This article is part of our Essential Guide: Backup deduplication: A complete guide

IBM adds deduplication to Spectrum Virtualize, and Storwize arrays

IBM has added data deduplication to Spectrum Virtualize and array products that run it. It has also upgraded array analytics and the cloud version of Spectrum Virtualize

After long professing the uselessness of data deduplication, IBM has announced that it will integrate the technology into its software-defined Spectrum Virtualize and StorWize storage arrays. This mirrors a move by Dell EMC, which recently did the same for its Unity and VMax arrays.

After stating for some months that data deduplication had little use and that only compression was needed in its storage arrays, IBM has announced that inline deduplication will arrive in Spectrum Virtualize v8.1.3 and in most of its systems powered by that software (formerly SAN Volume Controller) at the beginning of June.

Until now, the only IBM storage system to incorporate deduplication in the IBM portfolio has been the FlashSystem A9000, which runs software based on IBM’s XIV technology.

The list of IBM storage arrays supported includes FlashSystem V840 and V9000, part of the StorWize range – the V50x0 and recent v7000 models and their all-flash versions, in which controllers have the performance to support the technology – as well as the VersaStack converged platforms.

With data deduplication technology integrated with Spectrum Virtualize’s code, the 440 systems that the storage virtualisation platform can support will now benefit indirectly.

Spectrum Virtualize needs a minimum of two controllers, with a choice of servers that includes Lenovo x3650 M5 or nodes from SuperMicro SYS-2028U-TRTP+ and with Xeon E5 v3 or v4.

IBM says no additional software licensing is required to deploy data deduplication.

Speaking to a colleague from, IBM storage marketing director Eric Herzog said the launch of data deduplication in Spectrum Virtualize and other IBM storage products came with a guarantee of data reduction rates of 5:1.

The caveat to that guarantee is that to benefit, the client must allow IBM to carry out an analysis on its existing datasets. At a minimum, IBM guarantees an “express” reduction rate of 2:1 without prior analysis.

Reinforcing cloud analytics tools

Catching up with the competition, Big Blue has also unveiled an improved version of Spectrum Control Storage Insights.

Cloud Storage Insights is aimed at providing information for telemetry, , monitoring and system health analysis via a single console.

The tool is intended to help customers evaluate their needs in terms of capacity, to control their storage budget and simplify systems.

All the array makers have collected data from installed systems for some years, but it was Nimble, with infoSight, that pioneered the idea of using data collected to improve customer support and deliver advanced analytics on system usage.

Since then, HPE has InfoSight to its 3Par arrays, while Dell EMC (Cloud IQ), Pure Storage (Pure1) and NetApp (Active IQ) have launched similar functionality.

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Cloud Storage Insights supports a number of IBM storage systems, including the DS8000, Storwize V5000, V5030F, V7000 and V7000F, FlashSystem 840, 900, V840, V9000, A9000, A9000 and A9000R, Spectrum Virtualize, XIV Gen 3 and VersaStack.

The free version of the service supports storage system monitoring of IBM block storage, with “call-home” events, four measures of capacity, three measures of performance, 24-hour data history, event filtering, event history and ticket history.

The Pro version costs $257 a month per 50TB and adds functionality such as monitoring non-IBM storage, as well as file and object storage.

The Pro service also offers more than 35 measures of capacity, more than 100 measures of performance, two years of data history, alerts when best practice is violated, customisable alerts, cost analysis, tiering optimisation and capacity optimisation.

Improved Spectrum Virtualize for the cloud

Besides support for data deduplication, IBM has also improved Spectrum Virtualize on the public cloud.

The software made its debut in the cloud in autumn 2017. Its latest version supports deployments up to four virtual pairs and installation is simplified. Bandwidth has improved by nearly 20%.

With these improvements, IBM wants to enable customers to deploy its technology in the cloud for primary storage or for disaster recovery.

IBM has also said it is working on an update to its scale-out file storage Spectrum NAS to allow it to be deployed in VMware virtual machines. The product, built on Compuverde code, has only been supported up to now on physical servers, although that limitation does not apply to the version sold by Compuverde.

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