IBM Spectrum Archive – Ultra-low Cost Storage for Retaining Data

In my last several posts on members of the IBM Spectrum Storage family, I’ve talked a lot about the growth in data that is forcing IT managers to think differently about storage. Much of the data growth is being fueled by new workloads and their seemingly insatiable need for data to process. But in many enterprises, even more of the data growth is the result of simply keeping data around – stuff like regulatory archives you have to keep and asset archives you just want to keep. As this type of inactive data continues to grow, questions arise about the best way to store and manage it without losing many of the conveniences of online storage. This is where IBM Spectrum Archive excels, balancing the convenience of file system access with the ultra-low cost and flexibility of tape.

My daughter is a student at Texas A&M University, and is her daddy’s pride and joy. She’s part of the millennial generation, a demographic who can’t remember a world without almost unlimited access to digital information. I don’t recall a mental image of her without a smartphone, tablet or laptop in the picture. For her, the answer to every question is found in those devices. Every daily activity – listening to music as she runs, working on school assignments, talking with friends, capturing pictures or videos of important events, watching a movie, and a myriad of other apps – is done with those devices. In her world, a television set is just a bigger screen for Chromecast and a USB flash drive is something you use when Dropbox or Google Docs won’t do the job. Like, for example, when she needs to carry a document into a print center or load a presentation on her professor’s laptop to present to the class. It’s her version of data interchange.

The digitally native world my daughter lives in is what’s responsible for the tremendous data growth we are seeing in IT. These are the customers that business is trying to reach and the employees who are increasingly developing new workloads. They don’t use terms like “data archive”, but they do it for stuff like pictures that they just want to keep – and they use places like Dropbox that don’t really work for most corporate applications. They also don’t say “data interchange”, but they have grown up doing it on media like USB flash drives that don’t have the scale required by most businesses. As they bring their expectations into business, what they need is a super-sized alternative with reliability, security and duty cycle fit for business IT. That’s IBM Spectrum Archive.

In my post IBM Spectrum Scale – Built For Efficiency, Optimized For Speed, I introduced a software defined file and object store that includes rich policy for optimizing data placement across tiers of online storage. With Spectrum Scale and common building block storage, a single namespace can house something like 9 quintillion files. In my daughters mind, that’s like a super-sized business IT alternative to the storage on one of her personal devices. IBM Spectrum ArchiveThink about it for a second. For many datacenters, 9 quintillion files could represent all their data – all of it – neatly organized in a single namespace so it’s easy to find and easy to manage. While it’s cool for applications and people to be able to access data through a neatly organized file system interface, not all data needs to be housed in prime online real estate. It’s like the pictures on my daughters’ phone – easy to find, but when space on that prime real estate gets tight, the older pictures need to be “archived” someplace else.  The super-sized business IT alternative is IBM Spectrum Archive plugged-in to IBM Spectrum Scale.

Here’s the scenario.

  • You’ve got a pile of files in a single IBM Spectrum Scale namespace and you’ve leveraged policy to optimize data placement across online storage like Flash and spinning disk.
  • Some of your data needs to be archived (you’re a regulated business or you’ve just got intellectual property records you want to keep). So you plug in IBM Spectrum Archive to add a tape tier. The same policies are now extended to automatically place the right data on tape. In doing the selection, there’s all kind of granularity in the metadata you can write the policies against.
  • A tape tier requires some unique handling that Spectrum Archive seamlessly provides. Tapes can be grouped into pools, files can be replicated across multiple pools, and media is reclaimed as files move on.
  • The wow factor in all this is that workloads and users who had their files in Spectrum Scale don’t lose the neatly organized file system interface when files are archived to tape with Spectrum Archive. It’s transparent. All the files are still there in the common namespace.
  • For data interchange, a tape and its files can be exported from the namespace – basically checking those files out. Conversely, a Spectrum Archive tape can be checked in too (imported), and its files automatically appear in the Spectrum Scale namespace. Encrypting interchange tapes is also an option with the keys managed by IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager.

Tape entered the IT landscape in the baby boom generation. With software defined storage and Spectrum Archive, it continues as a core storage media for millennials.

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IBM Spectrum Protect – Crash Diet for Your Data Protection Budget

My career in storage started back in the late 1980’s when the IT world revolved around the computer system and everything else was considered a sub-system (I guess in some ways that made me a sub-administrator). The discipline of managing storage assets was just taking hold and the first order of business was to ensure all the corporate data was protected. Data that fed mainframe applications topped the list for most organizations but data associated with mission critical client-server workloads was growing rapidly. It was into this world that the great-great-grandfather of IBM Spectrum Protect was born.

Trivia question
Trivia question – leave a comment to play: Who can name the complete family lineage of IBM Spectrum Protect? Bonus points for expanding all the acronyms.

 

The world of IT has evolved a lot since then. Data is no longer a sub-thought, it is central – the new currency of business. The race to simply get all the important data protected is largely over. Spectrum Protect is now a highly evolved one-stop family that IT managers use to do that job. It is tightly integrated with workloads like databases, email systems and ERP applications; with the hypervisors they run in; with the file systems and storage devices they store their data on; and with the data capture tools that surround them such as snapshot and replication. It also includes advanced data reduction techniques like deduplication and compression.  Check out the live demo!

IBM Spectrum Protect dashboardThe question of simply ensuring your important data can be protected has been answered. The question now for most of the clients I talk to is just how efficiently the job of data protection can be done. They want to minimize the budget for data copies so they can shift investment to new business growth initiatives.

A few years ago IBM acquired Butterfly Software, a small company in the United Kingdom who had developed some BIG thoughts around communicating the economic benefits brought by certain approaches to storage. Butterfly had developed what they called an Analysis Engine Report (AER) that followed a straight forward thought process.

  1. Using a very light weight collector, gather real data about the existing storage infrastructure at a potential customer.
  2. Using that data, explain in good detail what the as-is effectiveness of the environment is and what costs will look like in five years time if the customer continues on the current approach.
  3. Show what a transformed storage infrastructure would look like compared to the as-is approach, and more importantly what future costs could look like compared to continuing as-is.

Using the Butterfly technology, IBM has partnered with clients to analyze thousands of different infrastructures scattered across every industry in most parts of the world and comprising exabytes of data. In all that analysis, our clients have discovered some remarkable things about software-defining storage and IBM’s ability to help transform the economic future of storage. One area of specialty for Butterfly is backup environments.

When compared to as-is competitive backup environments, transforming to an IBM Financial Belt Tightening 8595689Spectrum Protect approach can be, on average, 38% more efficient.  Of course your results may vary. For example, when we look at  just the mass of results from as-is Symantec NetBackup or CommVault Simpana or EMC NetWorker environments, each shows that transforming to a Spectrum Protect approach produces different, and in these three cases at least, somewhat stronger economic savings. We’ve got data by industry and for many other competitive backup approaches but you get the picture. Upgrading a backup environment to IBM Spectrum Protect is like a crash diet for your data protection budget. (Tweet this)

The best way to see for yourself is to contact IBM or an IBM Business Partner and ask for a Butterfly Backup AER study.

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IBM Spectrum Control – Intelligent Analytics for Managing Storage

There is a lot that gets said about the huge data growth IT managers face both from traditional workloads we have all grown up with and from new generation workloads like mobile, social, big data and analytics. It’s well understood that there is a mismatch between this growth and the budgets that are allocated to deal with the problem. For years the dominant conversation has been on lowering the cost of the raw capacity and on packing it with as much data as possible. There’s certainly a lot to be gained from lower-cost physical infrastructure, tiering, and technologies like thin provisioning, compression and deduplication. But as petabyte storage farms become commonplace and workloads become more sensitive to service levels, the job of balancing efficiency with performance, and performance with workload requirements becomes much more intense. That’s where IBM Spectrum Control excels – providing IT managers with intelligent analytics for managing storage.IBM Spectrum Control

Cost reduction and optimization

Most modern storage systems include tools that offer administrators a view of what’s going on under their covers – health of the system, performance of the system, utilization of the system, and so on. Two challenges arise for administrators responsible for storage estates of any consequential size.

  1. Consolidating a view of all storage: Datacenter storage is often a mix of vendors, tiers, and protocols like block and file. Tools included with individual storage systems don’t offer a broad enough perspective. Imagine being able to scan the complete environment and quickly identify capacity that isn’t yet allocated to a workload, or perhaps it is allocated but hasn’t seen any I/O activity in the last month. You could reallocate this idle capacity to maximize utilization. Imagine in that same scan identifying capacity that is working hard for you – and being able to forecast its future growth. No more guesswork. Imagine being able to monitor performance regardless of what storage tier or vendor you chose. You could apply that historical usage knowledge to tiering decisions and reduce cost.
  2. Managing consumer-oriented service levels: Businesses are intrerested in service levels for applications and business lines, not for pieces of hardware on the datacenter floor. Health, capacity, utilization, tiering… these are certainly all interesting at the storage system level, but their importance to the business is highlighted in more consumer-centric groupings like applications or business lines. Imagine being able to manage storage service levels – regardless of what hardware was in use – for an application like SAP or a business line like Corporate Accounting. When the financial quarter close was running (like it is in IBM at the time of this writing), you could show how the storage infrastructure associated with that business line was behaving.

We think this level of cost reduction and optimization should be quickly available to all storage administrators – whether they have deployed software defined storage like IBM Spectrum Virtualize or IBM Spectrum Scale, or are still operating with traditional hardware-centric arrays. That’s why we’re making IBM Spectrum Control available as a Software-as-a-Service offering called Storage Insights. Take a look and learn about the beta.

Intelligent Analytics

Clients who prefer to deploy Spectrum Control software on premises have the added opportunity to exploit advanced analytics for optimizing cost (one of my personal favorites). Here’s the scenario.

Suppose you are one of those IT managers I described above who are tasked with using multiple tiers of storage to balance efficiency with performance, and performance with workload requirements.  You’ve got a substantial storage estate so the prospects seem overwhelming. You’ve deployed Spectrum Control and you’re about to experience the value of analytics first hand.

For this example let’s suppose you have three pools of tier-1 storage and one pool of tier-2 storage that you want to analyze for re-tiering.IBM Spectrum Control storage poolsSpectrum Control discovers that one of the volumes in the tier-2 pool is over utilized. If it is moved to a tier-1 pool with sufficient performance capacity, the performance of the volume can be improved. IBM Spectrum Control overutilization analysisThe performance of the target pools are then analyzed and recommendations generated. The recommendations involve up-tiering the volume from the tier-2 pool to a tier-1 pool. You can review the recommendations or leverage the transparent data migration capability of Spectrum Virtualize to automatically move the volume to the tier-1 pool. IBM Spectrum Control uptierUsing a similar analysis, Spectrum Control can make recommendations to down-tier underutilized volumes that are occupying more expensive storage than is necessary. IBM Spectrum Control downtierA single tier analysis can result in multiple volume movements in which volumes are moved to both lower and higher storage tiers. You can also schedule analysis tasks to run at specified intervals so you regularly monitor opportunities for re-tiering.IBM Spectrum Control storage tieringAnother form of optimization is balancing. Pools in the same tier can have both low and high activity levels. But your goal might be to keep all the pools in a given tier close to the same utilization. Spectrum Control can identify the average utilization for a tier and specific pools that are deviating from that utilization by, say, more than 10%.IBM Spectrum Control pool balancint analysisBy analyzing pools on the same tier, Spectrum Control identifies opportunities to move volumes and optimize overall utilization of your storage assets. Again, when used in concert with Spectrum Virtualize, these volumes can be moved transparently.IBM Spectrum Control pool balancingThat’s intelligent analytics for managing storage. If you are an IT manager responsible for making the most of your storage investment, consider IBM Spectrum Control and Storage Insights.

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IBM Spectrum Virtualize – Traditional SAN Storage at Twice the Efficiency

There’s a great deal of buzz these days around newer cloud, mobile, social, analytic and Big Data workloads whose storage requirements are causing IT managers to re-think storage infrastructure. But what about the more traditional workloads like transaction systems, email, supply chain, HR, and virtual servers? According to the most recent IDC Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker , IT managers continue to spend more on traditional SAN storage – the infrastructure of choice for these workloads – than on NAS, IP SAN and direct attach arrays combined. With over half of the worldwide spend on external storage in play, there’s a lot of efficiency to be gained. IBM Spectrum Virtualize is software defined storage that can deliver twice the efficiency on existing SAN infrastructure.

It can be argued that IBM Spectrum Virtualize is the product that gave birth to the software defined storage movement. I started working with this product back in 2003 (at the time it was called IBM SAN Volume Controller) before the term Software Defined Storage had been coined. A couple years ago as folks were starting to talk about the concept of software defined, I posed a mostly rhetorical question Has IBM created a software-defined storage platform? IBM Spectrum Virtualize embodies the concept and is a cornerstone of the IBM Spectrum Storage software defined family.

IBM Spectrum Virtualize servicesIn every geography of the world, across every industry and size of enterprise, there are IT managers who have built SAN storage infrastructures with EMC, or HP, or Hitachi, or IBM, or any of a number of other vendors, but who have also software defined those infrastructures with IBM Spectrum Virtualize and are enjoying extraordinary benefits. It’s really not very complicated to understand where the savings come from.

When you choose to software define your SAN infrastructure with IBM Spectrum Virtualize:

  • You save money on software licensing costs. SAN storage vendors often charge you for advanced capabilities like snapshot, replication, tiering, and even device drivers. Choosing to software define means you don’t need to pay for these with your SAN storage.
  • You pack more data onto the physical disks you own. SAN disk arrays have boundaries. They are individually wrapped in sheet metal meaning workloads attached to one array can run out of space while workloads attached to another can have an over abundance of capacity. Choosing to software define means the boundaries disappear. Capacity is pooled together and overall utilization is improved. What’s more, IBM Spectrum Virtualize compresses data in real time allowing you to pack as much as 5x the data in the same capacity footprint. This validation from ESG was published about the time the industry was figuring out the idea of software defined.

  • You can choose lower cost disk arrays. SAN storage comes in various flavors. Generally, the higher priced physical arrays are where the enterprise class services are found. Many datacenters have an over abundance of these high end disk arrays simply because their workloads need the more robust services. Choosing to software define decouples the services from the physical storage. With IBM Spectrum Virtualize, you have access to the same enterprise services regardless of what storage tier or vendor you choose for capacity. And Spectrum Virtualize can transparently move data up and down those tiers to keep I/O patterns optimized. In a coming post I’ll talk about the intelligent analytics from IBM Spectrum Control that can help optimize your tiering choices and timing.
  • You can adopt new storage technology more quickly. There’s always something new in SAN storage. More dense disk drives resulting in lower cost per terabyte. Flash storage with much higher throughput. Integrating these new technologies into your SAN and getting your data migrated has been a perennial challenge for IT managers for as long as I’ve been in the storage industry.  Choosing to software define eliminates the problem. IBM Spectrum Virtualize can non-disruptively move data across tiers, vendors, and technologies of SAN storage. If you find a new storage type you want to exploit, plug it into your SAN tell Spectrum Virtualize to move data to it. If you have an old array going off lease, add the replacement to your SAN and tell Spectrum Virtualize to move the data. Software defined means these activities happen without interruption to workloads that are up and running, accessing the data.
  • You can implement ultra high availability using any type of physical storage. Datacenters with the most demanding availability requirements have traditionally been shackled to the most expensive SAN disk arrays because that’s where the most robust replication and fail-over / fail back capabilities were offered. Choosing to software define means you can implement those capabilities on lower cost physical storage. With IBM Spectrum Virtualize, you can implement multi-site ultra high availability configurations including sites at distance that operate as an active-active pair. The benefit of software defined is that this can be done regardless of your choice in vendor or tier of storage.

If you are an IT manager responsible for traditional SAN infrastructure, consider the common functionality, management, and mobility across heterogeneous storage types that can come from software defining your SAN.

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IBM Spectrum Accelerate – Enterprise Storage in Minutes

For years, enterprise datacenters have been dominated by traditional disk arrays, things IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker would categorize as High-end and Midrange disk. Now, I don’t have anything against this kind of storage, in fact my company makes some of the most competitive offerings in these categories. But my last two posts Introducing IBM Spectrum Storage – Inside Perspective and IBM Spectrum Scale – Built for Efficiency, Optimized for Speed have centered on the idea that a shift is being forced by the scale, performance, and cost requirements of workloads like cloud, analytic, mobile, social, and Big Data. Infrastructure shiftThe storage industry needs a new way of doing things that utilizes much lower cost common building blocks with almost unlimited increments in scalability. I’m going to stay on that theme one more time as we talk about IBM Spectrum Accelerate, software defined storage that can help you construct enterprise storage in minutes.

The kind of datacenters being built by both enterprises and the public cloud pioneers for newer workloads are filled with much lower cost common building blocks. Imagine fields of identical computers each with some internal disk capacity. Cloud management software based on OpenStack dynamically schedules workloads onto hypervisors across this field of capacity. Workloads appear, storage is allocated, virtual networks are configured, workloads are dynamically scaled and relocated for optimization, and then they disappear when all the work is complete. This environment is hostile to the relative rigidity of traditional SAN storage. And yet it depends on many of the enterprise storage capabilities that SANs have matured over the years.

The genius of IBM Spectrum Accelerate is that it takes the complete set of enterprise storage capabilities available on one of the industry’s most competitive High-end disk arrays, and enables IT managers to leverage it on common building block hardware. You see, if you were to pull back the covers on the IBM XIV storage system you would discover that the forward-thinking engineers who architected it understood the demands that these newer workloads would bring. Inside the XIV you would find common building blocks – computers with disks – and intelligent software managing them.  IBM is the first company in the industry to extract intelligence directly from its traditional storage hardware products enabling clients to use it as software.

Think about the scenario. An IT manager has created a common building block physical infrastructure for new generation workloads. No SAN, no High-end or Midrange disk arrays. Just a field of low-cost, common building block computers – some with internal disk capacity – and a hypervisor. Workloads are being deployed in virtual machines, but these workloads need enterprise storage services. So the IT manager deploys IBM Spectrum Accelerate software into virtual machines on some of those common building blocks that have internal disk capacity. What happens next is the stuff legends are made of.

IBM Spectrum Accelerate forms those common building blocks and their disks into an iSCSI storage grid. Virtual volumes are spread across all the common building blocks so that all resources are used evenly, including memory in the servers which is formed into a distributed cache. Spectrum Accelerate storage gridFor robustness, each logical partition is stored in at least two copies on separate building blocks, so that if a part of a disk drive, an entire disk drive, or an entire building block fails, the data is still available. Since all resources in the grid are evenly utilized, all resources are engaged in quickly getting the system back to redundancy following a failure. If after the initial deployment, the IT manager wants to scale capacity, Spectrum Accelerate software can be deployed in virtual machines on additional building blocks. When the new building block joins the grid, data is automatically redistributed to maintain optimal use of resources. And this software defined storage system, deployed in minutes, includes all the enterprise storage capabilities IT managers have come to expect – thin provisioning, writable snapshots, synchronous and asynchronous replication with consistency groups, and failover/fail back.

If you are an IT manager, consider the rapid flexibility and potential cost benefits of this software defined approach to constructing enterprise storage.

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IBM Spectrum Scale – Built For Efficiency, Optimized For Speed

The pioneers in the cloud movement have blazed a new trail when it comes to physical infrastructure. I briefly discussed their Pets vs Cattle approach in my post Introducing IBM Spectrum Storage – Inside Perspective. These guys thought about the scale, performance, and cost requirements that would be driven by workloads like cloud, analytic, mobile, social, and Big Data, and they decided that traditional infrastructures had to change. IBM Spectrum Scale Built for efficiency Optimized for speedWe needed a new way of doing things that utilized much lower cost common building blocks with almost unlimited increments in scalability. Something built for efficiency and optimized for speed. A software defined storage layer that crafts these common storage building blocks into massively scalable and deeply capable storage systems is IBM Spectrum Scale.

To do the job, this layer of storage software must have a couple of important attributes.

  1. Software defined storage has to cobble together common building blocks into a reliable storage system that quickly delivers data to workloads over a variety of protocols. The technology behind IBM Spectrum Scale began in IBM research over 20 years ago and earned its stripes with some of the most demanding scientific, digital media, and Big Data workloads on the planet. IBM Spectrum Scale common building blocksToday, it’s the software defined storage layer behind many of the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world. With the rise of cloud, analytic, mobile, and social workloads, we have been adapting additional file and object protocols to this extreme scale and performance. IBM Spectrum Scale can now deliver data over POSIX, NFS, a Hadoop connector and the OpenStack Swift object interface with more protocols being added regularly. I’ll talk about block protocols in future posts on IBM Spectrum Virtualize and IBM Spectrum Accelerate.
  2. Software defined storage has to deliver the kind of data management and security capabilities required to keep common building block infrastructures running efficiently. Snapshots, replication and encryption have become table stakes. IT managers now look for distinguishing characteristics like sophisticated tiering policies that can take disk-based data and move it ‘up’ to Flash storage or Flash cache on the computer where the workload is running, and ‘down’ to tape and the cloud. You can find all these capabilities in IBM Spectrum Scale and that’s good, but they are capabilities that have a somewhat single-site feel to them. “My data is here on-premises – make a snapshot, encrypt it, move it to another tier”. The cloud adds a more global dimension to storage. IBM Spectrum Scale AFMIBM Spectrum Scale capitalizes on this idea buy enabling IT managers to connect Spectrum Scale instances across an enterprise or around the world to create a single inventory of data with policies that define the location and flow of files – moving the right data to the right place at the right time [Learn more here]. Importantly, because this global namespace can house something like 9 quintillion files (did I mention high scale?) for varying workloads with different data management needs, IBM Spectrum Scale enables IT managers to apply data management and security policies to individual sets of files.

As the public cloud pioneers observed, a key is the ability to utilize common building block storage hardware. I’ll give you a practical example. IBM Spectrum Scale is software defined storage available as software, appliance or cloud service. IBM Elastic Storage ServerAn example appliance is the IBM Elastic Storage Server which combines Spectrum Scale software with dense, low cost, common building block disk drawers. The Elastic Storage Server also includes IBM Spectrum Scale RAID, a software implementation of declustered RAID where RAID is done at a block level as opposed to a disk level. As disks continue to get larger, traditional RAID begins to struggle and rebuild times can be measured in hours or days. IBM Spectrum Scale RAID measures rebuild times in minutes. Think about the implications for IT managers – a massively scalable and deeply capable storage system without a SAN or RAID controller, just software defined storage and a pile of dense JBOD drawers.  There is indeed a big shift taking place in the storage market.

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Introducing IBM Spectrum Storage – Inside Perspective

Blank Direction GuideEvery once in a long while there are discoveries that, well, change everything. Stuff like discovering the earth isn’t flat, it’s round. People talked about that possibility for centuries but it wasn’t until a Ferdinand Magellan expedition stepped out and circumnavigated the globe that everything changed. In some ways, today’s announcement of IBM® Spectrum Storage™  has done the same thing for the idea of software defined storage.

A good deal of the change we are experiencing in IT can be traced back to the advent of cloud computing. The pioneers in the cloud movement were public cloud providers like Amazon, RackSpace and SoftLayer. When compared to traditional IT infrastructures used by most private enterprises, these guys approached infrastructure in a completely new way. Microsoft engineer William Baker is credited for famously describing these two differing approaches as Pets vs Cattle. The analogy goes something like this:

In a traditional infrastructure, you think of machines as pets. You give them names and care for their well-being. When they get ill, you nurse them back to health. In a cloud infrastructure, you think of your machines as cattle. You give them numbers because they are all identical, and when one gets ill, you shoot it and get another cow.

The observation public cloud providers made was that cloud infrastructures should use cattle.

 

BOOM!  

 

 

From that point, the industry transition was on. Common building block hardware was on the rise. The ideas of availability and recovery, of scale and performance were being built into software rather than depending on a more expensive physical infrastructure to provide it.  Newer workloads for mobile, social, analytics and Big Data were being built with an expectation of software defined cattle infrastructure. For IT managers, it represented a big move that was going to take some re-thinking. For vendors like IBM who clients trust to help them through transitions like this, it represented an opportunity to focus.

compass 2014In 2014, you may have noticed a number of really bold moves IBM made that were all, in some way, tied to this transition. IBM’s System x server division joined Lenovo accelerating their journey toward becoming the #1 provider of x86 building block hardware. The OpenPOWER Foundation was established making IBM’s POWER microprocessor architecture and software available to open development. This is helping the industry build advanced server, networking, storage and graphics technology aimed at delivering more choice, control and flexibility to developers of next-generation cloud data centers. And GLOBALFOUNDRIES announced their intention to acquire IBM’s commercial semiconductor technology business allowing IBM to better focus on fundamental semiconductor research and the development of systems that will be used with the new cloud workloads. Innovation AheadCoupled with these moves, IBM has directed its considerable innovation in areas of client value where we excel, one of those being Software Defined Storage.

The industry has been talking about the idea of software defined storage for a while. For that matter, I’ve been talking about software defined storage for a while. But compared to today, this was all sort of like people talking about the world being round. Analysts proposed concepts, some vendors marketed their visions, there were even a few fairly successful point products…until today. Today, somebody stepped out and actually delivered the first comprehensive family of software defined storage offerings that can centrally manage yottabytes of data on more than 300 different storage devices – whether SAN and NAS “pet” infrastructure or common building block “cattle” infrastructure…  and everything changed.

The leaderAlready recognized as the #1 provider of software defined storage platforms, IBM’s introduction of IBM Spectrum Storage incorporates more than 700 patents and is backed by plans to invest more than $1 billion over the next five years toward propelling the use of software defined storage in any form – as software, appliance or cloud service. In coming weeks, I’ll be highlighting the members of the IBM Spectrum Storage software defined family.

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