IBM Poised to Shake Up Storage Market

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IBM is set to make a major splash in the storage market
next week at a press event in New York, where it will introduce its
renovated disk family to help customers face rising tides of
unstructured data.

According to information obtained by, the upgrades will include
two new disk subsystems — the DS6000 and the DS8000 — as the next products
in the company’s evolving disk storage suite. In a bold move, the DS8000
employs the Virtualization Engine used in IBM’s current Power5 servers.

An IBM spokesperson refused comment Thursday when asked to confirm the products.

The DS6000 and DS8000, geared for the mid-market to high-end enterprises,
respectively, follow on the heels of the DS3000 and DS4000, announced
in September.

The DS8000 is unique in the industry because it features two logical
partitions to run management or utility applications, such as the company’s
SAN Volume Controller and Tivoli Storage Manager, for backup and data

While HDS’ new TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform launched
last month with considerable virtualization capabilities, IBM has drawn from
its server technology well, using the technology that drives the company’s
Power5 machines to spice up its DS8000.

By allowing administrators to partition storage like a mainframe, IBM is
delivering on the convergence between the server and storage lines the
company promised
earlier this year.

The race to safeguard customers’ e-mail, spreadsheet and photo files from
loss is on as record retention policies sweep the country. Storage
systems that adhere to some order of information lifecycle management appear
to lead the public’s interest, according to analysts. This makes IBM’s
upgraded disk systems valuable and competitive with EMC and HDS.

Targeted for large businesses as well as EMC’s upper-crust DMX products and
HDS’ TagmaStore, the DS8000 runs zOS, Unix, Linux and OS400. It supports
Fibre Channel , ESCON and FICON
, eight to 64 FC or FICON drives or four to 32 ESCON drives.

The machine holds 96 petabytes of total storage, with
256GB cache and the capability to handle 73GB, 146GB or 300GB drives. Going
forward, the DS family line is expected to include a machine capable of
handling one petabyte of storage while running 128 FC or
FICON, or 64 ESCON drives.

Aimed squarely at mid-market products like EMC’s CX700 or DMX800, the DS6000
supports zOS, Unix, Linux and OS400, includes 67 terabytes of disk capacity,
four GBs of cache and eight Fibre Channel ports, and it supports 73GB, 146GB and 300GB drives.

The DS6000 and DS8000 will have the same functionality that was previously
only available in the Armonk, N.Y., company’s high-volume Enterprise Storage
Server, including Peer-to-Peer Remote Copy and FlashCopy replication tools.

IBM will announce more at the event Tuesday, but experts who have been
briefed are keeping mum. Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Nancy Hurley
would not reveal specific details, but said the news should shake up the
competition in the high end of the market, which includes HDS and EMC.

“IBM has architected systems that are flexible and scalable in a way that
other existing systems are not, and it will take significant architectural
changes for the competition to offer something on par with IBM’s new
products,” Hurley told

“It’s time to get away from looking at just speeds and
feeds, and look at how organizations want to use their storage resources
over a long period of time,” she continued. “This is a significant change from how storage
has been offered in the past.”

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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