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IBM all-flash family gets cloud and enterprise A9000 and A9000R

IBM announces two all-flash arrays – the modular A9000 and rack A9000R, aimed at service providers and enterprises – and the mainframe-connected DS8888

IBM has added three more all-flash arrays to its product range, with the A9000 and A9000R aimed at service providers and enterprises; and the DS8888 aimed at mainframe use cases.

The two 9000-designated products have the same hardware and software base but come in different formats. The A9000 is an 8U modular product aimed at service providers. It comes in 60TB, 150TB and 300TB enclosures with, respectively, 12 IBM custom flash modules of 1.2TB, 2.9TB and 5.7TB.

The A9000 claims I/O performance of up to 500 IOPS and latency as little as 250µs. It has three controllers and one flash enclosure.

The A9000R is a 42U rack-scale offering that comes as a base product that's one third full. It is aimed at enterprises and has up to 12 controllers with eight flash enclosures. Every controller connects to every flash enclosure and is balanced and self-provisioning across all drives.

"That's not needed in the A9000," said Kevin Powell, IBM business line executive for flash and cloud, because it is aimed at service providers that want a smaller configuration.

“Cloud customers just want pods and single management. Enterprise customers want large-scale rack deployment. They're more used to buying large-scale rack systems,” he said.

Read more about all-flash storage

  • Computer Weekly surveys an all-flash array market in which the big six in storage have largely settled on strategy, but key new technologies – such as TLC flash and 3D NAND – are emerging.
  • Computer Weekly surveys the startups and specialists in the all-flash array space and find a market in which advanced storage features are becoming the norm, while suppliers battle down to $1/GB.

Both are fully featured, with synchronous replication, VMware integration, thin provisioning and data deduplication that averages, said Powell, 5:1 to 6:1 data reduction.

The A9000R also offers minimum latency of 250µs with I/O performance of up to 2 million IOPS. Maximum capacities can be 900TB or 1.8PB depending on the size of flash module deployed.

Meanwhile, IBM has also announced the DS8888, an all-flash array aimed at mainframe users. It comes in a 40U rack format with maximum capacity of 192TB, with up to 2.5 million IOPS and latency of <1ms.

Connectivity is via the mainframe Ficon standard and Fibre Channel. It is architected to work with IBM zSeries mainframe servers.

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