Friday, October 23, 2009

IBM announcement - DS8000 R5 - DS8700

Second in row for last Tuesdays announcements is the DS8700. Yet again, we have an announcement for each model type : 'IBM System Storage DS8700 high-performance flagship high-end disk addresses your business and financial needs' (2421 : ZG09-0832, 2422 : ZG09-0903, 2423 : ZG09-0904 and 2424 : ZG09-0905).

When you take a look at the summarizing table in the data sheet, you won't find a lot of difference between the DS8300 and the DS8700.
First of all there's the larger cache and Non Volatile Storage (NVS) that go up from maximum 256GB-8GB to 384GB-12GB.
Then there's of course the new processor where instead of the Power 5 2.2 GHz 4-way you now have the Power 6 4.7 GHz 2- or 4-way. The Power 6 is DS8700 only and allthough the DS8100 and the DS8300 will still be marketed, they will remain Power 5.
Thirdly, you also have to look at what's no longer there : ESCON has disappeared from the picture and I think that makes sense. I'm pretty sure that whoever is considering a DS8700 nowadays has migrated from ESCON to FICON.
Then there's another feature that's no longer supported ; LPAR-mode. I would've missed it, because the announcement only briefly mentions that 8300-LPAR model conversion is not supported. But Tony Pearson gives an explanation about this in his blog post on the DS8700 : customers just didn't seem to be interested in it and "it turned out that supporting both LPAR and non-LPAR modes merely doubled the testing effort, so IBM got rid of it for the DS8700".

So, what's the really new part ? I would paraphrase by saying : IBM made it "better, stronger, faster". I guess I'm getting old if a quote like this comes to my mind. But I have one consolation : if you recognize it, you must be getting old too, no ? Back to business and I'll once again quote Tony Pearson :
"On the hardware side, it uses faster POWER6 processors instead of POWER5+, has faster PCI-e buses instead of the RIO-G loops, and faster four-port device adapters (DAs) for added bandwidth between cache and drives".
I think this pretty much sums up the improvements that have been made for this new DS8000 generation. So what does this mean for you ? The DS8700 "can enable over a 50% performance improvement in I/O operations per second in transaction processing workload environments. Additionally, sequential workloads can receive as much as 150% bandwidth improvement".

Planned availability : Today October 23, 2009. The DS8100 and DS8300 can be upgraded to a DS8700. This hardware installation MES will be available on January 6, 2010.

(*) As I'm sure no one recognized the quote : it's from the opening sequence of Six Million Dollar Man !

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