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IBM Cloud Storage: Product Overview and Insight

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Bottom Line:

In the cloud storage market, IBM is generally thought of running behind leaders like AWS and Azure. Still, IBM Storage has a positive reputation as being designed for scale, with a focus on durability and resiliency. So companies that expect their advanced storage needs to grow rapidly can be assured that IBM, with its considerable resources, will have no problem meeting greater demand.

Additionally, buyers will benefit from IBM Storage's rich network of partnerships. The company has more than 70 partnerships with enterprise ISVs in areas of content distribution, analytics, data management, archiving, backup and cloud storage gateways. This presents an array of tools that can benefits any number of companies, with a great array of potential work scenarios.

Still, those companies that will be the best fit for IBM Storage are firms that are already doing business with IBM. This is due to potential issues around interoperability: the best possible software/workload fit will be with IBM-designed products.

Company Description:

IBM is a U.S.-based leader in IT. It offers hardware, software, storage and a multitude of services from cloud-based to analytics. It is publicly traded. IBM gained these cloud storage capabilities from the acquisition of Cleversafe a few years back. Customers include Bitly, Dreamstime, Prime Research, OhioHealth, and ENI.

Service Description:

IBM has two object storage platforms:

  • IBM Cloud Object Storage (COS) is based on technology acquired from Cleversafe. It is the main object storage service available in the IBM Cloud. It offers the ability to store, manage and access your data via a self-service portal and RESTful APIs. COS offers flexibility through storage tiers to support variety workloads. Multiple resiliency options match workloads with availability zones and cross regional offerings.
  • IBM Cloud Block Storage: Flash-backed, durable, persistent iSCSI-based block storage for use with virtual servers and bare metal. Block storage provides consistent performance with low latency, customizable IOPS options to meet workload requirements.
  • IBM Cloud File Storage: Durable, high performing NFS-based file shares up to 12TB with customizable IOPS.

Locations:

Its primary locations are: U.S. (Dallas, Texas; San Jose, California; and Washington D.C.), EU (Frankfurt, Milan and Amsterdam) and Asia/Pacific (Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo). Additionally, it has centers in Great Britain, Amsterdam, India, Melbourne, Toronto and two U.S. federal centers.

Storage Type:

File, Object, and block.

Differentiator:

IBM offers block and file storage with 48,000 IOPS and designed for the enterprise. COS has native built-in high-speed file transfer capabilities, with no charge on ingress.

Implementation:

After creating an IBM Cloud Platform account, you can provision a new service instance with just a few steps. Clearly, this is a a well defined process with an accessible user interface. 

On the block side this process can be a little more complex. One systems manager said ease of deployment could be improved.

Data Transfer:

Objects of up to 200 MB can be transferred using a web-based console. Support for larger object sizes and improved performance (depending on network factors) is provided by Aspera high-speed transfer. Other transfer tools or a COS API can be used for data transfer. IBM also has a variety of data migration services.

Performance:

IBM block and file storage provides up to 48,000 IOPS.

Availability/SLA:

Infrastructure availability SLA is up to 99.95% is available depending on the type of storage.

Technical Support:

Gartner clients highlight the great level of technical support (self-help, social media, phone, tickets and chat) during IBM COS implementation and migration periods. IBM provides documentation and 24/7 support in Cantonese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish.

“The support and sales teams have always gone out their way to not only help with our initial adoption, but to ensure the product was meeting our future needs as well,” said a systems architect in the services industry.

Security:

Only the bucket and object owners have access to the service instance they create. COS supports user authentication to access data. You can use access control mechanisms such as bucket policies to selectively grant permissions to users and applications. You can securely upload/download data to IBM Cloud Object Storage via SSL endpoints using the HTTPS protocol.

Data at rest is encrypted with automatic server-side Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit encryption and Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA)-256 hash. Data in motion is secured by using built-in, carrier-grade Transport Layer Security/Secure Sockets Layer (TLS/SSL) encryption.

Storage Management:

A dashboard offers access to: getting started information, buckets, endpoint, service credentials, connections, usage details, and their chosen plan. In addition, assistance with managing complex configurations is available from IBM Cloud Managed services.

Markets and Use Cases:

IBM’s sweet spot is the enterprise customer and mid-market looking for enterprise performance features. Use cases include

backup, archive, disaster recovery services, and analytics support.

Pricing for capacity.

Block Storage can be purchased with two pricing models: per GB when provisioned with Endurance IOPs tiers, or per GB + per IOP when provisioned with custom performance IOPS. Endurance IOP tier Pricing: IOPS Tier Price 0.25 IOPS/GB $0.10/GB 2 IOPS/GB $0.20/GB 4 IOPS/GB $0.35/GB 10 IOPS/GB $0.58/GB

Performance Custom IOPS Pricing:

$0.10/GB + $0.07/IOP

Vendor

IBM

Locations

US, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Great Britain, India, Canada, Australia.

Storage Type

File, block, object

Differentiator

High performance block and file storage

Performance

48,000 IOPS

Availability

99.95%

Gartner MQ Rating

Niche

Pricing

10 cents/GB

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