IBM Q4 2019 Storage Announcements – Simple, Flexible, and Cost-Effective

Executive Summary
IBM’s Q4 2019 storage announcements highlight several key benefits: simplicity, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. IBM has responded to feedback from a broad cross-section of customers and business partners, introducing new solutions and innovations that build on an already impressive storage product line. Let’s look at a few examples.

Simplicity –The new IBM Elastic Storage System 3000 offers a turnkey approach to deploying IBM Spectrum Scale that can be installed, configured and up and running in 3 hours. Capacity (starting under 25 TB) and, equally as important – bandwidth (starting at 40GB/sec) are added in incremental building blocks – providing exabyte scalability and unlimited throughput, making it ideal for AI and Big Data workloads and applications.

Flexibility – IBM Spectrum Discover can now enable the creation of giant metadata catalogs that discover, index and label data files so that analytics and AI can be performed on back-up data sets using IBM Spectrum Protect. By extending this capability beyond primary data sets (Spectrum Discover supports IBM Spectrum Scale, IBM Cloud Object Storage, EMC Isilon, and NetApp Filers for primary storage), customers can gain richer, deeper insight into data.

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus support provides data protection for containers (RedHat OpenShift) and additional cloud environments (VMware Cloud on AWS) giving customers even more flexibility and extending IBM’s hybrid multi-cloud strategy.

Cost-effectiveness – The IBM TS7770 Virtual Tape Library replaces the IBM TS7760 and is focused on mainframe Z15 environments. When coupled with the DS8900, the TS7770 can “air-gap” critical data acting as an Object Store target, as a Virtual Tape Library, or out to a tape library or cloud configuration – providing a flexible solution that offers improved storage economics and seamless cloud integration.

IBM Storage Utility has been enhanced with a subscription service and additional utility offerings for software, providing customers with more options that can be tailored to changing budget and capacity requirements.

Here is a more detailed look at the Q4 announcements.

IBM Q4 Storage Offerings – A Closer Look

IBM Elastic Storage System 3000
• Same storage subsystem as the FlashSystem 9100, Storwize V7000 Gen3and V5100, but coupled with IBM Spectrum Scale Version 5
• End-to-end NVMe Storage (Fibre channel, Infiniband, and IP in 2020) for scale-out data management
• Containerized installation for easy, quick deployment and incremental growth and scalability
• 40GB/sec and 370TB per 2U system
• IBM Spectrum Scale Erasure coding
• Supported with AI solutions built on IBM Power, Z and LinuxONE

IBM Spectrum Discover
• Search and activation of cold data in back-up files, ideal for analytics and AI applications when used with IBM Spectrum Protect
• Community-supported application catalog extends capabilities with third-party extensions
• Automatic identification of duplicate files, improving storage utilization and storage economics
• Support for NetAPP

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus
• Container back-up, recovery and retention for Red Hat OpenShift and Kubernetes
• Two modes of operation – CLI and full GUI support in 2020
• Support for VMware Cloud on AWS, providing unified data protection for VMware in multi-cloud environments

IBM TS7770 Virtual Tape Library
• Ideal add-on to IBM Z Platform with six-nines availability and seven-nines when used with the DS8900F
• 50% savings in IBM Z CPU utilization with DS 8900F Object Store
• CAPEX reduced by 12% with 20% higher disk density and 14% lower energy consumption than previous version
• 100% encryption of all grid data, at rest, in the cloud and in-flight over Ethernet
• Transparent cloud tiering with “air-gap” storage (off-line storage) or “air-gapping” to tape to help prevent malware and ransomware attacks
• Close to 0 second failover when using grid configuration

IBM Storage Utility
• “Pay-as-you-grow” storage pricing with no commitment and cancellation anytime after 12 months with IBM Subscription for Storage
o Attractive option for MSP’s and CSP’s
o Available for IBM FlashSystem 9100, IBM Storwize V7000, and IBM Elastic Storage Server
o Available now in North America; worldwide in 2020
• Pay for use software available soon- starting with IBM Spectrum Protect

Summary Observations
With this set of storage announcements, IBM expands its offerings to address the growth in AI and big data analytics applications, offering flexible, cost-effective solutions that can start small and grow exponentially. IBM Elastic Storage System 3000 provides both the scale and bandwidth required for these data-intensive applications, while IBM Spectrum Discover and IBM Spectrum Protect provide access to back-up data for analytics and deeper, more comprehensive business insight.

In addition, these announcements reinforce IBM’s hybrid multi-cloud strategy. For example, the TS7770 offers an excellent extension to the IBM z15, especially when coupled with the DS8900, enabling data storage in the cloud or on the TS7770. IBM continues to add support for additional cloud environments and container management platforms.

Finally, IBM is offering more flexible pricing alternatives for storage systems and, in the future, storage software offerings – an attractive alternative for service providers and small businesses. Simple, flexible and cost-effective – a “win-win’ for both IBM and its customers.