2010-03: Encouraging SSD Adoption

ORIGINALLY POSTED January 24th 2010

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I’ve just been through some of our detailed results for 4Q, given that we only announced availability of the new CF8 hardware back in November and exceeded expectations with their adoption. Over the quarter Tivoli Storage Software, which SVC comes under, saw double digit growth.

The up-take of the stunning new node hardware is great, and I’ve already had a few reports back from customers who have undertaken the concurrent software and hardware upgrade. This involves following a special procedure that we have made available to allow users running the original (2003-2004) 4F2 node hardware to begin the upgrade procedure and swap out the 4F2 nodes for CF8 nodes. This procedure is needed as the original 4F2 nodes came with 32bit Xeon CPUs, which cannot run the new 5.1.0 64bit based kernel, this in itself was needed so we could increase our internal memory virtual address space and support the new 24GB cache memory.

The procedure is available for download from our support pages and anyone planning to undertake this procedure should read through the document thoroughly before attempting the procedure. It requires a few special button presses to ensure that the new CF8 nodes don’t get added in the normal manner (normally a node being added to the cluster will be up/down graded to the same level as the running cluster. In this case we don’t want that to happen. The existing cluster also needs to be running at least to support this procedure.

A couple of customers and business partners have directly contacted me to explain how painless this process was – in these cases several large and mixed hardware clusters have been upgraded without issue. The most interesting statistic I was given is that the 4F2 nodes that had previously shown 70% CPU utilisation are now showing around 10% utilisation on the CF8 node hardware.

This in itself shows how the node hardware has evolved over time, and again provides more conclusive proof that the descion back over ten years ago now to use standard Intel based server hardware was a great choice. With six-core Intel Nehalem based CPU and more on the Intel roadmaps, this can only continue.

Another interesting suprise was the encouraging adoption of our innovative SSD solution. Given the current price difference between HDD and SSD, and this being a new proposition for SVC users, we have been pleasantly surprised by how many SSD’s and SSD enabled nodes we sold last quarter. Our users can obviously see the advantages that SVC+SSD has over other available SSD solutions, and with the coming smart tiering function, an investment in a small number of SSD will be able to provide big gains in enterprise wide performance.

Welcome to all our new customers, and if you have gone through the 5.1 upgrade, or have installed some new CF8 nodes, I’d love to hear what you think.

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