W H I T E P A P E R E n t e r p r i s e S t o r a g e : E f f i c i e n t, V i r t u a l i z e d a n d F l a s h O p t i m i z e d

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E n t e r p r i s e S t o r a g e : E f f i c i e n t , V i r t u a l i z e d a n d F l a s h

O p t i m i z e d

Sponsored by: IBM Dan Iacono May 2013


IT organizations are constantly under pressure to either reduce costs for existing services or deliver new services while maintaining existing service levels and budgets. The insatiable need for storage capacity is putting tremendous pressure on IT environments. IDC forecasts that worldwide external storage capacity will grow at a 37.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2011 to 2016. Declining storage media prices have helped storage environments control costs, and IDC forecasts storage system $/GB declines will be in the range of 20–30% through 2016. Given these realities, how does an IT organization best accommodate the remaining 8–18% of storage growth after price declines while facing a relatively flat budget?

Curbing storage capacity cost is important; however, IT organizations also need to take into account both management and performance requirements. IDC recommends that IT organizations take a three-pronged approach to optimizing storage for performance, capacity, and operational efficiency:

 Flash forward beyond hard disk drives (HDDs). Traditional HDD performance has not improved since 2001; however, CPU performance has grown exponentially, creating a performance chasm between storage and compute. Flash media will close the performance chasm and allow organizations to process the volumes of data. To maximize investment, IT organizations should implement automated storage tiering to ensure that the most active data is on the expensive flash media.

 Optimized capacity. Releasing stranded storage and moving data to cost-effective tiers are good best practices, but in today's big data world, these traditional techniques will not suffice. Beyond storage tiering and thin provisioning, IT organizations will need to implement advanced data efficiency technologies such as compression and deduplication, which reduce the amount of actual bits stored within a storage environment.

 Efficient operations. Enterprise storage administrators may manage a few hundred terabytes, but cloud (and service provider) storage administrators manage multiple petabytes per person. Therefore, IT organizations will need to adopt software, hardware, and processes that will enable more automation and require fewer manual interactions so that storage administrators can keep pace with the cloud competition and curb operating costs.

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In this white paper we examine how IBM's Storwize family of storage offerings is changing the game by delivering a robust enterprise-grade virtualization platform that is efficient, cost effective, and optimized. A recent IBM study revealed that only one in five clients has a highly efficient infrastructure. The IBM Storwize family of solutions can help IT organizations be more efficient by doing more with fewer resources. IBM estimates that the Storwize solution can enable clients to store five times more data in the same space with Real-time Compression, while automated tiering offers three times as much performance with only 5% flash in the system, and virtualization reduces storage growth in the environment by 30%.

M a r k e t S i t u a t i o n

The information and communications technology (ICT) industry is in the midst of a shift to a new technology platform for growth and innovation. IDC calls this the 3rd platform, built on mobile devices and apps, cloud services, mobile broadband networks, big data/analytics, and social technologies. Billions of users are connected to each other through mobile broadband with access to millions of applications and cloud services, which is contributing to the exponential growth in data. IDC projects that the digital universe will reach 40ZB by 2020, which exceeds all previous forecasts. IDC believes that only 0.5% of the world's data is actually being analyzed, underscoring the importance of technology and talent to extract the hidden value from big data. IDC observed growth in the enterprise storage systems market from 7.3EB in 2009 to 20.5EB in 2012. Fueling the tremendous storage growth are the following macro-level drivers:

 Big data with real-time analytics. Information overload and the high cost of finding the right information are significant issues for many organizations. These two factors present an opportunity that can be addressed with big data technology that enables nearly continuous, real-time analysis of large data volumes and storage for wide varieties of customer, partner, and subscriber data. This nascent but significant opportunity will drive new partnerships and specialized solutions into the market.

 Cloud computing. This is a new paradigm that will shape IT spending over the next several decades — the logical evolution of what IDC has called "dynamic IT" over the years. It entails shared access to virtualized resources over the Internet. IDC estimates that cloud services spending will continue to grow at double-digit rates for the next few years, gradually accounting for a much larger portion of all IT spending.

 Mobile device proliferation. New approaches are enabling more efficient delivery of information and applications to mobile devices for corporate and personal customers. The BYOD phenomenon has been growing rapidly in the corporate sphere. Access to software functions "as a service" that were once available only through licensed software deployed in the datacenter will continue to fuel public cloud services and storage capacity.


 Machine-generated data. Human-generated data is parsed by machines (i.e., servers) to create usable information. The information output from machines is now aggregated by another level of machine to process an even higher level of information and analytics. The potential volume of information created and stored through machine-to-machine generation is exponential. IDC forecasts that machine-generated data will grow from 11% of the digital universe in 2005 to 40% in 2020.

 Social media. Proliferating services such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook can easily connect people and create new content that can be shared within a defined group or with the world. The volume of data being created by social media is tremendous and, combined with the velocity of creation, will challenge IT systems trying to unlock additional value.

Why Storage Environments Have to Do More with Less

While the amount of data to be stored continues to grow, IT organizations' storage budgets do not increase proportionally with the growing needs for storage space. Limited datacenter space and power, growing operational costs, and data management complexity create additional pressure for providers to look for more efficient ways of using their existing storage assets. A recent study conducted by IBM1 discovered that more IT organizations are spending money on keeping the lights on and doors open rather than on new initiatives to grow their business. The study noted that:

Only one in five clients has achieved a highly efficient IT infrastructure by allocating 50% or more if its IT budget to new projects.

As a result, data and storage infrastructure optimization technologies such as data deduplication, data compression, and thin provisioning will become increasingly important and more broadly adopted.


A c t i v e D a t a a t t h e R i g h t P l a c e a n d a t t h e R i g h t T i m e

Automated storage tiering with IBM Easy Tier moves data transparently between storage tiers without active interaction from the storage consumer or administrator. Once an administrator enables Easy Tier for a volume, data movement between tiers occurs automatically based on changes in workload.



E a s y T i e r U t i l i z a t i o n o f F l a s h

Flash storage provides high performance at a comparatively high cost per gigabyte. Therefore, it is essential that flash storage be utilized to receive maximum benefit. With IBM Easy Tier, a little bit of flash goes a long way in a Storwize system to boost performance. Using dynamic placement of data, IBM Easy Tier can put only the "hot data" on flash and the rest of the data on traditional HDD. IBM laboratory results revealed a 3x performance improvement with 5% of the system containing flash compared with only traditional HDD.

V i r t u a l i z e d

Virtualization in the context of storage is the ability to separate the way storage is presented to servers from the way storage is physically managed. This separation enables pooling of storage resources for greater efficiency, flexibility, and transparent movement of data. Virtualization is a foundation technology that is built into each product in the Storwize family. Internal storage is virtualized, and the systems can also virtualize external storage systems to pool together disparate and often multivendor storage resources under a common management and a presentation layer.2 Managing disparate storage arrays and vendor-specific products can be time consuming and create inefficiency in IT operations. Having a consistent set of storage services and a presentation layer powered by the IBM Storwize family storage hypervisor will reduce administrative complexities and provide common capability among storage vendors and arrays.

External Storage Virtualization

The power of the Storwize family storage hypervisor is the ability to connect external storage arrays (from many vendors, including non-IBM suppliers) and virtualize the external storage so that all the features and common management are optimized. Not all storage arrays have every feature required, such as real-time compression, thin provisioning, or storage tiering. With the Storwize family, storage users can deliver these important and efficient features to any external storage virtualized by a Storwize system. For example, a storage system that is three years old may not have thin provisioning or storage tiering. Through the use of storage virtualization in the Storwize family, storage users can breathe new life into that three-year-old storage array by providing those essential features. Now, storage users can enhance their existing storage investments and can truly do more with less investment.

Trans pare nt D ata M i grat ion s

Traditional methods of data migration are painful because they are time consuming, usually require downtime, and are costly. The storage administrator's pain point for data migrations is scheduling downtime with application teams. As more and more applications are consolidated onto bigger and denser storage arrays, the problem of scheduling downtime and decommissioning storage arrays is further amplified. One of many benefits of storage virtualization is the ability to seamlessly move data transparently between storage arrays without the negative attributes of



traditional methods. Once storage arrays are managed by the Storwize storage virtualization engine, migration simply requires a few easy clicks (or scripts) to replicate the data to the new storage array. The Storwize storage virtualization engine orchestrates the data movement behind the scenes while providing a consistent (and unchanged) view to the associated application.

C ommitme nt to a He te r o ge ne ous Stor age Su ppo r t M atrix

SAN Volume Controller (SVC), now a member of the Storwize family, has been available for over 10 years and supports heterogeneous multivendor production environments. The list of supported hosts and storage devices is expansive and offers great depth, including legacy storage arrays. For example, as IDC reviewed the support matrix, we found that IBM supports connectivity to external storage arrays that even their manufacturers no longer support. This shows IBM's commitment to heterogeneous storage support and letting the end user choose how long to use a storage array. It is another example of how the IBM Storwize family is enabling the user to do more with less by extending the useful life of legacy equipment.

Integration of Flash Storage

The Storwize family addresses the difficulty and complexity of integrating new storage technologies into an existing storage environment. For example, IBM FlashSystem components or solid state drives (SSDs) can be easily connected to Storwize family systems where data can be seamlessly migrated to flash or the flash storage may be deployed as part of Easy Tier to improve overall system performance. Both methods can reinvigorate applications with the substantial performance gain of flash while being nondisruptive.

E f f i c i e n t

Store More Data in the Same Amount of Space with Real-time Compression

Unlike traditional compression technologies that compress data as a post-process operation, IBM's Real-time Compression operates on active primary data as it is being accessed. This expands the realm of compression to a much wider set of workloads with predictable and measurable results. Moreover, this compression is "always on," meaning it can be enabled on active workloads and does not require periods for post-processing, which is difficult to schedule due to high utilization of resources. Post-processing methods require capacity for uncompressed data (landing area) and the resulting compression. The combination of uncompressed and compressed data requires more capacity and contradicts the purpose of data efficiency.


R e al- t ime C ompre s si on f or Prim ary St orage Wo r klo ad s

Distinct from other solutions, Real-time Compression is not reserved just for unstructured low-performance workloads. IBM's innovative, patented Real-time Compression can provide benefits to active primary storage workloads — such as databases — that require high performance. An IBM benchmark revealed that with Real-time Compression enabled, database performance was maintained or improved while using 50% less disk (see Figure 1). Further testing with Real-time Compression and flash drives resulted in even better performance compared with traditional disk.

F I G U R E 1

I B M S t o r w i z e B e n c h m a r k

Source: IBM, 2013

The benchmark was performed using a Storwize V7000 system with 48 x 300GB SAS disks. 1.2TB database with 700 concurrent clients were used in the benchmark. The same test was performed with compressed volumes and non-compressed volumes.

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Order Status

No Compression - 96 disks

1.144 .857 .468





Compressed – 48 disks

.701 .665 .385 .46 .20 .501


Provision When You Need to Without Sacrificing Performance

IT organizations should not have to make a decision between performance and enabling data efficiency technologies. Thin provisioning is an efficiency technology that allocates storage capacity only for actual data written, which greatly improves capacity utilization. With the Storwize family, thin provisioning does not degrade performance initially or at scale. The key differentiator of the Storwize family's thin provisioning technology is that the provisioning is done at the block level instead of on an overlay file system. Block-level implementations of thin provisioning have several benefits, such as more efficient data allocation (finer granularity as small as 64KB) and increased utilization of capacity (no need for file system overhead).

E n t e r p r i s e G r a d e

Enterprise grade can have different meaning depending on what's important to the end user. In general, end users evaluate enterprise-grade products by cost, service, and risk. Cost and service are important to IT organizations. However, managing risk is growing in importance among companies as they begin to push the technology envelope or begin their journey to the cloud.

Greater than Five-Nines Availability

The first step in mitigating risk is to understand the aggregate availability of the hardware and software together. Enterprise end users will require a level of availability at 99.999% (known as "five nines"), which translates into less than five minutes of unplanned downtime per year. According to IBM, the Storwize family is delivering this level of availability today.

Decades of Enterprise Experience

Once end users understand the solution's availability, they should explore the foundation and basis for those claims. Many companies claim to have enterprise experience, levels of availability, and multiyear warranty, but companies such as IBM have the quantitative numbers and history to substantiate the claim. The heart of the Storwize family is the SAN Volume Controller system, which has been deployed, tested, and hardened in production environments with over 10,000 systems deployed worldwide.

The recently acquired IBM FlashSystem portfolio has a similar long enterprise heritage, with over 20 years of production solid state storage deployments. Together, IBM Storwize and FlashSystem have been storing and protecting mission-critical data in enterprise deployments for more than 30 years.


Published Industry-Standard Benchmarks

Standards organizations such as the Storage Performance Council (SPC) have developed standardized testing methodologies to help users compare different storage systems. Having a uniform way to test storage arrays provides:

 A baseline to compare data between different storage arrays  Reliable and repeatable results

 The ability to minimize variables that can influence and skew data

IBM has tested the Storwize V7000 with both the SPC-1 and the SPC-2 industry benchmarks and has published the results, which were audited by an independent third party and are publicly available at www.storageperformance.org/results. When organizations are making a purchasing decision, it's important that they have industry-accepted standards and results so that they can understand how the Storwize family can benefit their environment. Without published industry-standard results, the burden of testing storage and deciphering results is transferred to the end user.


E n a b l i n g C l i e n t s t o D o M o r e W i t h L e s s

In these uncertain economic times, given the tremendous budgetary pressures to keep the lights on and still implement new projects, IT organizations must find a way to do more with less.

The IBM Storwize family is well positioned in the market to help users achieve their business and storage goals through the company's innovative and patented technology. According to IBM internal research, the Storwize family can help companies achieve the following outcomes:

 5x more data in the same space. Real-time Compression is a unique technology with over 35 patents that allows users to store more data in the same amount of space.

 3x more performance with only 5% flash. IBM's Easy Tier automated storage tiering software ensures that hot data is on the right tier to maximize flash investments.

 47% less management effort. The innovative GUI reduces the complexity of operational tasks and streamlines the storage administrator's tasks.

 30% lower storage growth. Combining the Storwize family's data efficiency technologies, such as virtualization and thin provisioning, will have a substantial impact on the IT environment's growth curve.


P o r t f o l i o o f P r o d u c t s t o M e e t D i v e r s e C l i e n t R e q u i r e m e n t s

One product can't meet all use case and budgetary requirements. Storwize is a family of products that can be tailored to meet business and technical needs. The portfolio includes the following:

 Storage virtualization system. The heart of the Storwize family is the SAN Volume Controller, which provides a consistent set of storage services and a common presentation layer across a diverse set of storage devices.

 Integration with PureSystems. In these converged systems, the compute, network, and storage resources are engineered and tested together with an orchestration layer to manage the components as a cohesive single unit.  IBM Flex System V7000 Storage Node

 Midrange block and unified systems. Block-only and consolidated storage systems promote efficiency and can provide block and file (NAS) services within the same unit.

 Storwize V7000  Storwize V7000 Unified

 Entry storage systems. Enterprise storage feature sets and reliability can be tailored to meet almost every budget.

 Storwize V3700

 Storwize V3500 (available in China only)

C h a l l e n g e s a n d O p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r t h e S t o r w i z e F a m i l y

IT organizations are facing economic and technology-related constraints and are searching for solutions to help them operate within these constraints while maintaining fiscal responsibility.

One of the principal challenges that organizations face when investigating a virtualization solution is understanding necessary trade-offs. The market perception is that inline storage virtualization engines such as SVC increase latency and are another failure point in the data path. Having access to industry-standard performance benchmarks and customer references will help IT organizations understand that inline storage virtualization engines can perform just as well as or even better than their standalone storage array counterparts.

For most enterprises, compression and deduplication have been relegated to backup and archive applications only. However, that mindset is beginning to change with regard to primary storage and data efficiency due to the recent influx of all-flash storage arrays. IBM has an opportunity to further demonstrate storage thought leadership with Real-time Compression by educating customers and prospects about the benefits and how it was the first supplier to bring compression to primary storage.


The FlashSystem family has been a part of the IBM product portfolio for less than a year through the acquisition of Texas Memory Systems (TMS). The challenge for IBM (and any company that makes acquisitions) is to integrate the acquired technology throughout the portfolio quickly. IBM recently announced that it is investing $1 billion in flash development, which shows a serious effort to make the integration move as quickly as possible.


Relatively flat or decreasing IT budgets are projected for the foreseeable future, and the deluge of data continues. As a result, IT organizations will be seeking solutions that will allow them to do more with less. Earlier in this document, IDC outlined a three-point plan for IT organizations to achieve higher performance, optimized capacity, and efficient operations. Many vendors can assist with some of the points outlined, but few vendors provide a solution in one product family that addresses all three points. When evaluating a storage solution, IT organizations should ask the following questions:

 How will flash be integrated to increase performance in my new and existing storage systems?

 How will data efficiency technologies be used to store fewer physical bits?  How will my operational costs be reduced?

The IBM Storwize family of solutions can help IT organizations address all of those points by offering the following:

 Performance improvement with FlashSystem. Using Storwize's virtualization engine and Easy Tier technology, IT organizations can seamlessly integrate the FlashSystem family into existing environments to provide a significant performance increase with as little as 5% flash.

 Capacity optimization with Real-time Compression. The always-on compression for primary active workloads allows IT organizations to store up to 5x more data in the same amount of space.

 Streamlined operations. The Storwize GUI greatly reduces the complexity of operational tasks, allowing storage administrators to manage more capacity.

C o p y r i g h t N o t i c e

External Publication of IDC Information and Data — Any IDC information that is to be used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior written approval from the appropriate IDC Vice President or Country Manager. A draft of the proposed document should accompany any such request. IDC reserves the right to deny approval of external usage for any reason.




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