Thursday, October 7, 2010

IBM System Storage DS8800

Today, IBM made quite some storage announcements on the new Midrange Storwize V7000 with Easy Tier and External Virtualization (ZG10-0340, ZG10-0455), the IBM San Volume Controller V.6.1.0 (ZP10-0449), the DS8700 and the new DS8800. I'm going to focus on the DS8000 family here. But if you're interested in the other announcements as well, I can point you to some very good blogs commenting on them : Storage CH Blog, The Storage Buddhist, Barry White's Blog and Tony Pearson's Inside System Storage. And here's a one-page overview.

What's interesting to notice is that IBM is really integrating components of different systems, taking valuable functionalities of one system and implementing them into the other ones. As you already saw, Easy Tier makes its entrance into the midrange systems. Another example : the (very) easy to use management interface of the XIV is now implemented into the Storwize V7000 and the new SVC.

But now on to the DS8800 and some new functionalities on the DS8700. As you might already've guessed : no more announcements for the DS8100 or DS8300. Here's a picture of the new DS8800 (front view with and without cover).

Click on image to enlarge in new window

As a matter of fact, the DS8800 is the fourth generation of the DS8000 which already dates back to 2004. It's built on proven Power technology and IBM clearly indicates that we should expect more versions to come. It seems clear that customers more value performance, reliability and stability rather than whatever new functions or machines come their way. So it's no coincidence that the DS8800 contains for 85% the same system code as the DS8700.

There were four announcements, just like we've seen in the past, one for each warranty type. It starts with the machine type 2421 with the '1' indicating a one-year warranty up to the 2424 with a four-year warranty (ZG10-0328, ZG10-0329, ZG10-0335, ZG120-0330). The model was 941 for the DS8700 and becomes 951 for the DS8800. To make the announcement overview for the DS8800 complete, there's also an announcement on the Function Authorizations (ZG10-0331).

So What's New ?
IBM POWER6+™ based processors
For the moment we stay with the Power6 but the Power6+ version should deliver a sequential read throughput performance improvement of up to 20% and a sequential write throughput performance improvement of up to 40%.

High-density storage enclosure
High-density frame design improvements
Here's one of the main differences with the DS8700. I've put them next to one another here and you can immediately notice some differences.
Click on image to enlarge in new window

The DS8800 supports only small-form-factor 2.5” SAS drives. The drives offer better performance at the same rotational speeds and since they’re smaller than the 3.5” drives, you can have more drives into a frame. We go from 8 megapacks of 16 drives (128 drives) to 10 gigapacks of 24 drives (240 drives) in the base frame. More drives per frame also means less floor space and since we only need three frames to obtain a 1056 drive configuration, we should also have some 30% of energy savings.

Upgraded I/O adapters
The DS8800 model offers enhanced connectivity with four-port and new eight-port Fibre Channel/FICON host adapters.

More efficient airflow
All disks are now situated at the front of the DS8800. This has the advantage that the hot air is no longer coming out at the top of the system (chimney apporach). With its new Front-to-Back airflow it now fits perfectly into the hot-aisle-cold-aisle data center.

Drive support
We no longer see the FC drives and also the SATA drives are no longer offered on the DS8800. As the announcement says : "The DS8800 offers a selection of disk drives, including Serial Attached SCSI second generation drives (SAS-2) that communicate using a 6 Gbps interface. These drives use a 2.5" form factor for increased density and performance per frame". This leaves us with the following drives :
  • 146 GB 15,000 rpm SAS
  • 450 GB 10,000 rpm SAS
  • 600 GB 10,000 rpm SAS
  • 300 GB SSD drive.
Allthough we see the '10,000 rpm' pop up again, the performance figures I've seen so far look nevertheless promising.

Limited availability
We've seen the same with the DS8700 : some functions that are already implemented on the DS8700 will only become available later on the DS8800. A couple of those are :
  • Quick initialization and thin provisioning support
  • Remote Pair FlashCopy support
  • Easy Tier support
  • z/OS distributed data backup support
General Statement of Direction
There's two interesting statements here and I quote : "It is IBM's current plan and direction to release a single version of machine code that can be used with either the DS8700 or the DS8800. Both products will then support the same functionality and have a common machine code base. IBM is also planning to offer an option for 8Gb host adapters within the DS8700 to support increased host server bandwidth". This should become available in the first half of 2011.

Next to that there was also an announcement for the DS8700 : 'IBM System Storage DS8700 offers new performance options (ZG10-0310)'. Main item here is the announcement of 600GB SSD drives.

Check out the availabilty dates because several dates are mentioned starting at October 22, 2010 up to December 10, 2010 for the SSD drives.

No comments: