IBM Continues to Advance Its Strategic Storage Investments

In 2015, IBM announced that it would spend $1 billion on software-defined storage (SDS) R&D over the coming five years. Recent enhancements in its SDS portfolio — namely the IBM Spectrum Storage family — reflect how that ongoing investment is benefiting storage users and IBM customers. IBM Spectrum Storage family: Responding to changing times Regarding IBM’s Spectrum Storage family, recall what SDS is and why just one product won’t do. SDS decouples the software that manages storage from the underlying physical storage hardware. That increases the flexibility of deployment. So customers can choose to use software-only with virtually any heterogeneous storage systems, i.e., not necessarily IBM storage, although all or part of the mix could include IBM equipment. A second SDS deployment model is with an appliance. In the case of selected IBM Spectrum Storage products, the software can be sold with specific IBM hardware making it a more traditional approach, but it also means that the software can take fuller advantage of the underlying physical hardware. An example is the tight coupling of the IBM DeepFlash 150 with IBM Spectrum Scale that results in a high-capacity, all-flash (meaning high performance) system (called DeepFlash Elastic Storage Server) with the scale-out file management capabilities. A third SDS deployment model is as the foundation of a cloud service. Since the “cloud” in its many permutations and manifestations continues to proliferate applications and data, SDS can provide the support needed for accompanying storage systems. But why the need for multiple products? The answer is that the variety of applications and data types continues to explode in numerous dimensions, all of them additive with none taken away. Traditional block-based, structured data online transaction processing systems and file-based systems, such as for semi-structured data as document management, are still critically important. But now, big data, Internet of Things, Web-based applications, and mobile applications are taking center stage, as well. NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review. For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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Data Protection: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Jun29

Data Protection: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

’The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ was Clint Eastwood’ last and best spaghetti western, and it’s also a very popular description of the cybersecurity industry, to which I will now shamelessly expropriate to describe the findings from EMC’s new global enterprise backup survey, ‘Are You Protected?’. Similar to virtually every other security study I see, the survey reports improvements in some areas, some problems in other areas, and the usual plug for new solutions that will make you more secure, less vulnerable or more likely fall somewhere in between. The survey results are very topical, said Peter Smails, VP, Marketing, Core Technologies, EMC. It also gives the company, which will soon become part of Dell, an opportunity “to talk about everything we’re doing to address those challenges.” While I found it interesting that this conversation was held with EMC, and not RSA, it’s security business, Smails told IT Trends & Analysis who better to address data protection than the company that stores most of that data. The key findings of the survey of IT decision makers at 2,200 organizations included: -incidents of traditional data loss and disruption are down since 2014, but new challenges mean 13% more businesses experienced loss overall; -over half of businesses fail to protect data in the cloud despite more than 80% indicating they will rely on SaaS-based business applications; -36% have lost data in the last year as the result of a security breach; -73% are not very confident they can protect flash storage environments; and, -the average cost of data loss is more than $914,000. People are getting smarter about data protection, said Smails, but they continue to experience data loss. “You need to be vigilant. The world is evolving quickly.” According to a new RSA survey, 75% of survey respondents have a significant cybersecurity risk exposure, and nearly half characterized essential Incident Response (IR) capabilities as ‘ad hoc’ or ‘non-existent’. “We need to change the way we are thinking about security, to focus on more than just prevention – to develop a strategy that emphasizes detection and response,” stated RSA President Amit Yoran. As noted in Sea Of Alarms, one of cybersecurity’s biggest problems isn’t finding a problem, but rather finding and dealing with the most pressing problem. According to a recent survey, nearly 74% of those surveyed reported that security events/alerts are simply ignored because their teams can’t keep up with the suffocating volume. Then there was the new ‘new’ study I just received which identified complext IT security as a growing problem. According to security vendor IS Decisions’ survey of 250 US organizations, on average each employee loses 21.88...

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Flash Forward, London: refreshing purpose and content

The recent — and inaugural — Flash Forward conference in London was significant for being a non-vendor specific, storage-focused event. There’s precious few of this species left and we have not had a new one in a while. This one was substantial enough to have attracted a good number and mix of sponsors and speakers (from organizations both large and small), and yet intimate enough that everyone could have real conversations and get their questions answered. The need for this type of event is clear; while there was a period when excitement and indeed innovation in storage and data management was waning (we could argue the dates but let’s say it peaked 5-10 years ago), what is abundantly clear of late is that storage — aka data, aka information, aka the ability to get anything done in IT — is categorically center stage. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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IBM… Big Step Forward with Flash Storage for the Hybrid Cloud

Eddie Cantor once said, “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” That is certainly the case with flash storage which has been around for many years, but high cost limited its acceptability to a limited number of high-performance/high-value-added applications. Declining prices have led to broader acceptance of flash storage for a broader base of high performance (tier 0) applications. Then came a seemingly overnight (although it was actually a couple of years) transition where flash storage was seen as capable of replacing traditional primary disk storage (tier 1). That made the economics of flash quite justifiable to data center owners and the adoption of flash storage as primary storage is proceeding rapidly. Related to this, much of the exponential growth of storage comes from new and emerging trends that are related to the Internet of Things (IoT), social media and Web services. Big data and the emerging trend of cognitive analytics thrive on not only the humongous quantity of data that these trends produce, but also the need to process much of the data very rapidly in order to derive the benefits (such as actionable, near-real-time insights) that enterprises seek in trying to gain a competitive advantage. The “cloud” in some form is likely to be the recipient of that data as traditional IT infrastructures are neither cost effective or performant enough. With the introduction of IBM FlashSystem® A9000 and IBM FlashSystem A9000R, IBM delivers the necessary purpose-built flash storage infrastructure to meet the demands of the cloud both from a scale and performance basis. So IBM is taking the next step for flash storage beyond primary storage for traditional applications to meet the new and emerging needs of the cloud. But before we get to the new products, let’s examine IBM FlashCore™, the foundational IBM technology for all of its FlashSystem solutions and briefly review FlashSystem 900 for tier 0 application acceleration and FlashSystem V9000 as an all-flash array for tier 1 primary storage. To read the complete article, CLICK ON AUTHOR’S BYLINE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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…EMC Really is a Software Company

Storage hardware vendors like to refer to themselves as software companies. While it is true that most of them write storage software that runs on off-the-shelf hardware, most of them require that you buy their hardware to get their storage software. EMC, one of the first to claim to be a software, has evolved into a real software company. Other than the obvious software properties, like Networker or Vipr, an increasing percentage of its storage solutions are available as software. To read the complete article, CLICK THE AUTHOR’S NAME NOTE: This column was originally published in the Storage Switzerland Weekly...

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