IBM 2008 Storage Forum

IBM, the world’s Technology Inventor & the Information Technology Leader, held its annual Storage Forum last month, through which IBM has been crowned as the top provider of innovative technology, outstanding storage proven software, hardware and solution offerings in addition to unique performance. With the remarkable attendance of large number of guests representing the different industry sectors, IBM revealed its new and latest storage offerings, which have further strengthened the value and uniqueness of IBM products in this dynamic market.
This Year IBM came to the market with the complete virtualization portfolio (i.e., End-to-End Virtualization Solutions); starting by Servers Virtualization that IBM is leading since 40 years, passing by the unique solution of File Virtualization that is widely spread in Media Production, coming to the New Solution of File System Virtualization in order to efficiently use existing storage infrastructure avoiding any duplication in file systems, going down to the Storage Block Level Virtualization solution using the mature SVC product that is well established worldwide and in Egypt as well.
IBM is launching the Information Infrastructure Strategy for the coming 10 years by keeping it always independent and avoiding any down times.  

Next Generation Storage Offerings
Believing that “First to Market Innovations, Enhancements and New Products” are the main keys which enable businesses to simplify and maximize resources”, IBM introduced new first-to-market information infrastructure platform offerings and enhancements across a broad range of its disk and tape storage portfolio. Targeting clients that range from small and medium businesses (SMB) to large enterprises, the new solutions allow customers to implement a more efficient tiered storage infrastructure and achieve improved cost savings, integrated data security, and enhanced archival solutions to meet compliance requirements and have an infrastructure that delivers information on demand.
“IBM’s goal is to provide the leading technologies and solutions for storage, servers, software and services – to address the challenges and realities IT customers are facing,” said Ahmed Bourham, Storage Systems Group Manager, IBM Egypt. “The new storage offerings and enhancements we announced today will enable customers of all sizes to maintain highly resilient, high-performance, next generation network infrastructures,” added Bourham.

N series for Large Enterprises
IBM announced the next generation of the N7000 series as both an appliance and gateway. The new N7700 and N7900 models will allow for improved scalability for large scale data center operations as well as storage consolidation for large open system enterprises and mid-market clients. The new systems offer massive scalability with support up to 1,176 Terabytes of raw capacity for large data center storage needs. The N7000 series enable customers to consolidate SAN and NAS storage needs to a single system that can provide support for primary, near-line, regulatory compliant data retention and archival storage all in single platform.
Next Generation Data Center Director
The IBM System Storage SAN768B establishes a platform for evolutionary growth with high performance computing and future Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) technologies. It is the first director-class product to support eight Gigabits per second (Gbps) data transfer rates over Fiber Channel (FC) links, which enables a 100 percent improvement in data transfer speed over the previous generation. The SAN768B is the first product in the industry to support true interoperability between b-type (Brocade) and m-type (McDATA) directors in an 8 and 10 Gbps global enterprise FC SAN infrastructure.  For m-type and other large enterprise clients that run mainframes with FICON channels, this interoperability provides a roadmap for growth of their existing FICON fabrics. This new technology platform reduces complexity, risk and power consumption with featured scalability of up to 768 ports across two domains.

Enhanced Archive and Data Retention Systems
IBM System Storage keeps on investing in the information retention space with the next generation IBM System Storage DR550 v4.5. By leveraging System Storage Archive Manager (SSAM) for policy-based information retention, the DR550 enables the transparent and automated movement of archived data between storage tiers for cost savings without compromising the security of archived data. The award winning system is now available as a single machine for enhanced for ease of customer setup and use, leveraging IBM Director as the unified management system. Clients who are looking to protect business critical information for long term security as well as manage information growth and compliance can choose from two models of the DR550 v4.5: DR1 and DR2. The DR1 is a 25U tall rack, pre-integrated and ideal for mid-market clients. The DR2 is built for large enterprises, packaged in a bigger 36U tall rack and offering single or dual-node configuration options for higher availability and scalability.    

New Disk & Tape Storage Upgrades
With the aim of further extending the storage offerings to include new storage software and tape virtualization upgrades, IBM exposed during the forum new offerings and enhancements which will better help clients manage growth, complexity and risk across their information infrastructure.
Commenting on these new upgrades, Bourham said “IBM’s offerings provide the leading technologies and solutions for storage, servers, software and services, to address the challenges and realities IT customers are facing.” He highlighted that “these new disk and virtual tape storage offerings and enhancements we are announcing will further enable customers of all sizes to maintain highly resilient, high-performance, next generation information infrastructures.”

Unmatched Virtual Tape Performance
The next generation of the IBM Virtualization Engine TS7530 provides high performance and scalable tape virtualization solutions to support growing customer environments.
Open systems tape virtualization clients today are looking to increase performance and lower disk storage. The TS7530 will enable clients to integrate functions like HW compression which support faster backup of data. In addition, with new support for 1TB Drives, clients get additional disk capacity at a lower price per GB. The TS7530 now supports RAID 6 and System i BRMS integration. 

New Software for N series
A wide range of N series products were announced during the IBM forum.
IBM N series Provisioning Manager Software is available on the N3000 Express, N3700, N5000 series, and N7000 series machines. This easy-to-use application enables IT administrators to use policy-based automation to help reduce the time spent on complex, manual provisioning tasks. Its simplifies storage provisioning while ensuring the provisioning process is repeatable, scalable and auditable to mitigate the risk of data loss due storage configuration errors.
Designed to address some of the most difficult data access and data management problems, the new IBM N series FlexCache Software can scale performance for large compute farms, accelerate access for remote offices and simplify management of tiered storage. This new software for the N3000 Express, N5000 series and N7000 series creates a flexible, horizontally scalable caching layer within the storage infrastructure that automatically adapts to changing usage patterns to eliminate bottlenecks.
The new N series FlexScale software with the Performance Acceleration Module is available on the N7000, N5300 and N5600 appliance and gateway systems as a performance enhancing 16GB accelerator card that helps protect customer investments by providing an economical way to increase performance of existing systems or maximize new system performance. It is designed to maximize application performance supported by N series storage systems.

New SAN Offerings
For small, mid-sized and enterprise customers, IBM provides three new b-type switches, the IBM System Storage SAN24B-4, SAN40B-4 and SAN80B-4. Each switch supports faster data transfer with 8 Gbps link speeds, key for implementing the right technology today to support future server and storage needs. Less power is needed with faster data transfer speeds as well. The switches have higher port counts (up to 24, 40 and 80 ports) for greater scalability.
IBM announced three new switch blades for the IBM Total Storage SAN256B director which also support up to 8 Gbps link speeds. For SMB customers, the IBM System Storage SAN04B-R, a 4-port router, will enable cost-efficient business continuity solutions using distance-extension over the Internet for SMB customers.
For the channel, IBM announced the Cisco MDS 9124 Express for IBM System Storage Fabric Switch which is preferred by IBM Business Partners who sell IBM BladeCenter and System x servers.


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