IBM has announced its new FlashSystem family following on from the acquisition of Texas Memory Systems (RAMSAN) late last year.
The first thing that interests me is where FlashSystem products are likely to play in 2013 and this graphic is intended to suggest some options. Over time the blue ‘candidate’ box is expected to stretch downwards.
For the full IBM FlashSystem family you can check out the product page at http://www.ibm.com/storage/flash
Probably the most popular product will be the FlashSystem 820, they key characteristics of which are as follows:
Usable capacity options with RAID5
- 10.3 TB per FlashSystem
- 20.6 TB per FlashSystem
- Up to 865 TB usable in a single 42u rack
- 110 usec read latency
- 25 usec write latency
- Up to 525,000 4KB random read
- Up to 430,000 4KB 70/30 read/write
- Up to 280,000 4KB random write
- up to 3.3 GB/sec FC
- up to 5 GB/sec IB
- 4 x 8 GB/sec FC ports
- or 4 x 40 Gbps QDR Infiniband ports
- 300 VA
- 1,024 BTU/hr
- 13.3 Kg
- 1 rack unit
High Availability including 2-Dimensional RAID
- Module level Variable Stripe RAID
- System level RAID5 across flash modules
- Hot swap modules
- eMLC (10 x the endurance of MLC)
For those who like to know how things plug together under the covers, the following three graphics take you through conceptual and physical layouts.
With IBM’s Variable Stripe RAID, if one die fails in a ten-chip stripe, only the failed die is bypassed, and then data is restriped across the remaining nine chips.
Integration with IBM SAN Volume Controller (and Storwize V7000)
The IBM System Storage Interoperation Center is showing these as supported with IBM POWER and IBM System X (Intel) servers, including VMware 5.1 support.
The IBM FlashSystem is all about being fast and resilient. The system is based on FPGA and hardware logic so as to minimize latency. For those customers who want advanced software features like volume replication, snapshots (ironically called FlashCopy), thin provisioning, broader host support etc, the best way to achieve all of that is by deploying FlashSystem 820 behind a SAN Volume Controller (or Storwize V7000). This can also be used in conjunction with Easy Tier, with the SVC/V7000 automatically promoting hot blocks to the FlashSystem.
I’ll leave you with this customer quote:
“With some of the other solutions we tested, we poked and pried at them for weeks to get the performance where the vendors claimed it should be. With the RAMSAN we literally just turned it on and that’s all the performance tuning we did. It just worked out of the box.”