Information Infrastructure – Dynamic Infrastructure

ORIGINALLY POSTED 9th February 2009

12,963 views on developerworks

Following last Septembers “Information Infrastructure” launch, IBM today announced wave two subtitled Dynamic Infrastructure. The press release covers some of the higher level details, and a new “DI” portal has been created on the IBM website.

From a disk and storage perspective the DS8000 gets three new drive types – including full disk encryption (with the necessary key management) – 1TB native SATA drive support (not FATA) – and of course STEC Fibre SSD device support – with enablement including zDB2 optimisation. Much as our friends Burke and Hollis would have liked you to believe that the DS8000 was dead, with last years RAID-6 support and now these three new drive types in this single announcement, we’ve dispelled most of their myths. Its worth noting too that IBM is the first to market with full drive encryption in an enterprise storage controller. For more details see the DS8000 product pages.

Also announced today is an entry version of the XIV controller, containing a ‘half-rack’ solution with 27TB usable, which is upgradeable to the full rack version as your needs must. For more details see the XIV product pages.

The TS7650 ProtecTIER™ Deduplication Appliance is also available. This is a truly integrated solution that makes it easy to harness the power of deduplication without making major changes to your existing environment. The solution is available in four configurations designed to meet the disk-based data protection needs of a wide variety of customers, from mid-sized IT environments to enterprise data centers. For more details see the TS7650 product pages.

New DS8000 Drive and DB2 Support

Moving back to the DS8000, there are three key additions here, 1TB SATA support. Rather than using the FATA drives previously avialable for Tier3 storage in the DS8000, release 4.2 now supports native SATA attached devices by means of an FC to SATA bridge. As discussed in the comments in my previous post, there are valid situations where customers require large capacity drives in their enterprise controllers, and now with release 4.2. you can include these in the DS8000.

The second addition is the support for encrypting drives. These drives perform encryption at rest, which ties in with IBM’s existing encryption at rest tape drives. The key management is also common using the Tivoli Key Lifecycle Management software (TKLM). IBM’s drive-level encryption solution has little or no performance impact, since encryption is built into the disk and tape drives. Unlike alternative encryption methods, such as application-based encryption, network-based encryption, and even controller-based encryption; IBM storage encryption is easier to deploy and manage.

The final addition is the support for Solid State Drives (SSDs). IBM’s research labs have been working to leverage Solid State storage technology more effectively. IBM is designing Solid State storage optimization capabilities into database, storage virtualization, disk storage, server, and storage management solutions. No other vendor has this breadth of R&D capability. Vendors simply reselling Solid State disk offer much less value. IBM is previewing a new version of the Tivoli Storage Productivity Center (TSPC) coming later this quarter, which includes data analysis and migration tools that can help customers optimize the use of Solid State storage by identifying the most appropriate data to place on faster storage. IBM is the first major vendor to offer analysis and migration technology to support storage optimization efforts. Edited as per comments below

To make Solid State storage more valuable to customers, the DB2 for z/OS team created extensions to DB2 that put more active table segments onto faster storage. The result of DB2 and DS8000 collaboration is a 800% increase in internal performance tests*, compared to typical storage, at a fraction of the cost of pure Solid State storage solutions. IBM research found that installing database tables on standard storage and indexes on Solid State storage produced only marginal results. IBM can now identify tables that will have the biggest impact when moved to Solid State storage, taking the guess work and risk out of implementing Solid State storage solutions. * IBM internal tests used IBM® Relational Warehouse Workload, a OLTP TPC-C like performance test.

SVC SSD Preview

Last year, IBM issued a press release describing a technology demonstration called “Quicksilver” in which a dedicated Solid State storage system was built based on SVC technology. Today, IBM is making a preview of support for Solid State drives with the next delivery of SVC planned for later this year. This support is an evolution of the technology approach demonstrated with Quicksilver last year.

The new Intelligent Performance Optimization function in Tivoli Storage Productivity Center 4.1 will help identify “hot spot data” within SVC storage or other storage systems that may be candidates for solid-state drives. Because the new solid-state drive support is tightly integrated within the SVC architecture, SVC functions may be used to move data to/from solid-state drives as required and without disruption to applications.

As you should have picked up from my posts, SVC has a very highly scalable architecture based around clustered I/O Groups. Using this architecture, it is possible to add both Solid State drive capacity and system throughput at the same time, helping to maximize the benefit of Solid State drives. SVC will support both integrated Solid State drives and also external magnetic disk storage systems at the same time. The same management and the same replication tools may be used with SVC no matter what the type of storage being used. As noted above, this integration also supports nondisruptive movement of data to/from solid-state drives.

Finally, existing SVC clusters will be able to be upgraded without application disruption with new SVC storage engines supporting Solid State drives.

In Summary

A long post, with some product updates and announcements that are available now, or very soon, and some preview announcements of whats coming later this year. I urge you to read more details in the links provided aboive.

Finally, there has been a lot of press and coverage of SSD’s over the last year since EMC announced them on the DMX, but as you can see from IBM’s comprehensive systems approach, we are putting SSDs in all the places that it makes sense, different customers have different needs, and in some cases direct server attachment provides the most benefit. IBM is giving its customers the option to place this expensive technology in the place that provides the best ROI for them : in servers, for example System X with server proven ioDrive support, disk systems (DS8000, DS5000 later this year), and specialized systems like SVC. That’s more than any other vendor is doing and shows that IBM is taking a truly comprehensive approach.

All statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only.

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