Edge 2012 Delivers Real-time Compression and SSD

IBM did not announce a block buster new storage product, no next generation DS8000. But the 2000 people who packed the IBM Edge conference found enough announcements of product enhancements that they didn’t leave disappointed. And the Monday night concert by rocker Grace Potter along with an open bar should have knocked their socks off regardless.

Kicking off Edge 2012 was Rod Adkins senior vice president of IBM Systems & Technology Group, with a recap of IBM’s Smarter Computing mantra. “Enterprises are dealing with data that is increasing exponentially in both size and complexity,” he noted. The world creates 2.5 exabytes of data daily, but the challenge is not just the volume but the speed it arrives. The world will see 450 billion transactions daily by 2020.

In one way or another, all the announcements at Edge 2012 tied back to the need to rein in this explosive growth in data or use the data to gain valuable insights into the business. Among the biggest announcements were the expansion of real-time compression (RTC) across more of the IBM storage lineup. This included the increase in system capacity up to 5x with RTC for SAN Volume Controller V6.4. Similarly, it extended RTC to IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center v5.1. RTC will be a powerful tool for helping organizations accommodate increasing amounts of storage without having to continuously buy more storage.

Other announcements addressed new enhancements to the Tivoli Productivity Center. Enhancements also were targeted to IBM System Storage TS76xx ProtecTIER (includes 7620, 7650 & 7650G). This included improved FSI-CIFS support for broader connectivity in NAS environments, up to 25% increased performance for the IBM deduplication gateway, and double the capacity for the SMB appliance.

Real-time Compression v3.9, itself, increases usable primary storage capacity with no performance degradation and now includes a new capacity planning tool. When applied to tape storage RTC enables storage lifecycle management of multimedia files using IBM’s Linear Tape File System, which can reduce video archive software licensing costs while slashing video tape cartridge costs up to 98%.

To drive this initiative further, IBM also extended RTC to its Storwize V7000, as well as to the IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC). As IBM explains it, unlike traditional storage systems that compress only low activity data or data not frequently accessed, RTC compresses active data by as much as 80%, increasing total effective storage capacity.

Rick Haverty, director of the information systems division at the University of Rochester Medical Center, described the center’s transition to electronic records and the ballooning sizes of medical images, an onslaught of data that was “rapidly becoming ground zero for Big Data.” The solution turned out to be a combination of IBM storage tools that leveraged built-in storage intelligence, automation, and the cloud.

IBM also is enhancing EasyTier, its automated storage tiering, by extending its capabilities to direct-attached, server-based SSDs to help customers coordinate data migration between their disk systems and servers. Easy Tier automatically moves data to the most appropriate storage, including multiple tiers of disk and SSD, based on policy and activity. In fact, expect all IBM storage products to support SSD in one form or another going forward.

This will be my final report on Edge 2012. Hope to be back next year. In the meantime, here is the legal stuff:  this post is sponsored, meaning I am being compensated, by the Storage Community for covering IBM’s Edge Conference.  However, the opinions and writing here are my own.


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