IBM Adds Solid State Drive Tiering to DS8700 Storage Array

IBM (NYSE: IBM) has become the latest storage networking vendor to add automated tiering to its data storage arrays.

Automatic storage tiering is viewed by storage vendors and users as a way to make the most of pricey solid state drives (SSDs) by placing only the most critical data on SSDs. EMC’s (NYSE: EMC) Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) is one such approach, but hardly the only one (see Automated SSD Tiering: EMC’s FAST Wasn’t First).

IBM’s new Easy Tier for the high-end DS8700 offers automated tiering at the sub-volume level — a feature not planned by EMC for a few more months.

According to a Taneja Group analysis on IBM’s Web site, Easy Tier “will dynamically and automatically redistribute the 1GB extents within DS8000 disk pools,” and will “automatically reposition data based on I/O patterns and disk characteristics.”

Administrators can use pre-configured templates or create their own policies, and IBM is also offering an API for periodic migrations and custom integrations.

As with most DS8000 features, Easy Tier will be enabled with a microcode upgrade. “The architecture within the DS8000 demonstrates how storage arrays can be extended with new technology. Competitors too often replace hardware instead,” the Taneja Group paper said.

Easy Tier was one of several data storage products announced by IBM today.

The TS7650 ProtecTIER deduplication appliance gets expanded replication ability, and Big Blue is also adding 2TB SATA drives to its XIV, DS8000, and N series storage arrays.

Also new from IBM are tape drives and libraries supporting the new LTO-5 standard, including a Tape File System offering better access to data storage on tapes.

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Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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