IBM Spectrum Storage is a new storage software portfolio designed to address data storage inefficiencies by changing the economics of storage with a layer of intelligent software. IBM's new storage software creates an efficient "data footprint" that dynamically stores every bit of data at the optimal cost, helping maximize performance and security.
IBM Spectrum Storage incorporates more than 700 patents and is designed to help clients transform to a hybrid cloud business model by managing massive amounts of data where they want it, how they want it, in a fast and easy manner from a single dashboard. The software helps clients move data to the right location, at the right time, from flash storage for fast access to tape and cloud for the lowest cost.
To accelerate the development of next-generation storage software, IBM also announced plans to invest more than $1 billion in its storage software portfolio over the next five years. With this investment, the company aims to extend its storage technology leadership having recently been ranked #1 in software defined storage platforms for the first three quarters of 2014 by leading industry analyst firm IDC.1 The investment will focus on R&D of new cloud storage software, object storage and open standard technologies including OpenStack.
"A new approach is needed to help clients address the cost and complexity driven by tremendous data growth. Traditional storage is inefficient in today's world where the value of each piece of data is changing all the time," said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president, IBM Systems. "IBM is revolutionizing storage with our Spectrum Storage software that helps clients to more efficiently leverage their hardware investments to extract the full business value of data."
As new applications require cloud delivery or deployment, the demand for storing data in the cloud is increasing. This requires a new approach to managing data with a layer of software on top of existing storage hardware to drive innovation. Industry analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2019, 70% of existing storage array products will also be available as "software only" versions. And, by 2020, between 70% and 80% of unstructured data will be held on lower-cost storage managed by software defined storage environments.2
To capture this opportunity, IBM is the first company in the industry to embark on an accelerated roadmap to extract intelligence from its traditional storage hardware products enabling clients to use it in any form — as-a-service, as an appliance, or, as software. IBM Spectrum Accelerate is the first software product that the company has based on the software from its XIV high-end storage appliance.
IBM Spectrum Accelerate enables clients to layer their infrastructure with intelligent features derived from XIV. These features include unique architecture with zero-tuning that can help clients dynamically add storage capacity in minutes versus the months it takes today to add, install and run storage hardware systems. The software can help provide business continuity upon disaster for all committed data, compared to the risk of losing 15 minutes of data or more with certain other competing storage software. Both speed and data protection are essential to clients in data-driven industries such as financial services, health care, retail and telecommunications as they seek to deploy new workloads on the hybrid cloud.
With this announcement, the company is making IBM Spectrum Accelerate software open – based on industry standards and available to be used on commodity hardware. Clients can use Spectrum Accelerate to pool existing data center resources to build their own enterprise-grade, scalable, hyper-cloud environment. Using a single, user-friendly dashboard created by the IBM Design Lab and industry leading designers, the software manages data flexibly and cost-efficiently across clients' existing datacenters and purpose-built cloud environments.
The XIV architecture has been proven in large cloud environments with clients like Netflix, the on-demand Internet streaming media company.
Netflix recently turned to IBM for help creating a more agile storage infrastructure for its growing data management challenges. The company deployed IBM XIV Gen3 storage systems to manage its databases, development, testing and back-up operations. As a result, Netflix was able to replace 16 existing storage systems with only three XIV systems for an 80% reduction in actual data center floor space, and it also expects the systems will enable the company to significantly boost its database transactions per minute.
Integrated Seamless Data Movement To and From Clouds
Building off an IBM Research invention, IBM later this year plans to introduce a multi-cloud connecter as a software feature in IBM Spectrum Storage.3 This feature will be designed to help organizations dynamically migrate data across multiple clouds, while keeping it confidential. The feature will employ a "cloud-of-clouds" approach that invokes the resilience of separate clouds to offer stronger protection against service outages and data loss than any single cloud can deliver.
Like other IBM Spectrum Storage offerings, IBM Spectrum Accelerate includes an intuitive, easy-to-use Graphical User Interface (GUI) management dashboard, and integrates with IBM Spectrum Control for consolidated management. The IBM Spectrum Accelerate GUI can be run on any browser enabled device, from desktops to iOS and Android mobile devices. The GUI, called Hyper-Scale Manager, lets clients manage technical and administrative operations through a mobile dashboard at the tap of a screen. In the era of real-time data management, mobile management of storage can help reduce storage downtime, data overload, over-provisioning and application disruption.
IBM Spectrum Accelerate features an array of cloud-ready features and technologies, including snapshot, synchronous and asynchronous replication, multi-tenancy, automation through RESTful API and OpenStack, VMware vCloud Suite integration and self-provisioning. It is easy to acquire, license and install; offers a flexible licensing model designed to mesh short- and longer-term budget realities and is delivered via download from the IBM Passport Advantage web site.
Thinking Outside of the Box: Global Clients Adopting IBM Storage Software
Clients like NARI System and Integration Company, China State Grid's IT division are looking to transform their business operations by using software defined storage and are testing IBM Spectrum Accelerate as they move toward a hybrid cloud environment.
China State Grid is the largest state owned utility company in the world. The company has prioritized software defined infrastructure as a strategic imperative to deal with increasing complexity and costs of information technology services. NARI System and Integration Company, under NARI Group, a wholly owned subsidiary under the governance of China State Grid's IT division, invited IBM to introduce software defined storage technologies and IBM Spectrum Accelerate was selected for evaluation. Mr. Xu Ji, Chief Architect of NARI SI Company, said "In our testing, we found IBM Spectrum Accelerate provides the full functionality of the field proven XIV hardware appliance, giving us the agility and ease of deployment to use across our existing hardware infrastructure without sacrificing any features. IBM Spectrum Accelerate is one of the most important platforms in State Grid's software defined strategy future."
About IBM Spectrum Storage
IBM's Spectrum Storage portfolio can centrally manage more than 300 different storage devices and yottabytes of data. This device interoperability is the broadest in the industry – incorporating both IBM and non-IBM hardware and tape systems. IBM Spectrum Storage can help reduce storage costs up to 90% in certain environments by automatically moving data onto the most economical storage device – either from IBM or non-IBM flash, disk and tape systems.
1 IDC Worldwide Quarterly Storage Software Qview, December 2014. 4Q 2014 report is pending.
2. Gartner Innovation Insight: Separating Hype From Hope for Software-Defined Storage authored by Dave Russell and Arun Chandrasekaran published on October 2014.
3 Statements regarding IBM's future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only.