IBM's New Flash-Based Arrays Offering Blistering Transfer Speeds

By Steve Anderson May 11, 2016

The old debate between flash storage and physical hard drives has been going on for some time, with most of the hard drive proponents pointing out that hard drives offer much more storage for much less cost. Flash storage proponents usually follow up with much faster speeds and greater reliability thanks to the lack of moving parts, and IBM has underscored that point with its three new all-flash arrays.

The three new arrays are the FlashSystem A9000, close equivalent the FlashSystem A9000R, and the IBM DS8888. The A9000 is a completely-configured system that focuses on lower-cost and represents a great way for businesses to get started with all-flash environments. The A9000R, meanwhile, is a step up, turning to grid architecture for those businesses that need to stretch into the petabyte range. Several data reduction features are on hand with both systems, including real-time compression, pattern removal and deduplication among other data reduction features. IBM's FlashCore systems come included, bringing out improvements in latency reduction for faster access.

Meanwhile, the IBM DS8888 represents the top end of the system, an enterprise-grade system specifically optimized for such high-end work. It's geared toward handling entire customer databases along with other similar data-intensive applications, which are representing an ever-larger part of the field.

All three new releases, IBM notes, are specifically designed to work with the current flash-based storage options, including both the FlashSystem V9000 and the FlashSystem 900, both of which also run that same FlashCore technology.  The new products also incorporate the MicroLatency system, which uses hardware to transfer data inside the flash array instead of turning to an added layer of software, speeding up data transfers.

IBM general manager for storage and software defined infrastructure Greg Lotko commented, “The drastic increase in volume, velocity, and variety of information is requiring businesses to rethink their approach to addressing storage needs, and they need a solution that is as fast as it is easy. IBM’s flash portfolio enables derive greater value from more data in more varieties, whether on premises or in a hybrid cloud deployment.”

Flash storage has been rapidly coming down in price and increasing in storage capability, much in the same way as hard drives have done. With an increasing demand for data, and the ability to handle it, higher speeds have become necessary just to keep systems from buckling under the weight of the demands. Flash storage has really proven its value with big data systems and the like, and IBM's new tools should help drive these new efforts.

IBM's lengthy history in handling data and data processing has culminated in this, a new set of flash storage tools that should help drive network functions virtualization (NFV) and other efforts accordingly. There should be plenty of excited data centers ready to get these three new tools in in short order.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Contributing Writer

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