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A Bridge Across Generations: XIV Gen3 to FlashSystem A9000 & A9000R

By Archive User posted Tue February 20, 2018 07:55 AM

IBM FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R all-flash storage systems are radically simple to purchase, deploy, provision, manage and maintain. Their grid-scale, uniform architecture ensures that data is always evenly distributed across all the system without any pre-planning, and without any tuning, automatic or manual. As a result, performance is consistently high, leading to effortless high utilization. That same inherent simplicity also allows the FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R to autonomously monitor and recover from most issues. Bringing all that together, FlashSystem A9000 & A9000R are ideal for private cloud deployments, or for any organization seeking cloud-like economics.

The above paragraph, however, captures the DNA of the IBM Spectrum Accelerate family of storage offerings. In fact, XIV Gen3 customers reading it likely are having a déjà vu experience, recognizing the same attributes they love about XIV. Of course, the reason is that IBM FlashSystem A9000/R and XIV Gen3 offerings run IBM Spectrum Accelerate, the same operating software.

It is not surprising that nearly two years after IBM FlashSystem A9000/R were introduced, IBM XIV customers cherish their IBM Spectrum Accelerate DNA, and more and more of them are modernizing it with a newer generation FlashSystem A9000/R systems.

Modernizing storage typically comes with challenges: New systems, new skills, large migration projects to vacate or re-purpose older systems, all on the move, trying to keep the IT business heart ticking with minimal disruption. A lot of hoops to go through. So here’s another aspect of IBM Spectrum Accelerate that our customers enjoy: Family matters. Systems that share the same DNA, and are capable of operating together, thus allowing the customers to move gently and smoothly from old generation to new generation, are granted to be more valuable together. Let’s break it down to some IBM Spectrum Accelerate assets and capabilities, from the newest first.

Non-disruptive migration from XIV Gen3 to FlashSystem A9000/R
In modernization projects, workloads are moved between systems to vacate the older ones, or to re-purpose them and get the most out of the investment. For example, a customer may want to re-purpose some primary-workload XIV systems as secondary-workload ones, or as DR targets, or just vacate these systems towards the end of their warranty period.

There are multiple methods and tools to migrate workloads among storage systems. Some of them can do that without disrupting applications. These tools and methods vary by the workload or host-operating system. Their non-disruptive asset comes with a liability: a sensitive and intrusive operation into hosts, that is amplified by their variability, more so with prerequisite host software, new or upgraded, and always requiring complex planning and tight orchestration processes between the server and storage administrators. Many times it’d be more practical to just absorb the downtime. So much pain.

Enter the family: For years now, workloads can be moved non-disruptively between XIV Gen3 systems or between FlashSystem A9000/R systems using Hyper-Scale Mobility. The operation involves the hosts only for path re-configuration, which is necessary anyway when the host is not already connected to the target storage system. Everything else is a simple and well-supported storage management process, facilitated by the IBM Spectrum Accelerate native management software, Hyper-Scale Manager. It is controlled by the storage administrator alone.

Here’s the latest: Hyper-Scale Mobility can now move workloads across IBM Spectrum Accelerate generations, from XIV Gen3, to FlashSystem A9000/R. Move a few critical workloads from your XIV to FlashSystem A9000/R, or go all the way and consolidate the full load of multiple XIV’s into one new FlashSystem A9000R. All the same: Modernizing, with radical simplicity.

One management software
The Hyper-Scale Manager is the IBM Spectrum Accelerate family’s native management software, providing a single web-console to manage multiple FlashSystem A9000/Rs and XIV Gen3. When your systems have the same software, the same management concepts, and use the same terminology, they can be managed with the same tool, leverage all the features, without losing generality, AND keep it simple. Radical simplicity, remember?

Skill: Focus your ramp-up on modernization

XIV Gen3 customers that add FlashSystem A9000/R to their inventory, will have quite a few new things to catch up on: Different hardware; upgrading to the next generation Hyper-Scale Manager; Managing capacity with always-on data reduction; optionally, operating active-active high-availability with HyperSwap;
All the rest? Radically simple in the first place, but they already know it.
That’s a much shorter bridge to the future.

The IBM Spectrum Accelerate family delivers cutting-edge storage offerings, such as IBM FlashSystem A9000 and A9000R, while:
• Staying committed to keeping it radically simple to run a large storage environment on-premise, with cloud-like economics
• Ensuring smooth transition and investment protection, when modernizing across generations of IBM Spectrum Accelerate family

Learn more about IBM FlashSystem A9000 and IBM FlashSystem A9000R.

For complete information about the IBM Storage announcements on February 20, see our blog.