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A New Era in Midrange Storage IDC Analyst paper


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Storage has evolved from a peripheral to the foundational technology in IT. Data (and
therefore, the protection of that data) underpins the internet, Cloud and internal
datacenters worldwide.
Having storage systems that allow users to scale up in performance, scale out in
capacity, and scale deep to leverage existing investments are the key tenets on which
next generation datacenters are founded.
IBM, in its announcement of the Storwize V7000 has taken all these into account. The
V7000 meets all three scaling needs, is feature packed. It is also a clear example of
how leveraging industry standards can yield high return for both IBM and its

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A New Era in Midrange Storage IDC Analyst paper

  1. 1. WHITE P APER A New Era in Midrange Storage Sponsored by: IBM Benjamin Woo December 2010 IDC OPINION Storage has evolved from a peripheral to the foundational technology in IT. Data ( therefore, the protection of that data) underpins the internet, Cloud and internal datacenters worldwide. Having storage systems that allow users to scale up in performance, scale out inF.508.935.4015 capacity, and scale deep to leverage existing investments are the key tenets on which next generation datacenters are founded. IBM, in its announcement of the Storwize V7000 has taken all these into account. The V7000 meets all three scaling needs, is feature packed. It is also a clear example ofP.508.872.8200 how leveraging industry standards can yield high return for both IBM and its customers. SITUATION OVERVIEWGlobal Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA 01701 USA An opportunistic market IDC research shows that external storage systems in price bands five through eight (representing storage systems that have an average selling price between US$25,001 and US$250,000) have a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3% between 2009 and 2014. These price bands are often considered by the industry as representing midrange storage systems. This represents a CAGR that is more than 20% more aggressive than the external storage market, and nearly a 45% improvement on the total storage market in the same period. Contrasting this positive news, in the highest two price bands that represent those external storage systems costing more than US$250,000, that market is expected to show a 2.6% decline over the same period. With these forecasts in hand, it is obvious that a focus on the midrange storage market will yield the most opportunities for any storage vendor.
  2. 2. FIGURE 12009 IBM Marketshare, Midrange Systems for External FCStorage SystemsSource: IDC, 2007In 2009, IBM held the leadership in terms of vendor share (with 19.5% of the market)for midrange storage systems as defined above for external fibre channel storagesystems. For the last several years, IBM has served this market with a plethora ofofferings – the DS3000, DS4000 and DS5000. In the most recent year IBM has beenconsolidating the number of offerings in this space. But what IBM needed was a newarchitecture that can parallel and scale with the data and information managementmessaging it has been pursuing throughout 2009 and 2010.What a next generation midrange storagesystem needsNext generation storage systems are built on three critical premises: Scalability Efficiency SimplicityEach of these elements help to define whether a storage system will meet the ever-growing and ever-changing demands of end-users.ScalabilityScalability can be measured in three different ways: Scale Up2 #225882 ©2010 IDC
  3. 3. Scale Out Scale WideScaling UpTraditionally, storage systems have ridden atop Moores Law. As processors improvein performance and capabilities, storage systems vendors have simply leveragedthese improvements in subsequent generations of storage systems or in largerversions of existing storage systems.The benefit of scaling up is that as systems scale, there are few interruptions tooperations, and in many cases, components within a storage system can berepurposed in subsequent generations or upgraded versions of a given family ofstorage system.The challenge however, is that scale-up storage systems have typically beenproprietary, particularly in monolithic storage systems. Historically, even in modularmidrange systems, proprietary components and the software which drives the storagesystem is typically written to operate with a fixed number (usually two) controllers inmind, and as such limits the potential scalability of these storage systemsScaling OutIn more recent years, there has been a tremendous focus on scaling out. The conceptis simple, rather than leveraging proprietary hardware, rewrite the software code totake advantage of many industry standard server platforms and leverage thecollective performance of these relatively inexpensive, yet (potentially) infinitelyscalable hardware platforms.Scale out systems can also benefit from scaling up. As newer generations of industrystandard servers are released, the benefits of these servers can be integrated withexisting platforms to create a larger, more powerful storage server pool whileprotecting the investment made in existing storage server nodes.Scaling WideWhile scale out architectures can assist in protecting investment in storage serverand storage capacity elements of an existing storage system in the same family, itcannot provide the same investment protection to other third party storage systems(even if they are from the same vendor).This is where scaling wide has benefits. The ability to integrate third party storagesystems behind a scale-out architecture (i.e. scaling wide), now provides all thebenefits of the relatively simple, low-cost approach to scaling storage systems whilebeing able to leverage external third party storage systems to extend the life ofexisting storage investments and/or to take advantage of specialized cost or features.EfficiencyThe most critical features and functions for storage systems today address storageefficiency. These technologies include:©2010 IDC #225882 3
  4. 4. Automated storage tiering Space efficient backups (snapshots) On-site and Off-site Data Replication Transparent migrationAutomated storage tieringOne of the major challenges as it relates to the efficient use of storage media is theneed to put the right data (typically the most accessed) on the right price/performancedata storage medium.Solid state storage technologies can help. Solid State Disks (SSDs) that leveragesNAND Flash technologies to provide ultra-high performance, when used to targetperformance sensitive data should be deployed to address these needs. In most end-user environments, investment in ultra-high performance capacity does not need toexceed 10% of the storage capacity.The balance of the capacity should leverage serial-attached SCSI drives (SAS). SAScombines the cost effectiveness of serial-ATA (SATA) drives with the enterprisefeatures, such as dual interface ports, of fibre channel (FC).With this infrastructure in place, the biggest challenge for end-users is ensuring thatthe right data is in the right tier of storage.The most effective approach is to let the storage system make that determinationbased on the actual I/O that it is reading and writing. As such, having automatedstorage tiering becomes critical in terms of meeting performance service levels whileminimizing cost.Space efficient backups (snapshots)Managing the cost of storage capacity is not limited to primary, in-use data. Backupsand snapshots also need to be efficient. Particularly where an end-user leverages itsstorage system in a mixed-use environment, being able to make space efficientbackups for testing or for data recovery can end up being a big portion of a datastorage investment.Additionally, these capacity efficient backups must also be fully integrated intomission critical applications – not only to eliminate backup windows but to ensure theintegrity of the data during backups.On-site and off-site replicationThe ability to provide on-site and off-site replication is critical to the protection ofdigital assets. Storage systems need to incorporate the ability to create an almostinstant copy of active data, which can be used for backup purposes or for parallelprocessing activities. To improve efficiencies, storage systems should alsoincorporate the ability to support incremental copies, copying only the portions of thesource or target volume that have been updated.4 #225882 ©2010 IDC
  5. 5. The combination of thin provisioning technologies along with efficient copytechnologies results in end-users using only a fraction of the amount of storageneeded for a full physical copy to improve overall storage utilization.These functions are only relevant and useful, if they can be managed within anoverall management platform, preferably from a single pane of glass to maximizeproductivity.When creating data protection policies that go beyond a single storage system, it isnecessary to leverage systems that can create remote mirroring capabilities betweensystems at different locations to help create copies of data for use in the event of acatastrophic event at a data center. Given the prevalence of VMware, these functionsshould ideally be designed to support VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manage to helpspeed disaster recovery.Transparent MigrationData migration, is perhaps the riskiest activity that goes on in a datacenter, and is oneof the most common causes of planned downtime. The ability to create transparentmigrations between existing platforms and future platforms will mitigate these risks.These functions should ideally occur while maintaining access to the data. The datamigration function might be used, for example, when replacing older storage withnewer storage, as part of load balancing work or when moving data in a tieredstorage infrastructure.There are economic benefits to transparent migration functions that can can provideefficiency and business value. This can speed time-to-value from weeks or months todays, minimize downtime for migration, eliminate the cost of add-on migration tools,and may help avoid penalties and additional maintenance charges for leaseextensions.SimplicityGiven the number of data intensive functions with which storage systems areinvolved, from RAID calculations to automated data tiering, the management ofstorage systems can get quite involved.Nonetheless, with the focus of end-users being placed squarely on the delivery ofservice levels to support business applications, a simple management interface iscritical. Ideally, the management interface can be integrated with an enterprisestorage management platform, and ultimately with a data center wide managementplatform.Overall, storage systems need to provide as much reactive information as well asproactive recommended actions to the storage administrators. While some storageadministrators desire to see intricate details regarding what a storage system isdoing, others simply want to know that the prescribed tasks are completed.Finding this balance can sometimes be a difficult challenge for storage managementsoftware. But it is a necessary one.©2010 IDC #225882 5
  6. 6. FUTURE OUTLOOKIBM is addressing the next generation midrange disk storage systems need with itsStorwize V7000. The Storwize V7000 has taken appealing aspects of its XIV andDS8000 storage systems and SVC gateway and combined it into a single solution.With the introduction of the Storwize V7000, IBM will enable its customers to startfrom a minimal number of disk drives and ultimately scale up to nearly 240TB ofstorage. To fulfill its "scale wide" promise, IBM has also designed the Storwize V7000to attach other external storage systems to extend the capacity even further.To maximize the density of the Storwize V7000, IBM is leveraging a consistentcompact 2U form factor. It has also included a number of premium features that willbe included with each Storwize V7000. These include: IBMs EasyTier automated data tiering FlashCopy Nondisruptive data movement Thin ProvisioningLeveraging the success of the XIV storage system, IBM has adapted the XIV GUI tothe Storwize V7000. The Storwize V7000 can also be managed by IBMs TivoliStorage Productivity Center and IBMs Systems Director Storage Control.On the backend, IBM is one of the first leading storage vendors to leverage theStorage Bridge Bay (SBB) Working Groups SBB 2.0 architecture. The use of SBB byIBM makes a lot of sense. An SBB platform is essentially an x86 industry standardserver blade plugged into storage shelf. This means that IBM can acceleratedevelopment and deployment of advanced storage services via software.It will also decrease the development and testing costs associated with bringing nextgeneration features and functions to market. One such use may be to leverage itsrecently acquired compression technology to improve efficiency and reduce costseven further..IBM could also develop (or migrate) almost any relevant x86-based application to theStorwize V7000. In essence, IBM could conceivably develop the system as a storageapplication platform.Overall the Storwize V7000 represents a highly scalable platform for IBM customers.Finally, IBM is able to deliver a storage platform that can help it address its small andmedium business (SMB) customers through to its high end medium sized business.The consistency in interface between the Storwize V7000 and XIV enables IBMcustomers to seamlessly evolve to the larger platform.6 #225882 ©2010 IDC
  7. 7. CHALLENGES/OPPORTUNITIESDespite the efficiency and consolidation efforts made by IBM in the last 18 months, theDS series of block based storage solutions has been too fragmented and confusing.The Storwize V7000 and XIV define truly a new generation and approach from IBM. Italso demonstrates IBMs commitment to R&D, and reflects IBMs innovation in storage.With that said, the market into which the Storwize V7000 is being deployed is alreadyvery mature with many well regarded competitors. The Storwize V7000 is a departurefrom its DS family of storage solutions, and IBM will need to take care not to isolatethose existing customers while evolving those customers to the new platform.Secondly, IBM may need to change the way it markets the N series to take advantageof the Storwize V7000. It may benefit IBM greatly to leverage the gateway solutionfrom its partner NetApp in front of a Storwize V7000.With the exponential growth of fixed content and unstructured data, the StorwizeV7000 should allows potential customers to leverage the Storwize V7000 and thenvirtualize existing storage investment as an archive.It behooves IBM to demonstrate to its customers the many use cases that theStorwize V7000 can be deployed. It needs to also advise its customers about theshort to midterm roadmap for the Storwize V7000. Customers will want to understandwhere the Storwize V7000 will scale and at what time so they can understand whenan XIV solution may be more suitable.The IBM midrange storage systems have been due for a significant refresh. TheStorwize V7000 is an appropriate response, and builds the right platform for IBM toonce again be a technology leader in the storage market.Sponsored by IBMCopyright NoticeExternal Publication of IDC Information and Data — Any IDC information that is to beused in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior writtenapproval from the appropriate IDC Vice President or Country Manager. A draft of theproposed document should accompany any such request. IDC reserves the right todeny approval of external usage for any reason.Copyright 2010 IDC. Reproduction without written permission is completely forbidden. TSL03019USEN-00©2010 IDC #225882 7