Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Storage announcements : DS8700

IBM made some 70+ announcements today including some interesting storage announcements for the DS8700, XIV and ProtecTier. There are two announcements on the DS8700, one with the actual announcement (ZG10-0125) and one about the Function Aouthorizations like Thin Provisioning (ZG10-0140).

You might say the announcement has three types of new functionalities for the DS8700.
The first type is about some catching up that had to be done : Thin Provisioning (still only for open volumes) and Remote Pair FlashCopy are now also available on the DS8700.
The second type of functionalities is those I would categorize under the normal evolution of the DS8700. Release 5.1 shows us the following new features :
  • 600 GB 15,000 rpm Fibre Channel Disk Drives
  • 2 TB 7,200 rpm SATA disk drives
  • Concurrent code load improvements : the download phase is separated from the activation phase, limiting the latter to a maximum of 2 hours
  • Prevent deletion of CKD and FB volumes in use
  • As SSD drives are not cheap : "Eight drive install group of Solid State Disk (SSD) - Offers the support of eight drive install group of SSD (half disk drive set), providing additional price/performance and capacity flexibility to help address application and business requirements".
The third one is the real innovative part of the announcement : IBM System Storage Easy Tier. The two features of the new functionality can be summarized as follows :
  • "Automated relocation - Volumes in an extent pool with SSD and HDD will be managed automatically by moving hot extents to SSD and cold extents to HDD."
    The problem with SSD is that they're quite expensive and you do not exactly know what to put on those SSDs or how many of them you need. Well, from now on, Easy Tier will determine what should best be put on SSDs ànd it will also automatically do so. It will move data at sub-volume or sub-LUN level from HDD or SATA drives to SDDs. This is done by monitoring the data activity and determining which data are 'hot' which means which data are giving a maximum performance boost by moving them to SSDs. These data (so not necessarily entire volumes) will be dynamically, non-disruptively and transparantly moved to SSDs in such a hybrid extent pool.
    What's also nice : there's a Storage Tier Advisor Tool that can be used before you even have SSD drives. It can give you insight on how many SSDs you might want to buy to get optimal performance enhancements.
  • "Volume migration - Enables the manual relocation of volumes between extent pools, as well as the restriping of volumes within an extent pool, and the ability to merge existing extent pools".
    You don't even have to have SSDs installed in order to use Easy Tier functionalities. The second feature operates at volume level. "Easy Tier also includes the ability to dynamically relocate individual logical volumes to another drive tier or to another drive type within a tier. For example, clients can move a volume from a set of 15,000 RPM spinning drives to a set of 10,000 RPM spinning drives. In addition, they can also change a volume’s RAID type from, say, RAID 5 to RAID 6, as well as change the way data is striped within the system. For instance, a volume that was configured to stripe data across a single RAID array can be changed to stripe data across multiple arrays for better performance. And all of this can be done dynamically without disrupting applications."
More good news : Easy tier is a no charge feature on the DS8700.

Planned availability date : May 21, 2010.

Tomorrow, I'll try and tell some more about the XIV and Protectier enhancements.

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