Software defined environments need flexible architectures – right?


There has been a lot of noise lately around the topic of software defined environments (SDE). Some talk about software defined storage (SDS) like some sort of storage virtualization, while others consider it a new type of software to integrate storage systems more intelligently. But it seems like everybody agrees on considering SDS as a software service where the services are abstracted from the storage system in order to provide integrated management throughout the data center.

As stated in the whitepaper prepared for IBM by Storage Switzerland, SDS is the “logical evolution of storage virtualization from simply being a storage aggregator to the end goal of storage as a service. To achieve this goal, software defined storage needs a platform from which to centralize.”

Storage virtualization is considered the first step towards SDS, and IBM has been leading the way in the virtualization market since 2003, when the first version of SAN Volume Controller (SVC) was announced.

SVC was the first member of the Storwize family of systems, which inherited its name from the second member of the family, the Storwize V7000, launched in 2010. The Storwize family shares the same architecture and technology, which provides significant benefits to customers, including:

  • 47 percent reduction in administration time
  • 3 times better network bandwidth utilization for remote mirroring
  • 30 percent less capacity growth by consolidating storage

IBM recently announced a new member of the family, the new Storwize V5000. This new system inherited the virtualized nature of SVC and the rest of the family, which makes it very easy for customers to start a new SDS environment.

Just like his Storwize siblings, the V5000 shares the software code and some of the most important capabilities available in the Storwize family, like thin provisioning, local copies, remote replication, dynamic migration, external virtualization and automated tiering.

The main differences between Storwize V5000 and other Storwize devices have to do with capacity, performance and flexibility to be configured. The Storwize V3700 scales up to 240 terabytes and has a very affordable price and some software options integrated in the initial price. The Storwize V7000 offers almost two petabytes of capacity with several software options integrated in the base price, including automated tiering. The V7000 offers the option to consolidate external storage systems, while the V3700 was designed to consolidate small server environments.

The Storwize V5000 capacity and performance are right in the middle between V3700 and V7000, and it offers several optional software capabilities to allow customers start with a small, affordable system and grow according to his needs. The V5000 can scale up to 672 terabytes of storage with two-way clustering (two controllers together with their respective expansions) and provides the option to consolidate and manage external storage with external virtualization, which as I mentioned is the basis to start a SDS environment.

With a low entry price, this new system can be a very good alternative for customers who need a powerful repository of information for solutions like ProtecTIER® for efficient and dependable disaster recovery environments.

The V5000 can also be a good option for Managed Service Providers (or MSPs), with a virtualized system that can scale and easily manage the services they deliver to customers.

To sum up, the new Storwize V5000 is a great alternative for customers looking for efficient, easy to use and dependable storage, providing an attractive price point and the flexibility to be configured according to the needs of customers in a wide range of environments.

What are your experiences in SDS? Leave a comment below!

Marisol Diaz is the Worldwide Marketing Manager for IBM Storwize V5000. Marisol has been with IBM ten years and has held different marketing roles within the Storage brand during the last five years. She was involved with the announcement of the first Storwize entry system, the Storwize V3700.

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