IBM Edge – Storage Evolution

So everything is all Flash and Software defined, so what now ??

I had the pleasure of attending the IBM Edge event that mirrors the Las Vegas event but is held in London and was very interesting to say the least.The day kicked off with a very good presentation by Ambuj Ghoyal who heads up the Storage & Networking Business Group for IBM. Great speaker and very easy to understand philosophy that resonated with most customers and business partners.

The real focus for the day was the focus on Big Data & how Flash is changing the industry. It was useful to see how the acquisiton of TMS has led to a rapid growth in the investment of Flash resulting in 12 competency centers around the globe focused on Flash. IBM now produce an all flash array in a 2U form factor but the Storwize family, especially the V700, and the XIV grid can benefit from flash based storage. Its not all about performance as the key speakers focused on but its also about reducing latency allowing host CPU’s to devote time to other areas of the datacenter and not waiting for the storage which has always been a bottleneck until now.

It was great to see how products like SVC are helping businesses to easy tier storage and also migrate workloads and compress them resulting in some real world benefits that were seen by existing customers and demonstrated on the various slide decks.

My real key takeway from the event was the IBM Research Division. This phenomenal business unit boasts too many PHD’s to count and also produces the most patents year on year compared to all other IT companies. IBM invests a lot of money in this key area where scientists are challenging themselves to break down traditional models of memory and storage to produce new technology. Just seeing how 12 atoms could sit into a small space was amazing enough. When talking about projects such as mapping the universe resulting in an exabyte of data per day, it is clear to see why IBM scientists are devoting a lot of time to overcoming the barriers of current storage innovations.

Flash is here to stay and I think most companies will find a use case in one form or another. Read cache can initially be a use case but its becoming clear that Big data workloads, OLTP and data warehousing can all benefit from Flash. It will be interesting to see how customers using Flash grow over the coming few months whether they are IBM or non-IBM products. I’m sure the IDC stats next year will look very different to this years traditional approach.

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