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IBM flash storage expands with midrange all-flash products
IBM's all-flash portfolio grows, with a new midrange and entry-level option, and the vendor adds a migration program aimed at EMC-Dell customers.
IBM has new all-flash Storwize V7000F and V5030F arrays, as the vendor continues to add all-flash options up and down its storage portfolio.
Earlier this year, IBM launched FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R all-flash systems for cloud providers and hyperscale companies, as well as custom flash modules for its DS8888 mainframe storage array.
The IBM all-flash V7000F and V5030F arrays launched today, along with a migration program designed to move EMC and Dell customers to IBM flash storage arrays.
Earlier this year, EMC declared 2016 the year for all-flash in primary storage, and IBM's storage brain trust agreed with that proclamation.
"We see high-priced all-flash, midpriced all-flash and low-priced all-flash," said Eric Herzog, vice president of product marketing and management for IBM storage. "Then, we have specialty all-flash, which will be storage for mainframes and storage for vertical markets. We see flash as completely ubiquitous, not just high-end. Flash is a revolution.
Eric Herzogvice president of product marketing and management, IBM
"Our strategy on flash is to provide the right flash for the right workload at the right price."
IBM is looking to flash to help it reverse faltering storage hardware sales, which have declined in each of the last four years.
The IBM flash storage lineup also includes the FlashSystem V9000 for the highest performance needs. Storwize systems are designed for traditional storage workloads. These systems include Spectrum Virtualize software that allows customers to run any IBM array and most arrays from other vendors behind it.
"Everyone may be talking about flash, but we're doing everything to facilitate it," said Andy Walls, an IBM Fellow and CTO of flash systems hardware. "Not just our tier zero is all-flash. Now, we're putting capacity-optimized SSDs into Storwize."
The Storwize V7000F is an all-flash version of the midrange V7000. It holds 504 drives and supports 512 GB of cache per controller. The V5030F is an all-flash version of the entry-level V5030, with up to 64 GB of cache per controller. V5030F pricing begins at $19,000 for 32 GB of cache and 1.92 TB of SSD capacity.
Both systems now use 1.92 TB and 3.84 TB drives, and Herzog said 7 TB and 15 TB SSDs will be supported soon in IBM flash storage arrays.
Herzog said, while the V7000 and V5030 systems are also available as hybrids, mixing hard disk drives with SSDs, "We're leading with all-flash, and we project that we will sell mostly all-flash."
Easing migration to IBM flash storage arrays
IBM's Flash In is a free migration program to move other vendors' customers to IBM flash storage arrays for free. While IBM can move data from any system supported by Spectrum Virtualize, the official press release made it clear whose storage the program is specifically targeting. IBM's release described Flash In as "a storage migration program designed to help companies looking to leverage IBM's expertise, like Dell and EMC clients, easily transition to IBM storage ..."
Dell and EMC are in the final stages of completing a $67 billion merger.
All-flash is becoming the main arena for storage vendors' battle for customers. EMC has all-flash versions of its high-end VMAX and midrange Unity platforms, plus an XtremIO all-flash array and DSSD all-flash shared storage. NetApp, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell and smaller vendors who sell flash and hard disk drive systems all reported their all-flash versions are by far the fastest-growing arrays. Pure Storage continues to outgrow the market by selling only flash.
"In this day and age, if you're a storage vendor and don't have [an] all-flash offering, you'd better pray," said Arun Taneja, consulting analyst for the Taneja Group Inc., in Hopkinton, Mass. "I never thought I would say this five years ago, but we're heading toward an all-flash data center. Soon, there will be no reason to have disk. The handwriting is on the wall. Look at the technology. We're starting to see 15-terabyte SSDs in systems. We don't have 15-terabyte disk drives."
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