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Capacity and Simplicity

Smart storage solutions let you have it all

Smart storage solutions let you have it all

Efficient Storage

The recent midrange storage offering, IBM Storwize* V7000, is a new member of the storage portfolio, built to offer new levels of efficiency. The product, announced Oct. 7 and available Nov. 12, leverages existing IBM hardware and software storage technologies to deliver a highly functioning system that’s both affordable and easy to manage.

One such technology is the storage virtualization capability already found in IBM SAN Volume Controller and XIV* Storage System. XIV is a 100-percent virtualized storage array and SAN Volume Controller extends storage virtualization to other IBM and even non-IBM disk systems. This technology allows companies to pool storage capacity logically and removes the physical barriers between resources. “Storage virtualization can make administrators twice as productive because they don’t have to manage as many separate systems and can increase disk utilization by up to 30 percent,” Vaughn says.

Another technology is automated storage tiering accomplished with IBM Easy Tier* software, which moves data to the appropriate storage medium to optimize performance and does so with no user interaction. This is great for companies looking to implement solid-state technology for workloads that require fast response times from the data center. Solid-state storage is much faster but also more expensive than hard drives; most companies can only afford to put a small amount of data on solid-state storage. Without something like Easy Tier, they’d have to spend considerable time and effort deciding which data will benefit most from it, Vaughn says. Customers could see performance improve up to 200 percent simply by using Easy Tier to migrate 2 percent of their data from hard disk to solid-state drives (SSDs), according to a published Storage Performance Council (SPC) benchmark (http://bit.ly/cXlH9Y). Available on the IBM System Storage DS8000* for some time, Easy Tier is now available for the first time in a midrange product.

IBM Storwize V7000 also employs thin-provisioning technology, which lets disk systems provide capacity to applications as needed. Without thin provisioning, administrators often overestimate the capacity applications require to ensure they don’t run out of disk storage. As a result, assigned storage goes largely unused. This capability means administrators don’t have to worry about the application running out of disk storage space or underutilizing storage resources. Other storage solutions, including IBM System Storage DS8000, the XIV Storage System and SAN Volume Controller, use this technology.

Other efficient storage offerings from IBM include deduplication in the ProtecTIER* family of virtual tape products and real-time compression, which Random Access Compression Engine (RACE) technology enables. For example, the average business stores more than 10 copies of every e-mail and its associated attachments. As weekly and monthly backups are performed, that e-mail can be stored more than 100 times, consuming more and more storage space. IBM data deduplication software can help ensure information is stored only once, and customers can store up to 25 TB of storage on 1 TB of physical storage, Vaughn says. Compression—software that shrinks data before it’s written to the storage system—can additionally reduce data capacity needs by 80 percent. Compression is available in the IBM Real-Time Compression Appliances STN6500 and STN6800. Compression and deduplication are different technologies with the shared goal of dramatically reducing physical data-storage requirements.

Natalie Boike is a former IBM Systems Magazine managing editor.



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