Strategic storage choices are more about the software than the hardware it happens to be running on at the moment. Do you agree?
In my post Change in the storage industry is coming – and it’s good! I shared why I think there is a trend toward radical simplification starting in the storage industry. IBM started the trend and others are sure to follow in bids to remain competitive. I’m continuing the discussion on what IBM has done. For other available posts in the series, look here.
With its February 2020 announcement of Storage Made Simple for Hybrid Multicloud, IBM introduced a strategic storage software platform, IBM Spectrum Virtualize, and an AI-infused management service, IBM Storage Insights, that operate on a family of enterprise storage systems spanning from entry to midrange to high-end, all engineered with the best from IBM Enterprise Design Thinking(1) to deliver great customer experiences. Spectrum Virtualize and Storage Insights can also be applied to over 500 heterogeneous on-premises storage systems and multiple public clouds to give IT managers consistency in storage operations across their hybrid multicloud.
Discussions about storage systems and their capabilities are often compartmentalized – here’s one storage system and what it does, here’s another storage system and what it does differently, etc. The radically simple idea IBM has introduced is that, with Spectrum Virtualize and Storage Insights, all the IBM FlashSystem storage from entry enterprise through to high-end enterprise, and all the other block storage you might have from other vendors, and the block storage you might use on multiple public clouds can all behave in a consistent manner. It’s an elegant approach. To keep these posts consumable in length, I’m going to introduce one of the platforms and a few of the consistent software capabilities in each post. A good place to start is with the IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC).
Now in its tenth generation, clients have been deploying Spectrum Virtualize on SVC for over a decade to bring the power of a strategic software foundation to over 500 on-premises storage systems from a wide mix of vendors. If you are interested in modernizing the storage you already have, this is a starting point.
Like all storage based on Spectrum Virtualize…
These systems make your storage simple to scale.
One of the enemies of storage efficiency is stranded pools of capacity. And an enemy of operational efficiency is a heterogeneous storage infrastructure. SAN Volume Controller helps defeat both enemies.
A single SAN Volume Controller cluster can combine up to 32 petabytes of storage capacity from over 500 different heterogeneous storage systems into a single pool of capacity. That capacity is presented as a single system, has a single point of management, and importantly a single set of APIs and procedures. Think of that for a moment. You have the freedom to maintain heterogeneous storage infrastructure, creating a little healthy competition between vendors, without the operational headaches that usually follow. And you can apply advanced features like encryption, data reduction, enhanced high-availability, and connection to the cloud across all your storage even if its an older model that predates that sort of capability. Then, when it comes time to add more capacity or shift your vendor strategy, no big deal. Just insert the new and remove the old. Your data can be migrated without disruption and your operations remain consistent. It’s that simple.
These systems make your storage simply operationally resilient.
Ensuring your data stays available to your applications is the primary function of storage. When you are operating storage with Spectrum Virtualize, you’re covered. In fact, for the most stringent requirements, IBM guarantees it.
Regardless of your choice in storage hardware vendors, Spectrum Virtualize offers a consistent approach to traditional 2-site and 3-site replication configurations using your choice of synchronous or asynchronous data communication. There is also IBM Hyperswap. When properly deployed by IBM Lab Services, IBM will guarantee 100% data availability. That’s not five-9’s (99.999%) or six-9’s (99.9999%), it’s 100% availability.
Finally, Spectrum Virtualize running on the SVC offers unique enhanced high-availability (HA) configurations that deliver zero-impact failover between two to four sites and the possibility of fifth-site replication that can include public cloud.
Check back for the next post where I’ll introduce FlashSystem high-end enterprise storage and a few more of the Spectrum Virtualize capabilities found across the hybrid multicloud.
What do you think? Are strategic storage choices more about the software than the hardware it happens to be running on at the moment? Join the conversation – leave a comment!
(1) IBM Enterprise Design Thinking is a best practice that IBM teaches and certifies practitioners on across the industry. It is the method we use to ensure our offerings deliver great experiences to our customers.