back to article IBM wheels out upgraded FlashSystem: Now breathe in and squeeeeze

IBM has tripled the capacity of its FlashSystem arrays and added hardware compression to squeeeze in more data. These arrays, last updated in April 2016, start with the base 900 model which is available on its own or as part of the A9000 pod and A9000R rack systems. They use proprietary flash drives and IBM is selling a bunch …

  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Back to the 90's

    > IBM provides an optional compression guarantee of 50 per cent capacity savings no matter the workload environment.

    I have memories of StorageTek disk arrays from 20+ years ago that used on the fly compression to treble the capacity of their spinning stuff.

    All very good, but it made no difference to encrypted data. And I suspect that for pre-compressed content like video, the raw and real capacity will still work out to be the same.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Back to the 90's

      Thanks for pointing out incompressible data cannot be compressed. People who don't know that shouldn't be allowed near a storage system (or be allowed to make a decision about which storage system to purchase).

      The point I'd make from your post is that RAW ≠ USABLE (or USEABLE depending on geo you're from).

      RAW is how much flash is actually in the box before over-provisioning / data protection, etc, etc. That's more than the USABLE (how much more normal correlates closely to how "enterprise" the box is).

      USABLE is what you will be able to store without any clever data reduction and EFFECTIVE is what you could get (depending on the data type and how "friendly" it is to data reduction).

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Back to the 90's @AC

        RAW minus USABLE equals UNUSED ..... A Common Right Royal RAW for Reinforcement of Enterprising Programs, both in house and for clients invested in the NEUKlearer Way of Doing the InterNetwork Thing.

        With Novel Knowledge which hasn't been tried before.

        If we imagine the human mind as a fabulous sponge, when gorged with all available imperfections, to wring it out of all debris will allow it to seek and capture more information and intelligence for the presentation of all that is revealed.

        Are IBM claiming responsible for the Meshing of such Gears? Is Anyone/Anything yet?

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          The Future as IS ...... For the Taking and Making and Remaking ..... Ad Infinitum

          Are IBM claiming responsible for the Meshing of such Gears? Is Anyone/Anything yet?

          And that question is also asked of MOD/GCHQ/NCSC and University AIReality Labs anywhere Actively Beta Penetrations Testing Programming Projects for Virtual Field Applications with Future Surreal Presentation into Advanced IntelAIgent Productions for Super Alienating Promotions.

          Any and all future silence on such things as can so easily radically and fundamentally change current matters to future opportunities with everything provided, is wondrously revealing of Trailing Wannabe Partners.

  2. mikeymac

    We run three Flash 900 systems at my firm. Very dependable and high-performing. My only gripe has been the high price. This new line is supposed to reduce the price per GB considerably. Time will tell!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Note to IBM

    The days of the All Flash hot-rods are over.

    This is a platform and its predecessor that are fast, but expensive, require forklift upgrades, and provide inflexible options (can't mix and match modules).

    Furthermore, how can an AFA in 2018 not offer deduplication?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Note to IBM

      I used to work at IBM, and am now at a competitor. The 900 is a good product as was the 820 before it (forgetting about the non-existent RAS for a moment). It's the nichest of niche, as all flash storage is (despite what they tell you, you're throwing money away if you're putting data on flash that doesn't need to be there). It was designed to be as low latency as is possible, and that meant a lack of features and a lack of configuration options.

      IBM bolted on XIV and SVC, as two attempts to provide these features. This does the job, but takes the 900 away from what it was intended for and into the realm of the competition, most of which does a better job.

      These changes are nothing exciting apart from the potential to reduce cost, although it'll still be expensive unless you absolutely need very low latency on all the data you're putting on it.

      As for dedup, and compression for that matter, these have one purpose, and one only: potentially reducing cost. They serve no other purpose. There are three properties of flash storage that are most important: latency, reliability and cost per TB. Certain use cases will require features such as replication, mirroring or snapshotting which are secondary but still essential in some environments.

      I couldn't give a shit if an array dedups or not. I care about what it costs per TB. If the one that doesn't do dedup is cheaper, is more reliable and the latency is lower, then I'll pick that one.

      I wouldn't choose an A or V 9000 unless I had to though. Like buying a 4K TV and using it with a VCR.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Note to IBM

        "As for dedup, and compression for that matter, these have one purpose, and one only: potentially reducing cost"

        and then

        "I couldn't give a shit if an array dedups or not. I care about what it costs per TB."

        But it doesn't dedupe and it's definitely not cheaper nor is it any more reliable than other reputable AFAs out there.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Note to IBM

          I was speaking hypothetically to point out how irrelevant dedup is. I agree these boxes are expensive.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One IBM hand encrypts, the other IBM hand (tries to) compress... #FAIL

    Wasn't the whole pitch of the new mainframe "Encrypt everything"?

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/07/17/ibm_latest_mainframe_z14/

    Once encrypted, IBM's storage won't be able to compress.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One IBM hand encrypts, the other IBM hand (tries to) compress... #FAIL

      But someone else's storage would compress encrypted data? No, so your point is?

      The stuff in this article can't attach to mainframe OS, so your point misses something fairly important there to. I can't attach it to my Sky box either (and it wouldn't compress my stored programmes even if it could attach). What a rubbish product?

      DS8888 family of products do attach to mainframe OS - and to your point, they don't do data reduction deliberately because mainframe can compress and encrypt before writing to the storage and I've heard people complain about that too.

      Haters gonna hate?

  5. WYSIWYG650

    looks like a big fat me too...

    interesting but nothing innovative. What protocols does it support? block only? what cloud capabilities does it have? Can you snap in and out of AWS, Azure, IBM? Does the storage OS have a white box version? Nobody will get fired for buying this Big Blue product but you certainly wont win any innovation awards either.

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