard on its ProtecTier deduplication appliance, Barrera said.

IBM claims that by stripping out duplicate data before it is replicated, ProtecTier can reduce the bandwidth needed to send the data by 95 percent or more, Barrera said.

IBM's XIV Storage System, last heard from in July 2009 with an upgrade, again has been improved with an option of deploying 2TB SATA drives and lower voltage processors.

XIV's Tier 1 external-disk system is completely distributed. It packages all data storage into 1MB chunks and spreads them around the system, so that no one or two disks have to handle most of the workload. This saves on disk life and increases performance. When more arms of the system are used-and load-balanced-hot spots and well-worn disks in the system are avoided.

The new IBM storage products will become available within the next several weeks. For more information, go here.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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