IBM: Storage Management Portfolio Review

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IBM offers enterprises a variety of data storage management hardware and software, and its portfolio covers major market technologies, like object storage, all-flash, and software-defined storage (SDS)

One of the primary vendors in the storage market, IBM infuses its storage technology with automation, analytics, and data protection technology. IBM partners with other technology and consulting enterprises to more successfully deploy its storage solutions.  

See below to learn all about where IBM stands in the storage management market: 

A Closer Look at IBM’s Storage Management Portfolio

IBM Storage Management Portfolio Overview

Here are some of the key products in IBM’s storage management portfolio and their features and capabilities: 

IBM Spectrum

IBM Spectrum Storage, a family of software-defined storage solutions, includes:

  • Spectrum Control for infrastructure management that allows customers to monitor and automate multiple vendor storage solutions and devices
  • Spectrum Virtualize for migration and replication to transfer data between on-premises and cloud data centers
  • Spectrum Protect for data protection for applications, physical file servers, and virtual machines
  • Spectrum Discover for artificial intelligence (AI) in workflow and metadata management
  • Spectrum Archive for archived data and accessing tape storage
  • Spectrum Scale for big data analytics and automatic storage tiering 
  • Spectrum Cloud Object Storage for workloads and big data with a software-defined on-premises solution
  • Spectrum Protect Plus for disaster recovery and compliance features

Pricing for the whole Spectrum suite is per terabyte.

IBM FlashSystem

IBM FlashSystem is an all-flash family of storage arrays that offers:

  • Cyber resilience through IBM Spectrum Virtualize software, which provides automated data movement and encryption to all FlashSystem deployments
  • IBM FlashCopy snapshots 
  • Dynamic tiering based on data needs
  • Data reduction pool (DRP) technology, which includes deduplication
  • IBM HyperSwap for remote mirroring 

IBM Storage Insights 

IBM Storage Insights is a cloud-based platform that provides automated support and predictive analytics for storage systems. It helps enterprises:

  • Identify currently unused storage capacity 
  • Identify performance issues 
  • Reduce costs by placing data in the right storage tier
  • Create reports that predict storage growth

IBM Cloud Object Storage 

IBM Cloud Object Storage stores and protects unstructured data. Features include:

  • Automated storage tiering based on data usage activity 
  • Role-based policies and access controls 
  • Options for using encryption keys
  • Storage bucket management for cost savings
  • Availability and resiliency options for storing copies of data in different regions or data centers

IBM z Mainframes

IBM is known for its mainframe computers, particularly the z family. It first manufactured mainframe computers in the 1950s. Today, modern IBM mainframe computers: 

  • Work with Red Hat OpenShift to develop cloud-native applications 
  • Support IBM Cloud Paks 
  • Encrypt data and support policy controls for data privacy
  • Offer 7 nines of availability on the newest z15 mainframes
  • Store up to 500 copies of data 

IBM Partner Program

IBM’s partner program allows select companies to collaborate with IBM to deliver solutions to customers and receive benefits themselves. The partner program offers benefits such as:

  • Go-to-market messaging acceleration
  • Incentives for proof of concept
  • Assistance with hybrid cloud migration support 

IBM partners include:

  • Accenture: The consulting and technology services firm supports customers with their IBM technology needs, including on-premises to cloud migrations and legacy data system migrations
  • Deloitte: The professional services firm uses IBM technology to assist customers with systems integration, cyber risk services, and cognitive technology that uses IBM Watson Cognitive Services. 
  • Tata Consultancy Services: TCS provides IT services and business solutions to clients, and its partnership with IBM provides workload migration services that use IBM Cloud Paks, containerization solutions that run on Red Hat OpenShift. 
  • Veeam: The backup and data protection software provider integrates with IBM Spectrum Virtualize, and IBM Resiliency Services offers Veeam for backing up on-site and hybrid cloud workloads in a managed disaster recovery solution. 

IBM Storage Management Use Case

IT consulting and development firm Trident offers its zOperating System Environment Manager (zOSEM) software to businesses using IBM’s z/OS, an operating system for IBM mainframe computers. As Trident grew, it noticed a major backup in operations related to its storage: backups were taking too long, and batch jobs were sluggish, according to ​​Jaye Cerruti, a systems admin at Trident.

First, Trident used IBM Storage Insights to learn where it was running into problems. After it discovered that the issue was maxed-out IOPS capacity, Trident upgraded its storage system to IBM FlashSystem 5200. FlashSystem is an NVMe solution, a major step from the original spinning disk that eventually hit a wall. 

After implementing FlashSystem, backups took hours less than before. 

Trident purchased two IBM FlashSystem 5200 systems for off-site replication, fail over, and business continuity, according to IBM.

User Reviews of IBM Storage Management

The following table samples a few of IBM’s storage products and the ratings they’ve receive from users at respected review sites. 

IBM FlashSystem 
PeerSpot 4.2 / 5 stars
TrustRadius 8.9 / 10 stars
IBM Spectrum Scale
Gartner Peer Insights 4.5 / 5 stars
G2 4.3 / 5 stars
IBM Spectrum Protect
Gartner Peer Insights 4.4 / 5 stars
G2 3.9 / 5 stars
PeerSpot 3.9 / 5 stars
IBM Z Mainframe
G2 4.4 / 5 stars 
TrustRadius 9.1 / 10 stars

Industry Recognition of IBM Storage Management

Gartner named IBM a leader in its 2021 “Magic Quadrant for Primary Storage,” specifically for FlashSystem. Gartner also named IBM a leader in its 2021 “Magic Quadrant for Distributed File Systems and Object Storage.” 

In 2021, IBM was recognized by Comparably as one of the Top 50 large companies for global culture. It also received three awards from Fortune Top 100 in 2021: 100 Best Companies to Work For, Best Workplaces in Technology, and Best Big Companies to Work For. Ethisphere also ranked IBM as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2021.

Also read: Top Data Storage Companies

IBM in the Storage Management Market

IBM held 4.7% of the market share for external enterprise storage system supply in the second quarter of 2021, placing it fifth in the market in a tie with Hitachi and Pure Storage, according to IDC. Dell Technologies was the supplier with the top market share, at 26.8%.

IBM held 17.9% of the market share for high-performance computing storage systems in 2021, the second highest percentage for a vendor, according to Statista. Dell Technologies held the highest market share with 18.3%.

Read next: Best Storage and Disk Arrays 

Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a staff writer for Enterprise Storage Forum and eSecurity Planet, where she covers data storage, cybersecurity and the top software and hardware solutions in the storage industry. She’s also written about containerization and data management. Previously, she wrote for Webopedia. Jenna has a bachelor's degree in writing and lives in middle Tennessee.

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