Unify Your Storage Strategy With IBM FlashSystem

With organizations requiring significantly more data to provide the level of personalization and digital transformation needed in today’s business landscape, data storage decisions significantly impact a company’s success. Organizations not utilizing a storage solution aligned with their overall business goals find themselves continually purchasing new solutions as their needs change—or allowing a lack of capabilities to drive their business decisions.

Joel Conaway, product specialist at Evolving Solutions, says IBM’s FlashSystem storage portfolio combines the most innovative features from three core product lines into a unified platform for open-systems fiber-channel attached storage.

“Everything was brought together under this brand, and this simplifies the choices for clients; it simplifies the ecosystem,” says Conaway. “The new family of products helps IBM streamline their development.”

IBM combined and enhanced features and functionality from three of its storage products to build IBM FlashSystem:

  • Spectrum Virtualize: Because this product was the only one of the three products offering cloud support, IBM used Spectrum Virtualize’s code base to build IBM FlashSystem. The software-only version of this product evolved from the Storwize line, which has a loyal client base.
  • A9000 and XIV: Using the management interface of IBM A9000 and XIV, FlashSystem builds on the 3-site, 4-site and advanced hyperswap technology of these solutions. A9000 and XIV revolutionized storage with its disk based grid and a revolutionary interface.
  • Texas Memory Systems: The custom flash technology from this product line creates the IBM FlashCore module. This is 100% hardware compressed, custom-built and central to the IBM FlashSystem products.

Benefits of Flash Without Performance Impact or Administration

Because compression requires system resources, which increases costs, companies are increasingly turning to flash technology. The FlashCore technology in the FlashSystem products compresses 100% of the capacity with no administration or impact on performance. Conaway says the FlashCore module is a game changer for IBM in terms of offerings in unique packaging.

The FlashSystem 9200, the top of the new product line, requires only a small footprint while providing 24 FlashCore modules, enabling massive amounts of storage. Infrastructure that previously required buildings to store now provides 6 petabytes of storage in a fraction of a single rack.

Managing Capacity and Support

Instead of purchasing separate products, clients can use the cloud-based Storage Insights product to manage capacity, performance and service. The product also manages all engagement with IBM, such as tickets, open issues and altering proactive notifications. Clients can access everything they need from a single point of access instead of using multiple tools.

“The IBM Storage Insights management platform allowed us to provide a level of support simply not possible previously, especially with everyone working from home,” says Conaway. “Because our team has access, we can log in and feel like we are sitting side by side with the client, documenting everything going into the environment, helping them understand performance, just like if we were next to them in the data center.”

Decreasing Storage Costs Through Consumption-Based Pricing

Traditionally, clients purchased capacity upfront, creating a large expense that couldn’t always be recouped. Because data growth happens over time and often fluctuates, IBM offers on-premise cloud offerings, which allows clients to pay a certain base charge for a portion of the installed capacity and then purchase additional storage above that line based on average monthly use. Conaway says the program is a true utility program instead of a lease, which makes growing into capacity simpler—without a large upfront capital investment.

“The infrastructure, FlashCore modules, Tier-1 performance, software, support and automation adds up to a price not seen before for the Tier-1 fiber-channel attached support marketplace,” says Conaway. “With everything built into the FlashCore module, the architecture, design and simplified family line-up at this point. The FlashSystem family puts IBM in a unique position, which is why the Evolving Solutions team is excited about what IBM has done with the FlashSystem and FlashCore offerings.”

Bo Gebbie


Bo Gebbie is President of Evolving Solutions and joined the company in 2017. Connect with Bo on LinkedIn.

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