IBM and NAND flash storage haven't been used in the same sentence for too long a time.
IBM, for all the years it has been in business, didn't have its own solid-state storage in house until it bought Texas Memory Systems and its RamSan product line in 2012. Big Blue took that IP and came out with the first FlashSystem arrays in April 2013 as part of its Flash Ahead initiative—the lead project in its $1 billion investment in flash optimization research and development.
Three years later, the enterprise IT world has moved in a big way to flash, and so has IBM, which now has to contend with a raft of younger flash storage companies such as SanDisk Fusion-io, EMC XtremIO, Violin Memory, Nimble, Kaminario, 3PAR StorServ, Nimbus, Pure Storage, Skyera, Tegile and Solidfire.
IBM has put that $1 billion investment to good use. On April 27, Big Blue announced the latest versions of its flash storage lineup, unveiling an end-to-end flash portfolio with features specifically aimed at cloud environments.
What Exactly Is New in the FlashSystem Line
--The FlashSystem A9000 comes fully configured, which helps drive down the cost of implementing an all-flash environment. This provides a simple onramp for flash storage for IT service providers, the company said.
--The FlashSystem A9000R, with its grid architecture, provides scaling up to the petabyte range—ideal for cloud service providers.
The FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R also incorporate data reduction features, including pattern removal, deduplication and real-time compression, in addition to IBM FlashCore technology to deliver consistent low-latency performance. They are priced as low as $1.50 per gigabyte.
--Optimized all-flash systems for enterprise-class servers: With the all-flash IBM DS8888, customer databases and data-intensive applications are accelerated, resulting in improved business performance and customer satisfaction.
In addition to cloud-enabled features, IBM flash storage systems are also aimed at solving complexity problems in data management. IBM's new Hyper-Scale Manager is a simplified user interface that streamlines data movement and can manage more than 100 nodes from a single user interface.
New User Interface for Flash Storage
Developed in collaboration with clients and leveraging IBM Design Thinking, the Hyper-Scale Manager reduces mouse clicks by more than 50 percent and eliminates time wasted toggling between the user interface and corresponding files, the company said.
The all-flash systems announced April 27 join IBM's existing all-flash portfolio that includes FlashSystem 900 and V9000, which also run IBM's FlashCore filesystem.