Storwize array claims flexibility for IBM midrange

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IBM has been busy piling up the functionality for its storage offerings. Announcing the changes at a launch in New York, the company gave prominence to the Storwize V7000 aimed at the midmarket.

Rather than sell terabytes, IBM has moved to offering a bundle of free software to add value to the hardware. The company outlined its five pillars strategy as supporting data compression, deduplication, virtualisation, thin provisioning and automated tiering.

Rod Adkins, IBM's senior vice president of its Systems and Technology Group, said adding these features to the VS7000 was a "game-changer." The name of the range reflected much of the value-added stems from the August acquisition of Storwize, a storage efficiency software company.

On the hardware front, the new mid-range modular array comes in 12 and 24-disk configurations with two controllers. This can be scaled up to nine 2U (3.5in) high disk arrays with 240 drives.

The V7000 array also enables users to install a variety of 2.5in or 3.5in drives, including serial ATA (SATA), serial-attached SCSI (SAS) and solid-state drives (SSDs).

The inclusion of IBM's pre-installed Easy Tier software allows data to be automatically hierarchically stored so highly active information can be stored on any SSD storage for high availability. Less active data is moved to the hard drives for cost-effectiveness but keeps online access.

IBM claimed the Easy Tiers technology could double system performance and the inclusion of ProtecTIER deduplication gave increased capacity by rationalising storage requirements. This efficiency was further enhanced with the compression algorithm that came with the Storwize buyout.

The array can be integrated with legacy storage systems from other manufacturers and virtualisation and thin provisioning masks the multiple-sourcing from users and applications.

The V7000 starts at just under $55,000 (35,000).

Atkins also announced several upgrades to existing product lines with an emphasis on these software enhancements. This included a new high-end array in its DS8000-series line. The company said this would give a 40 per cent speed increase over current models in the range.

The company has also updated the SAN Volume Controller software to add an improved interface, Easy Tier software and greater scalability.