Introducing Spectrum Virtualize 7.7.0 (Part3)


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Last week I covered some of the main updates in the 7.7.0 release of Spectrum Virtualize, this week I am in IBM RTP in North Carolina and can fill you in on yet more!

New Flash and Drive Options

Lower Cost Flash Drives

Just as we have had different price and performance point spinning HDD options for years, so now we are starting to see different Solid State Drive options as applicable in the enterprise storage market. For this reason, we have introduced the first of a new family of Flash drives for use in both SVC and Storwize enclosures.

The first of these is a 1.92TB drive using MLC flash internally. Notice I don’t state eMLC or cMLC as this is really a fallacy. They are identical, there is only really one grade of MLC flash chip, and those are just characterised by different yield qualities etc. Just like processors where some clock higher than others, but at the end of the day the architecture and process is the same.

These new drives are targeted at traditional workloads, where we usually see a higher read proportion to the workload, i.e. more read intensive workloads. They come with the usual warranty and support, and predictive failure analysis so you shouldn’t be concerned. For now, think of them (in Easy Tier terms) as enterprise HDD replacements. These bring roughly a 50% reduction to Flash cost per GB and really start to push the poor old 10K and 15K drives out the picture.

We have plans to enhance the code, EasyTier and so on, to make use of these new drives as a new category where the analytics inside the code will place data on them that suits their access and performance characteristics. More of that to come in the future.

Hybrid FlashSystem V9000

Since the FlashSystem V9000 makes use of the SVC node hardware and Spectrum Virtualize software capabilities, we are now offering direct SAS enclosure attachment to the V9000. Why? Well now you can attach around 160TB usable RAID-6 NL-SAS capacity to the V9000 and run with EasyTier to extent a single (unexpanded) V9000 to over 200TB usable capacity in 10U.

Its been clear since we introduced EasyTier in 2010 that most users workloads contain hot-spots. All flash solutions are great and can help reduce management overheads, with less performance tuning etc – but when you have analytical software such as EasyTier that can ensure only cold (infrequently or never accessed) data is placed on the NL-SAS capacity, you can grow your capacity with the cheapest cost storage. This ability greatly adds to the standalone V9000 product and gives you the flexibility to attach NL-SAS capacity without the need for another storage controller that is virtualised behind the V9000.

Increased Support for Direct Attached SVC Enclosures

For some time, since 5.1.0 we have allowed locally attached Flash drives in the SVC – using the same SAS expansion capability now added to the Hybrid V9000. Up until now this was only with the 24F expansion, and only supported the Enterprise Flash drives. As of 7.7.0 you can now put any of the supported 7.2K, 10K, 15K HDD drives in these enclosures, thus we have also added support for the 12F expansion enclosure, directly attached to an SVC node pair.

Miscellaneous Items

We have added Compresstimator support into the GUI itself, this adds to the CLI support we added last year, allowing you to generate compression estimation reports directly inside the GUI.

Also added is support for the IP Quorum devices, allowing the viewing and modifying of IP Quorum settings in the GUI as well as the existing CLI support.

Encryption is now possible when using the Distributed RAID (DRAID) functionality in the Storwize products, lifting the previous restriction.

The final thing we announced are an open beta program for a Software Only version of Spectrum Virtualize. This in itself is a whole new product based on the Spectrum Virtualize software, and merits a post in its own right, watch this space.

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