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IBM's winter storage blast

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As part of its Dynamic Infrastructure announcement IBM has announced a deduplication appliance, encrypting high-end DS8000 arrays and low-end XIV storage products.

The TS7650 ProtecTIER Deduplication Appliance (PDA?) is, of course, based on last year's Diligent acquisition. It offers fast sub-file level deduplication and there are four models spanning a medium data centre's needs up to enterprise data centres. This is IBM's Data Domain-beating product and consists on a System x server, Fibre Channel drives in an IBM storage array and the ProtecTIER software.

The four configurations are a 7TB model, an 18TB one, and 36TB single and dual-node cluster versions. Data Domain does not have a cluster version of its product; ramming its superiority home, IBM says its clustered product "delivers the industry’s fastest inline data deduplication performance".

Customers can now encrypt data on IBM's enterprise-class DS8000 Turbo arrays, courtesy of full disk encrypting (FDE) drives and interoperability with Tivoli Key Lifecycle Manager software which provides an enterprise wide key management facility. It means that the DS8000 and LTO4 tape drive encryption facilities can form part of a single encryption key management infrastructure. IBM stands alone in offering drive encryption in this class of storage.

The DS8000 can now also use 1TB SATA Drives and STEC-sourced Fibre Channel interface solid state drives (SSD). This follows on from STEC and HDS' announcing that the USP arrays would also use the STEC SSDs. It gives STEC a hat-trick as all three high-end storage array products - DS8000, Symmetrix, and USP - now use its products.

Previously the DS8000 was an all-FC drive box with either fast FC drives or FATA (roughly the Fibre Channel-attached version of SATA) drives. Now a FC-SATA bridge opens the way for any supplier's SATA drives to be used instead of limited supply FATA drives. With both WD and Seagate offering 2TB SATA drives, DS8000 users can probably look forward to capacity-doubling possibilities later this year. It seems possible that FATA users may not be so lucky.

The DS5000 arrays will also be given SSD support.

According to IBM employee blogger Barry Whyte: "IBM is designing Solid State storage optimization capabilities into database, storage virtualization, disk storage, server, and storage management solutions," and IBM is previewing a release of "Tivoli Storage Productivity Center (TSPC) coming later this quarter, which includes data analysis and migration tools that can help customers optimize the use of Solid State storage by identifying the most appropriate data to place on faster storage."

Such automation will avoid potentially lengthy sysadmin analysis. This will help put database indices and the most-used tables into the SSD storage tier for maximum benefit, as EMC has been doing with its Symmetrix flash drives.

IBM is also previewing a new realese of its SAN Volume Controller (SAN) product, an in-band appliance that virtualises SAN storage linked to it. It's due later this year. Coming TSPC software (V4.1) will identify so-called hot spot storage items on arrays managed by SVC and move them to SSD storage directly attached to the SVC which, simultaneously, will be front-ending hard disk drive storage arrays: in other words, the SVC gets a flash cache, likely using PCIe-connected Fusion-io SSDs as demo'd in Project Quicksilver last year.

SVC clusters will also be upgradable transparently to applications accessing storage through the cluster.

There is a 65 per cent smaller XIV entry-level configuration, offering 27TB of usable capacity. It can be upgraded in 6TB lumps to its 79TB big brother model. The idea is to extend the XIV's product appeal of fast, self-healing storage for information lifecycle applications towards mid-sized businesses.

IBM has also announced InfoSphere Warehouse for System z (mainframe) beta software, saying customers can use this software to design and run a data warehouse that supports business intelligence applications, such as Cognos 8 BI. ®

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