New IBM Storage Announcements

While most of the attention is going to [IBM's new servers, the zEnterprise 114 and the POWER 775], there were a few [announcements related specifically to storage] that I wanted to discuss.

New 3592 Model C07 Tape Controller

The new [IBM System Storage Tape Controller 3592 Model C07] is an upgrade to the previous C06 controller. Like the C06, the new 3592-C07 can have up to four FICON (4Gbps) ports, four FC ports, and connect up to 16 drives. The difference is that the C07 supports 8Gbps speed FC ports, and can support the [new TS1140 tape drives that were announced on May 9].

Crossroads ReadVerify Appliance (3222-RV1)

IBM has entered an agreement to resell [Crossroads ReadVerify Appliance], or “RV1″ for short. The RV1 is a 1U-high server with software that gathers information on the utilization, performance and health for a physical tape environment, such as an IBM TS3500 Tape Library. The RV1 also offers a feature called “ArchiveVerify” which validates long-term retention archive tapes, providing an audit trail on the readability of tape media. This can be useful for tape libraries attached behind IBM Information Archive compliance storage solution, or the IBM Scale-Out Network Attached Storage (SONAS).

Linear Tape File System (LTFS) Library Edition Version 2.1

You might be scratching your head on this one. Wasn’t the LTFS v2.1 announced May 9? Actually, it was for the TS3500, TS3200 and TS3100. On this announcement, the [ IBM System Storage Linear Tape File System Library Edition Version 2.1] was extended to support the rest of our tape library portfolio, specifically the TS3310 and TS2900.

XIV Storage System – Generation 3

Saving the biggest announcement for last, IBM announces new [XIV Generation 3 hardware] and corresponding [XIV Software Version 11.0.0]. The new hardware is officially the model 114, but since today’s new zEnterprise announced today is also “model 114″, I will refer to the XIV hardware as “Gen3″ to avoid confusion.

While the hardware is all refreshed, the overall “scale-out” architecture is unchanged. Kudos to the XIV development team for designing a system that is based entirely on commodity hardware, allowing new hardware generations to be introduced with minimal changes to the vast number of field-proven software features like thin provisioning, space-efficient read-only and writeable snapshots, synchronous and asynchronous mirroring, and Quality of Service (QoS) performance classes.

The new XIV Gen3 features an Infiniband interconnect, faster 8Gbps FC ports, more iSCSI ports, faster motherboard and processors, SAS-NL 2TB drives, 24GB cache memory per XIV module, all in a single frame IBM rack that supports the IBM Rear Door Heat Exchanger. The results are a 2x to 4x boost in performance for various workloads. Here are some example performance comparisons:

Disclaimer: Performance is based on measurements and projections using standard IBM benchmarks in a controlled environment. The actual throughput that any user will experience will vary depending upon considerations such as the amount of multiprogramming in the user’s job stream, the I/O configuration, the storage configuration, and the workload processed. Therefore, no assurance can be given that an individual user will achieve throughput improvements equivalent to the performance ratios stated here. Your mileage may vary.

In a Statement of Direction, IBM also has designed the Gen3 modules to be “SSD-ready” which means that you can insert up to 500GB of Solid-State drive capacity per XIV module, up to 7.5TB in a fully-configured 15 module frame. This SSD would act as an extension of DRAM cache, similar to how Performance Accelerator Modules (PAM) on IBM N series.

IBM will continue to sell XIV Gen2 systems for the next 12-18 months, as some clients like the smaller 1TB disk drives. The new Gen3 only comes with 2TB drives. There are some clients that love the XIV so much, that they also use it for less stringent Tier 2 workloads. If you don’t need the blazing speed of the new Gen3, perhaps the lower cost XIV Gen2 might be a great fit!

As if I haven’t said this enough times already, the IBM XIV is a Tier-1, high-end, enterprise-class disk storage system, optimized for use with mission critical workloads on Linux, UNIX and Windows operating systems, and is the ideal cost-effective replacement for EMC Symmetrix VMAX, HDS USP-V and VSP, and HP P9000 series disk systems, . Like the XIV Gen2, the XIV Gen3 can be used with IBM System i using VIOS, and with IBM System z mainframes running Linux, z/VM or z/VSE. If you run z/OS or z/TPF with Count-Key-Data (CKD) volumes and FICON attachment, go with the IBM System Storage DS8000 instead, IBM’s other high-end disk system.

To learn more, read Jim Kelly’s [XIV Gen 3: Both Hands Clapping], and Anthony Vandewerdt’s [Brief History of XIV], and Elisabeth Stahl’s [Big Day, Big Data, Big Announcements] blog posts, or see the resources on the [XIV resources page].

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