IBM to invest $1 billion in software defined storage chase

Big Blue plans to launch a series of applications designed to take advantage of the building software defined storage movement.

IBM on Tuesday said it will invest $1 billion in its storage software portfolio over the next five years. The company launched Spectrum Storage, a set of applications designed to manage storage and make an enterprise's data assets more efficient.

The move highlights a reality for traditional enterprise storage giants---data centers are becoming software defined. That move to software defined storage, which trails servers and networking, is going to mean more licenses and less hardware sold. In a big data era, storage is becoming a huge line item and companies need to squeeze efficiencies out of how they manage information.

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Other storage players such as EMC, NetApp and Hitachi to name a few are evolving and in some cases decoupling software products from hardware. Players such as Cisco and VMware will also be software defined storage possibilities.

IBM said Spectrum Storage will make use of more than 700 patents and revolves around a hybrid cloud approach. IBM aims to allow customers to manage data from one dashboard.

According to Big Blue, the plan is to use its applications to take intelligence from its storage hardware and allow it to be used as a service, appliance or software. IBM Spectrum Accelerate is a software product that is based on its XIV storage appliance. Spectrum Accelerate and features such as automation, capacity management and tuning can be used without hardware. The software can also run on commodity hardware.

IBM also outlined a few other moving parts:

  • The company will add multi-cloud connectors to its Spectrum Storage software so hybrid data centers can use multiple services.
  • Spectrum Storage software will have a revamped interface called Hyper-Scale Manager via IBM's design labs. The interface can run on browsers, desktops, iOS and Android.
  • Spectrum Accelerate will integrate with OpenStack and VMware vCloud.
  • The storage portfolio will include applications for virtualization, scaling, control, security and archiving.