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IBM's Launches New Storage Infrastructure Initiatives

IBM is focusing this year on few, but broader announcements under the basic theme of its Smarter Planet Initiative. To help customers achieve the goal of deploying dynamic IT infrastructures, the company is delivering a range of products, including foundational Information Infrastructure (i.e. storage) solutions. The first wave of IBM's Information Infrastructure offerings was launched in September 2008, with wave 2 in February 2009, and wave 3 at a recent event in San Diego, Calif.

The new IBM Information Infrastructure offerings encompass a wide range of storage and business processes. They include:

Storage Networking -- IBM views responsive, secure and adaptable data center networking as essential to dynamic infrastructures. From a data center networking perspective, IBM plans support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) adapters and switches. The goal is to support convergence of both Ethernet and Fibre Channel networks and help customers obtain the benefits that should accrue from such convergence. Specific server adapter and network switch elements are planned for introduction in late 2Q and early 3Q through partnerships with Brocade, Cisco and QLogic.

Midrange Storage -- IBM announced some enhancements for its DS5000 family of midrange storage systems. The DS5300 will now support (as of June 5) up to 448 disk drives, which is a 75% increase in capacity. Actual capacity in TBs will depend upon the size of the drive used. Both the DS5100 and the DS5300 can now use 8-Gbps host interface cards, which IBM claims can lower costs by up to 45% over equivalent 4-Gbps solutions since clients can accomplish the same work with only half as many adapters.

Storage encryption -- Full-disk encryption (FDE) will be offered as of August 21 on DS5000 family arrays. This protects exposing sensitive data on drives that are returned for repair, retired, or repurposed. For this purpose, IBM uses drives that follow the guidelines of the Trusted Computing Group using a drive-based encryption engine that does not impact performance. IBM states that encryption key management is transparent to day-to-day storage administration, which would make FDE drives as easy to manage as unencrypted drives.

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