IBM Intros Software-Defined Storage Platform

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2014-05-12 Print this article Print

Businesses using Elastic Storage can manage, access and analyze data of any type—structured and unstructured—on any storage hardware and on systems from IBM and its competitors.

"So the new technology can support a range of computational processes, including real-time analytics on virtually any form of data regardless of the underlying storage technologies, platforms and vendors," Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT Research, wrote in a post on the firm's blog. "Practically speaking, this means that rather than choosing/moving data to individual systems for transaction processing, analytics and other efforts, Elastic Storage can automatically and simultaneously support multiple workloads on the data residing in storage pools without requiring duplication or transference."

IBM appears to be targeting the new offering at such applications as risk analysis and scientific research, "cutting-edge workloads where the need for raw performance often overrides price considerations," King wrote. "As a result, we expect interest in the new solution will mostly reside, at least initially, among companies and organizations already familiar with IBM's Watson, GPFS and other technologies."

The target customer group could expand, he wrote. IBM initially is offering Elastic Cloud as an on-premises solution, but it will be available as a service through the vendor's SoftLayer cloud later in the year.

Chip maker Cypress Semiconductor has been using Elastic Storage after an experiment with an open-source storage solution didn't work out, according to Alan Malek, IT director at the company. Cypress had recently seen "an explosion of data," and needed to find a platform that was resilient and scalable, and would let engineers quickly access the information they need. The company has gotten 8.5 to 13 times the performance over previous technologies, Malek said.

"We have so much more flexibility," he said during the IBM event. "Our applications do not have storage as a bottleneck anymore."

The Elastic Storage technology gave Watson tremendous scaling capabilities during the "Jeopardy" show. Watson could leverage the Elastic Storage technology to get access to 200 million pages of unstructured and structured data, and about 5 terabytes of information—about 200 million pages of data—were loaded into the system's memory in a few minutes, Thomas said during the event. IBM researchers found that the storage solution can scan 10 billion files on a single cluster in 43 minutes.



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