IBM Expands All-Flash Lineup, Adds New Migration Services

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2016-08-23 Print this article Print

Big Blue is looking to take advantage of "uncertainty" surrounding the Dell/EMC merger to sway their customers to its all-flash platform.

IBM made two storage-related news announcements Aug. 23: First, it is expanding its already extensive all-flash product lineup; second, the company is offering a new migration service to induce current Dell/EMC customers to make the move to IBM.

The product expansion is designed to provide small and midsize organizations as well as global enterprises with primary storage for cloud or cognitive applications and workloads, IBM storage executive Mike Kuhn told eWEEK.

The storage migration program, "Flash In," is a no-cost program designed specifically to help Dell and EMC clients to transition to IBM on the pathway to becoming cloud-first businesses, Kuhn said.

"There's a tremendous amount of interest in the market right now around moving to other technologies, especially in all-flash," Kuhn said. "Perhaps they've [customers] got some uncertainty with the whole Dell/EMC merger, and so we're offering a set of migration services where we buy these products that we're offering. You can get up to 40 hours' worth of services to help with deployment or migration services to move from an EMC or Dell platform to an IBM platform."

All-Flash: By Far the Biggest Storage Trend

There's no question that all-flash storage is a clear trend in enterprise storage in the last 12 to 18 months, due primarily to greatly improved wear-leveling, higher NAND flash media quality and storage file systems engineered specifically for new-generation solid-state media.

These new components, found in the new-gen arrays of virtually all the market leaders—such as Pure Storage, NetApp SolidFire, WD Sandisk and HP 3PAR, in addition to IBM—are speedy enough to support growing big-data workloads across public, private and hybrid cloud environments, as well as the demands of cognitive applications and workloads.  

IBM's new offerings here are the mid-range Storwize V7000F (pictured; to see a larger view, right-click on image and select "View Image") and the entry-level IBM Storwize 5030F, all-flash arrays that Kuhn said meet enterprise requirements across a range of primary storage applications, workload and use cases at "cost-effective price points." IBM has previously not emphasized pricing all that much in the past, so this is a change in its go-to-market approach.

All Storwize all-flash arrays, no matter what size, run on the same IBM Spectrum Virtualize storage operating system, which keeps operations simpler than most in the data center. The IBM management software includes features such as real-time data compression, thin provisioning and snapshotting across nearly 400 different storage arrays from a multitude of vendors.

Same Storage File System for All IBM Arrays

Spectrum Virtualize also optimizes data security, reliability and operational costs, Kuhn said. The software automatically tiers, migrates data from one storage array to another, provides secure data at rest encryption, and remotely replicates data for disaster recovery and business continuity purposes.

The V7000F and V5030F are built to manage a variety of primary storage workloads, from database management systems, such as SQL Server and MySQL, to digital media sources that include broadcast, real-time streaming and video surveillance. IBM said the new technology also can handle huge volumes of internet of things (IoT) data.

IBM's "Flash In" for new customers will provide data migration and installation services for five consecutive days for either on-site replacement or upgrades, Kuhn said.

More than 80 percent of IBM's all-flash storage is sold by IBM Business Partners. Clients choosing to migrate from Dell or EMC can also select from the following IBM storage solutions: IBM FlashSystem A9000 and IBM FlashSystem A9000R, IBM FlashSystem V9000, IBM FlashSystem 900, IBM DS8888, IBM Deep Flash 150 with Spectrum Scale and VersaStack offerings.

For more information, go here.


Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features and Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: @editingwhiz
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