Wednesday, October 12, 2011

IBM Announcement : DS8000 enhancements for drives, Easy Tier, System z . . .

Second Tuesday of a new quarter seems to have become IBM Announcement Day. Yesterday was no different with a lot of storage announcements and today we still have some interesting mainframe announcements coming our way. For the storage I'm starting off with the DS8000 : IBM System Storage DS8000 series offers higher scalability with additional tiering capabilities and drive options (ZG11-0282).

Just to put the DS8700 customers at ease, the announcement says : "All features and functions in this announcement are supported on the IBM System Storage DS8700 and DS8800 series". Allthough there are of course some specific DS8800 features. Here's a short overview of what's new :
  • DS8800 supports additional expansion frame and over 1,500 drives
  • New DS8800 options for 3TB nearline drives, 300GB 15k rpm drives, 900GB 10k rpm drives, and 400GB SSD drives . Oh, by the way, SATA seems to be outdated, you should take about 'nearline' storage now !
  • Easy Tier enhancements, including migration across 3 drive tiers and support for thin provisioned volumes . The announcement says : "Easy Tier monitors disk activity in real time and migrates data across tiers and within a tier to optimize performance automatically". I'm not really sure how to interpret this. Is this real time monitoring or is this also real time migrating data across tiers. I thought Easy Tier was constantly monitoring but that it changed its strategy only once every 24 hours. Has this changed now ? I think I'll have to take a closer look at this one.
But I would want to focus on some System z enhancements
  • I/O Priority support for System z volumes : in fact this is a cooperation between the previously announced DS8000 I/O priority manager and z/OS Workload Manager. Up to now the priority manager was only available for open systems. It now also supports CKD volumes. This integration "is intended to improve disk I/O performance for important workloads and drive I/O prioritization to the disk system by allowing WLM to give priority to the system's resources automatically when higher priority workloads are not meeting their performance goals". Looks promising, no ?
  • Larger System z volumes. Volumes can now scale up to approximately 1 TB (1,182,006 cylinders)
  • Support for new High Performance FICON for System z (zHPF) enhancements. Amongst others "zHPF has been enhanced to support DB2 list prefetch. These enhancements include a new cache optimization algorithm that can greatly improve performance and hardware efficiency. When combined with the latest releases of z/OS and DB2, it can demonstrate up to 14x-60x increase in sequential or batch processing performance". Mind you, this is only in combination with the new FICON Express8S cards.
  • GDPS enhancements for business continuity.
Planned availability is in two steps : November 18 and December 9. Check out the announcement for the details.

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