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Storwize V7000 Offers High-Performance Storage Virtualization

Storwize V7000 Overview

The Storwize V7000 storage system is a high-performance, highly efficient and easy-to-use virtualized storage system consisting of a set of drive enclosures. It can feature up to two control enclosures and 18 expansion enclosures. It scales up to 480 disks and 480 TB of raw capacity. Control enclosures contain disk drives and two-node canisters. The control enclosure supports attachment of up to nine expansion enclosures with configurations up to 360 TB of physical storage capacities.

A collection of control enclosures managed as a single system is commonly referred as a clustered system, which allows block storage to both scale up and out, thus improving performance and capacity. On the other hand, expansion enclosures contain drives and are attached to control enclosures. Control enclosures include the serial-attached SCSI (SAS) interface hardware that enables the node canisters to use the drives from the expansion enclosures.

Storwize V7000 supports SAN interconnect over 8 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) for host and external storage connectivity and 1 GbE iSCSI host connectivity. Those with 10Gbps Ethernet ports also support attachment to next-generation Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) networks using FC over Ethernet (FCoE). This support enables the connection of Storwize V7000 to servers for host attachment and to other Storwize V7000 systems for clustering or for mirroring using FC or FCoE interfaces. The same ports may also be used for iSCSI server connections. On a similar note, VMware virtual environments can be improved with Storwize V7000 by using the vStorage API for Array Integration. This new API delegates certain VMware functions to the Storwize V7000 for enhanced performance. In the vSphere 4.1 release, this offload capability to Storwize V7000 supports full copy, block zeroing and hardware-assisted locking.

Value Add

Storwize V7000 adds value by improving storage efficiency using its intuitive and innovative technologies. These include:

  1. XIV-inspired GUI (via browser). It features icon-based navigation, informative graphics and visualization of physical systems to streamline storage tasks. Intuitive icons direct administrators to powerfully designed task areas where they can manage block clusters, configure remote mirroring sites, monitor storage and more. This easy-to-use GUI avoids cluttered screens and time-consuming navigation. It allows quick access to information like capacity, long-running tasks and system health. This results in unparalleled ease of management and efficiency.
  2. IBM Easy Tier. In a typical IT environment, most I/O operations are performed on the small subset of data. This poses the challenge to identify, match and serve this high-demand data from high-performing drives. With integrated Easy Tier technology, the system automatically identifies and migrates highly active data without disruption to SSDs. In Storwize V7000, a storage pool can contain data from two different tiers—SSDs and HDDs. In this environment Easy Tier automatically and continuously monitors workloads, identifies hot spots by measuring and analyzing statistics on performance and access activity and then places the hot data in SSDs and cold data on HDDs, all without I/O disruption. Thus it helps provide maximum storage efficiency and, in fact, provides three times the throughput with just 10 to 15 times of your data on SSDs.
  3. Real-time compression. There’s been a need to develop smart storage efficiency technologies to control the massive amounts of information companies generate within the currently available space. IBM’s real-time compression technology, Random Access Compression Engine (RACE), is based on the Lempel-Ziv lossless data compression algorithm that operates in real time. When a host sends a write request, it’s acknowledged by the write cache of the system, and then staged to the storage pool. As part of its staging, it passes through the compression engine, and is then stored in compressed format onto the storage pool. Writes are therefore acknowledged immediately after being received by the write cache, with compression occurring as part of the staging to internal or external physical storage. An organic part of the stack, RACE technology is implemented into the SVC and the Storwize V7000 thin provisioning layer. This newly integrated technology allows you to store five times more active data in your current data center.

Information Infrastructure

Storwize V7000 significantly improves storage efficiency and flexibility, and it’s integrated into the new IBM PureFlex System, offering easy-to-use and rapid deployment. With Storwize V7000, IBM has raised the bar by providing support for external storage virtualization, policy-based file management and data replication synchronously or asynchronously between systems for backup efficiency. At the heart of the PureFlex System, Storwize V7000 can become part of a highly efficient, highly capable, next-generation information infrastructure.

Ankur Agrrawal is a software developer in IBM STG India, who focuses on storage virtualization, cloud computing, computer architecture and OSs.

Subhojit Roy is a member of IBM SVC team. He has more than 19 years of experience in the core storage domain that includes storage virtualization and SAN technologies.

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