IBM brings 3D stacking to FlashSystem

IBM has announced a range of enhancements to its all-flash storage hardware and software that promises increased storage density and reduced data capacity costs.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

IBM has announced numerous advancements to its all-flash storage solutions, with the company's latest 3D three-level cell (TLC) FlashStorage technology promising increased storage density of previous generations, higher performance and flash endurance, and up to 60 percent reduction in data capacity costs.

By increasing the size of individual flash memory cells to three bits per cell and stacking the cells in three dimensions, IBM promises three times the flash storage density of previous generations.

Its new 3D TLC FlashCore technology will underpin arrays including A9000, which is targeted at cloud service providers and data-intensive organisations, as well as A9000R and V9000, aimed at enterprises.

The A9000 and A9000R storage systems use the company's Spectrum Accelerate codebase combined with FlashSystem 900 -- which now has a new interface that consolidates activity and performance information in a single dashboard -- while V9000 uses the Spectrum Virtualize combined with FlashSystem 900.

IBM believes this advancement will allow organisations to reduce capex and opex costs as they will be able to store more in fewer systems.

The upgraded all-flash storage arrays, which are now NVMe-ready, will also feature in-line compression and encryption technologies that promise reduced latency for compressible data and improved security, IBM said in its announcement.

Most of IBM's FlashSystem arrays, as well as the VersaStack converged infrastructure offering, will be available with a consumption-based buying model.

The company also announced adding Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud to its storage software portfolio, which allows automated migration of data between on-premises and IBM Cloud resources, as well as "near to real-time" disaster recovery of data. The software works with more than 400 arrays from multiple storage vendors.

For companies in highly-regulated industries such as finance and healthcare that cannot use public or hybrid clouds, IBM has introduced Spectrum Access for IBM Cloud Private. This allows companies to move data between on-premises storage and private cloud.

IBM has also introduced persistent storage support for Docker and Kubernetes container environments.

In addition, the company has launched the beta version of a new storage management software offering, called Storage Insights Foundation, which extends the cognitive capabilities and artificial intelligence that IBM uses in other business areas to storage.

The software collects inventory and diagnostic information in order to help optimise the performance, capacity, and health of IBM customers' storage infrastructure, the company said.

In August, IBM Research announced the setting of a new record of 201 gigabits per square inch of data stored on a Sony prototype of "sputtered magnetic tape".

The tape is enhanced by painting on several thin layers of barium ferrite liquid metal using a process similar to one used in the production of integrated circuits. IBM said the method allows it to record up to 330TB of uncompressed data on a standard palm-sized tape cartridge.

The new record volume is equivalent to about 330 million books and sets the path for IBM and other magnetic-tape vendors to continue doubling tape capacity about every two years.

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