IBM FlashSystem A9000: “New-er” All-Flash Solution: Next Gen XIV

October 11th, 2016
Bryan Samson
North American Flash Sales Executive

When thinking of modern storage, people think of purpose built all-flash arrays. After all, vendors, analysts and customers agree, beyond the performance boosts, and through the efficiency benefits, there is no reason all workloads shouldn’t be on flash. However, not all flash options are created equal. And if it’s enterprise class, it’s data efficiencies include data deduplication services. IBM may have fallen a little short in the past couple of years in this regard, with compression-only solutions, but they made up for it, in a big way, with their newest FlashSystem, albeit not that “new.”

IBM released the FlashSystem A9000 and A9000-R in April this year. Not only did it meet all the usual requirements for an all-flash array, but they coupled it with both the low latency FlashSystem and the legendary reliable grid architecture of the IBM XIV Storage subsystem (now, Spectrum Accelerate). This means that this is not a completely new ground-up design, but rather a large portion of the Spectrum Accelerate code base that is enhanced for FlashCore, along with an improved GUI. This new GUI will be the new go-to platform for Spectrum Accelerate and Spectrum Virtualize (previously, San Volume Controller).

IBM offers three ways to guarantee the data reduction capabilities. One, if the Data Reduction Estimation Tool is run in an environment, it will provide an exact data efficiency rating (3:1-20:1), and IBM will guarantee that rate. This is best for all parties, as it is the most accurate. Two, the EZ Data Reduction Calculator, with the help of an IBM SE, can offer a “best guess” estimation (3:1-5:1) based on known data types. Third, the Demonstrated Competitor Guarantee can be used to match any competitive guarantee. The last one is especially important since that means IBM will perform as good or better in data efficiency, and they will back it. This sounds a lot less risky than most other vendors.

Since it’s code is based on Spectrum Accelerate, later this year, IBM will support replication between the A9000/R and Spectrum Accelerate and/or legacy XIV systems. This is a key development in all-flash arrays, as all other major vendors have produced disparate systems that are not connected to a subsystem family. The result for IBM, no loss to investments for existing Accelerate-based customers. An A9000 can be introduced into the environment, and workloads can move between existing Accelerate-based footprints and the A9000 for either migrations, high-availability and disaster recovery.

Spend time weighing the options with Mainline Flash Storage experts. Call your Account Executive today to set up your free consultation with our storage consultants to help narrow your storage choices. Don’t be dazzled by “hot off the compiler” solutions choose “newer” solutions, based on a solid established code base.

Please contact your Mainline Account Executive directly, or click here to contact us with any questions.

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