IBM Debuts DS8870 Arrays in Big Data, Cloud Storage Revamp

IBM is giving its Smarter Computing initiative an added push today with the launch of several new products and services that focus on “security, cloud and analytics,” according to the tech titan. The rollout includes new Power 770 and 780 servers that feature the company’s new POWER7+ microprocessor, new PowerVM virtualization software, PowerSC security and compliance software and new mainframe software offerings.

On the storage front, the company unveiled new systems and software that address Big Data storage performance challenges, and in some cases, embrace the popular OpenStack cloud platform.

IBM launched a new System Storage DS8870 array, which according to Ed Walsh, vice president of Marketing and Strategy for IBM System Storage, “is three times faster than the last version of this product.” Compared to its predecessor, the DS8800, the new DS8870 can deliver three times the performance to transaction processing applications, claims IBM.

The improvement is due, in part, to controllers that now pack Power7 processors and up to 1 terabyte (TB) of cache. In tests, the system bested rivals with an SPC-1 result of 451,082 IOPS (all-HDD) and an SPC-2 rating of 15,424 MB per second.

The DS8870 is also “flash optimized,” says Walsh, and customers don’t have to make a big investment in solid-state drives (SSDs) to achieve huge gains in system performance and responsiveness. By adding “just two percent” of flash storage capacity relative to hard disk space, customers can achieve up to a “300 percent increase in performance.”

How? Walsh credits the DS8870’s new, more powerful processing capabilities, built-in intelligence and enhanced storage management software. Walsh also hints IBM is making a big effort to advance its solid-state storage know-how. Strategic moves, like the recent Texas Memory acquisition, also play into the company’s enterprise flash strategy.

For an added dose of security, the DS8870 ships with full self-encrypting drives as standard. The system should also help keep data center power requirements in check. The DS8870 is 20 percent more energy efficient than its predecessor, reports IBM.

IBM’s mainframe virtual tape library gets some attention in the form of security improvements within Virtualization Engine TS7700 Release 3. To protect sensitive data, like customer records, the system supports “encrypted data at rest and in flight” via hardware encrypting disk drives (in the TS7720 and TS7740 models), encrypting tape systems (TS7740) and secure links between TS7700 systems.

The TS7700 can handle more data, too. The update offers support for up to 4 million virtual tape cartridges, twice the amount from previous versions, and up to 40 percent more physical capacity on the TS7720.

IBM Research’s OpenStack contributions, namely Nova-volume and Cinder drivers, are starting to wend their way into more products. XIV Storage System Generation 3 enterprise arrays and Storwize V7000 unified storage systems get cloud-friendly updates thanks to OpenStack Nova-volume drivers.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Pedro Hernandez
Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to Datamation, eWEEK, and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro.

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