DEW17: Emphasizing Fundamental Storage Principles

Most large IT vendor conferences — especially those held in Las Vegas — tend to resemble a three-ring information overload circus. Attendees can easily be overwhelmed with the breadth and depth of what is being presented. At times, focusing on the tried and true basics helps to refresh and clear one’s mind. As an example, let’s turn to the storage solutions that were highlighted this week at Dell EMC World. Naturally, Dell EMC continues to evolve its storage portfolio, but it is not doing so by abandoning the core storage products and principles that have been fundamental to its success for more than two decades. Now, Dell Technologies is the rubric under which all the businesses of the company fall. Dell EMC is the data center infrastructure business and incorporates Dell’s business servers and a midrange storage product line as well as EMC’s traditional high end, midrange, and scale-out (unstructured data) storage systems. In addition, converged infrastructure solutions, including hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) offerings falls with the purview of Dell EMC. For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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IBM Continues its Leadership in Software-Defined Storage

“We’re #1!” is the proud cry that every team and organization would like to make, and IBM can claim that proud distinction for software-defined storage. The evidence comes from market research vendor International Data Corporation (IDC), which has ranked IBM #1 in the worldwide software-defined storage (SDS) market for the third straight year. This is a meaningful distinction as the software-defined storage market is large and is expected to continue its rapid growth. IDC estimates that the market for SDS would grow at a 40% CAGR in 2015-2020 and reach $1 billion in 2016. This is the fastest of any of the seven storage software functional markets that IDC tracks and shines in comparison to what IDC says is the low performance of storage replication and infrastructure solutions. In short, IBM has chosen the right functional storage market horse to ride (although, of course, it participates in the other functional markets where it is amongst the leaders in all storage software categories, as well as a large full-spectrum IT vendor). For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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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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IBM Keeps a Sharp Storage Edge

IBM Edge is the company’s annual systems conference with a focus on servers (namely z Systems and POWER) and storage solutions. As you well know, such a conference is an immersive experience with the overwhelming amount of information that is presented within a few days. As an industry analyst with a strong focus on storage, I welcome the deluge, although sorting out what it all means can take some time. Still, here are some summary thoughts that I hope you will find of value. Obviously, conferences like Edge stress new product announcements, but they also highlight the host company’s vision. Although some think that is unnecessary or impractical (note the George W. Bush “vision thing”), a company vision is both necessary and practical, as it commits the time of its people and its money for continued product development. A sense of balance is necessary between being the leading edge (where things are advanced and innovative, but are likely to be adopted over time) and the bleeding edge (which is often too far ahead of its time and likely to be too high risk for many vendors). As its 100 plus years have shown, IBM has basically been successful at the leading edge and Edge 2016 suggests this state of affairs continues. NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review. For more information, EMAIL...

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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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