IBM Storage: Home Grown and Still Growing

IBM's storage capabilities come from home-grown technologies, as well as from acquisitions and input from other IBM groups such as Research and Software and from partners.

NEW YORK-IBM will continue to grow its storage capabilities with a combination of internal growth, acquisitions and partnering in light of emerging competition in the storage space, a high-ranking IBM official said.

At an IBM event here to announce new storage systems, Rod Adkins, senior vice president of IBM's Systems and Technology Group, said IBM will augment its storage capability in a variety of ways.

"We are investing heavily, and we will continue to invest heavily," Adkins said. "We are No. 2 in storage hardware, No. 2 in external storage, No. 1 in tape storage and No. 1 in archiving storage."

Moreover, "You should expect from us continued investment around organic development," Adkins said. "We will also continue to leverage certain partnerships, and we've been much more active around acquisition content. Our investment model is structured in a way that we are going to continue to compete for this space with a combination of organic development, partnerships and acquisitions."

Indeed, part of that "organic development" Adkins is referring to includes not only advancements coming out of IBM's Systems and Technology Group, but efforts from IBM Research and assistance from IBM's Software group among others, said Brian Truskowski, general manager of system storage and networking at IBM.

In an interview with eWEEK, Truskowski said, "We get a lot of innovation out of IBM Research. Like Easy Tier-that came out of IBM Research. They've done a lot of work for us around file systems and storage, and future-focused work around storage class memory. And they help us look at how we see system memory and SSD [solid-state drives] coming together over time."

IBM Research also helps direct the IBM storage team in terms of acquisitions. "They give us insight into potential acquisitions as well as partnership opportunities, and help tell us what holes we need to fill."

IBM System Storage Easy Tier software, which was invented by IBM Research and can improve performance by up to 200 percent, automatically moves the most active data (such as credit card transactions) to faster SSDs to prioritize and provide quick access to data for emerging workloads like analytics, while moving secondary data (less urgent data to be saved, for example, for regulatory requirements) to more cost-effective storage technologies.

IBM's storage team also works closely with IBM Software Group, Truskowski said. "That's absolutely critical," he said. "Our message around efficiency and cost improvement, that's an end-to-end discussion-not just hardware or software. We partner a lot with Tivoli. We do joint discussion involving product planning. And we make joint investments in research."

Alan Ganek, chief technology officer and vice president of strategy and technology for IBM Software Group, was in attendance at the event and spoke to how IBM software in conjunction with IBM's storage systems can help customers cut costs and add efficiencies.

For instance, Ganek said IBM's new Storwize V7000 along with IBM's Tivoli software leads to 40 percent less total cost of ownership than competing systems from competitors that do not leverage software such as IBM's Tivoli offerings.

"We're delighted to be partnering with our friends in the IBM hardware world," Ganek said.