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October 7, 2010

IBM refreshes storage biz

Big Blue introduces new midrange offering, tiering and deduplication software

By Steve Evans

IBM has revamped its storage line and unveiled a new midrange appliance that Big Blue says will help SMBs to manage growing data and storage requirements.

The IBM Storwize V7000 system uses the GUI borrowed from the high-end XIV system, and is said to simplify management and administration tasks to the extent that a user setting up the system on the default settings can do so in 10 clicks, IBM said at a press briefing held to announce the launch.

Storwize runs IBM System Storage Easy Tier software, an update to its SAN Volume Controller, to automatically move the most active data to faster and more reliable solid-state drives (SSDs) for quicker retrieval and improved analytics performance. Secondary data, such as information that has to be kept for regulatory reasons, will be automatically moved to more cost-effective storage technologies, Big Blue said.

Benchmark test carried out by the Storage Performance Council (SPC) into IBM’s Easy Tier software claimed a performance improvement of 200%, the company said.

Storwize V7000 also uses ProtecTIER deduplication technology, acquired by IBM in 2008.

It uses 24 2.5-inch SSD and SAS drives or 12 3.5-inch 2TB Nearline SAS drives or a combination of both. The system starts with a single control enclosure, IBM said, and can be expanded to included nine more, offering a total of 240 drives. It claims to reduce rack space requirements by 67%.

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Although IBM is not revealing the exact pricing, Doug Balog, VP of Disk Storage at Big Blue, told CBR that prices would be "comparable to midrange competitors, with prices depending on the hardware and software combination and other configuration settings."

The IBM Storwize V7000 will hit general availability from November 12.

Also announced by IBM today is the DS8800. Aimed at enterprises it replaces the DS8700 and offers 40% faster performance and half the footprint. It will feature up to 1056 hard disk drives and, according to Barry Whyte, a San Volume Controller expert at IBM, will only use 2.5-inch Small Form Factor (SFF) drives, removing the 3.5-inch drives altogether. Whyte said he believes 3.5-inch drives may fall out of enterprise use within 18 months.

IBM added that these announcements are a reflection of the $6bn it spends on R&D each year.

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