back to article Big Blue plumps up storage line with filer and fabrics

IBM is adding filer software to its storage offerings, NVMe fabric access to its base all-flash array, and other features across its storage portfolio in a bumper Big Blue storage news day. There are three aspects to the bundle of news: software-defined storage; data protection and storage hardware; and the FlashSystem 900 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The SVC announcement is an odd one. They seem to be saying that the old compression function wasn't any good and they've rewritten it.

    Anyone from IBM care to put me right? The linked article doesn't seem to say any different.

    As for NAS, what happened to V7000 Unified?

    1. StorageInsider

      Isn't improving on something usually viewed as a positive?

      IBM's Realtime Compression has been heralded as among the better implementations for a very long time, considering that other vendors often do compression as a background task requiring more reads and writes. The new implementation improves on this even more by:

      - returning the space back to the system,

      - adding inter-system compressed data movement (don't have to rehydrate when moving data, and then recompress) improving performance of that data movement

      - returning the dedicated compression CPU and memory back to main SVC code AND

      - eliminating licensing charges for the legacy compression.

      So, uhmm...Bigger, Faster, Cheaper

      ...dropping the mic!

      ( I am an IBM'er)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SVC =

    Towing a Dragster with a 20 year old Donkey

    I stopped reading at Compuverde

  3. Alex McDonald (NetApp)


    We think IBM is the second mainstream storage supplier to do this, and the only active one. Dell EMC did get there first with DSSD but killed the product - it was proprietary tech and customers wanted commodity NVMe technology

    Well, IBM joins NetApp doing NVMe over Fabric; we've been doing it with the EF570 and E5700 since November 2017.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NVMeoF

      Yes, indeed. It's a rather pointless at the moment exercise since the back-end is SAS.

      1. Alex McDonald (NetApp)

        Re: NVMeoF

        I disagree. The NetApp E570 has 100µs latency; that's significantly lower than a non-NMVe front end. I can't link in a prior reply to this from John Martin of NetApp, so here's a cut & paste. Long, but a good read.


        The importance of end to end NVMe to media is a tad overinflated with NAND

        The difference between NVMe and SAS protocols is about 20µs, and media access on flash drives using NVMe interfaces are still about 80µs on both NVMe attached and SAS attached drives. Hence adding NVMe attached NAND media might give you about 20µs of better latency which is good, but not really worth the hype that seems to be poured all over the NVMe discussion.

        With NAND, anything offering lower latency level lower than 100µs going to be accessing the majority of its data from DRAM or NVDIMM or something else which isn't NAND Flash .. e.g. 30µs - 50µs for a write is going to NVRAM .. I don't have the numbers for an EF write, but I'm pretty sure its in the same ballpark [it's 100µs as I said above].

        The other advantages NVMe has is more PCI lanes per drive (typically 4 vs 2 for one enterprise SAS drive) and better queue depths which don't get used in practice and don't seem to make a difference in the vast majority of workloads. I blogged about this here and here

        The big benefit of NVMe from the client to the host is that it requires way less CPU to process I/O, so for environments like HPC where you are running the CPU's really hot, giving back a bunch of CPU cores to process 1,000,000's of IOPS is a worthwhile thing. It also helps on the storage array as well because processing NVMe on the target also requires less CPU which is often the gating factor for performance on the controller, but that CPU impact of doing SCSI I/O is a relatively small portion of the overall CPU budget on an array (vs Erasure coding, replication, snapshots, read-ahead algorithms and T10 checksums etc), so reducing the I/O CPU budget is going to have a useful, but hardly revolutionary improvement in controller utilisation, and having scale-out architectures are a better long term way of addressing the CPU vs performance issue for storage controllers.

        As far as the apparent fixation on needing NVMe media to get the best out of flash, even ONTAP including inline compression and deduce with FCP at the front and SAS at the back end is able to achieve significantly better latency than a certain high profile all flash array that purely uses NVMe media. Getting significant performance improvements will be more about software stacks and media types than whether you can save 20 microseconds by moving from SAS to NVMe.

        So, can things go faster by using NVMe end to end .. yes, will it be a revolutionary jump, no, unless you're using something way faster than typical NAND, but if you're going to do that, you're going to want to optimise the entire I/O stack, including the drivers, volume and filesystem layers which is where something like PlexiStor comes in.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: NVMeoF

          latency difference may be a 20usecs less but NVMe tput is significantly higher than SAS/SATA.

          Even if we were to assume the argument you are making is sound in order to justify the EF570 back-end remaining SAS why change the front-end to begin with if the benefit is just 20usecs? Changing the front end for a 20usecs improvement makes zero sense!

          PS. EF570 does not have 100usecs latency. Maybe internal but certainly not external and not based on any SPC1 workload published.

  4. chrismevans


    So this announcement seems more like a non-announcement. NVMeoF or rather NVMe "ready" whatever that means. Is there a product I can buy today? Yes or no. If no, then you are not first, or second, you are nowhere.

    1. returnofthemus

      Is there a product I can buy today?


      Exactly how many are you looking for and what's the rush ;-)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Big Blue plumps up storage line with filer and fabrics

    I misread that as FILLER. Would have been more appropriate.

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