IBM recently held a fall storage event for press and analysts at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Although a number of updates were discussed, the focus of the event was around the two biggest announcements: the introduction of a new midrange storage product, the IBM Storwize V7000, and the latest model in IBM's enterprise-class disk storage systems, the DS8800. This blog will cover the Storwize V7000.
The first thing to note about the Storwize V7000 is that this product has nothing to do with the data compression products of Storwize which IBM acquired in August. Instead, IBM has repurposed the company's name (implying "wise"storage) to apply to its new line of midrange storage systems of which the StorwizeV7000 is the first model. Former Storwize products have been relabeled as Real-time Compression Appliances STN6500 and STN6800.
The second thing to note is Storwize is a completely new midrange storage system product for IBM. The company's IBM System Storage DS5000 product family has been very successful and IBM plans to continue on selling it. However, the Storwize V7000 does not share the same architectural heritage as the DS5000. For example, a lot of the intellectual property in the DS5000 was the work of LSI whereas the intellectual property in the Storwize V7000 strongly reflects IBM's own research and development.
The two product lines may overlap somewhat in some customer's eyes, which is good as it forces them to learn what the inherent differences are and then choose the product that best fits their needs. However, the DS5000 seems more about meeting the needs of customers who have fairly basic storage requirements whereas the Storwize V7000 is aimed at providing enterprise-class capabilities for midrange customers. In the vernacular, the Storwize V7000 aims to provide champagne tastes for customers who have a beer budget.
In some sense, all disk storage systems look alike when viewed from the outside or even more closely, such as in the design of bays where disk drives are inserted. Still, physical similarities tend to obscure the fact that storage arrays tend to be highly complex solutions that require sophisticated capabilities such as storage management, including provisioning and data management, such as moving data for disaster recovery and data protection.
In products like the new Storwize V7000, scalability is the key hardware attribute. Most midrange systems are modular, in that a customer can start small and add capacity by adding expansion enclosures. With the Storwize V7000 up to nine expansion enclosures can be attached to a single control enclosure, supporting up to 240 TB of raw capacity. But the Storwize V7000 allows clients to mix enclosures with 2.5" and 3.5" HDD and SSD drives of various capacities in order to provide maximum flexibility.