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Gen 7 forward-thinking also means Gen 6 upgradeability

By Kenneth Griffo posted Tue October 27, 2020 08:32 AM


Introducing Gen 7: Performance and Intelligence

Innovation within the IBM FlashSystem and the IBM DS8000 high-performance storage platforms have mirrored the larger trends moving through modern data centers and across 21st century business in general, and storage innovation requires similar storage network innovation for a fully optimized platform.

Three of the most influential IT infrastructure trends have been the ever-increasing demand for higher performance, the extension of the data center out across hybrid cloud environments, and the incorporation of more intelligence and underlying automation to simplify system management.

Data movement will not keep pace – unless the Storage Area Network (SAN) allows it. Multi-cloud environments can’t exist – unless storage networks help enable them. And data center solutions can’t be simplified – unless networks themselves get smarter.

This is the basis, and these are the drivers, for IBM b-type Gen 7.

Along with accelerating SAN performance, IBM b-type Gen 7 introduces the Autonomous SAN to help make the on-demand data center a reality.

Gen 7 enhancements include:  

  • 50% lower latency
  • Integrated analytics and advanced automation
  • New, AI-driven Traffic Optimizer technology
  • Improved storage network congestion management
  • Investment protection through the ability to mix and match IBM SAN Gen6 and Gen7 components.

IBM b-type Gen 7 solutions for Fibre Channel include two new network Director models:

  • IBM Storage Networking SAN512B-7 for large enterprises
  • IBM Storage Networking SAN256B-7 for mid-sized workloads

There’s a new switch model – IBM Storage Networking SAN64B-7.  And perhaps most important for realization of the Autonomous SAN – an enhanced User Interface, the IBM SANnav Management Portal, with the new SANnav Global View “Manager of Managers” technology.

IBM’s new SAN b-type products are significant in themselves, but the real keys to Gen7 are the new technologies incorporated throughout this next-generation networking platform including:

  • Integrated network sensors at every port gather comprehensive SAN telemetry to monitor at the fabric, device, protocol, I/O, and application levels.
  • Powerful new AI-driven SAN analytics process and correlate the diverse network telemetry to determine baseline network behavior and the potential impact of problems and then identify the root causes of network performance and health issues.
  • Advanced automation within the platform recommends actions, makes suggestions, automates problem resolution, and prioritizes critical traffic to ensure optimal health and performance with minimal admin intervention.

At the heart of Gen7 lies the industry’s most advanced Fibre Channel switching ASIC – Condor 5. This new processor provides 50% lower latency at 460 nanoseconds, plus twice the encryption and compression capacity than previous SAN solutions. It has the ability to learn, measure, and monitor fabric-wide traffic latency and data flows between devices. And Condor 5 has 50% more buffer memory capacity to better manage distance challenges, burst workloads, and network congestion.

The wide-ranging autonomous technologies introduced by Gen7 are designed to simplify and automate network management.

The self-learning SAN leverages comprehensive data collection with powerful analytics to quickly understand the impact of current or trending problems.

The self-optimizing capability utilizes actionable intelligence to automate network management and maximize performance. By learning traffic behavior, IBM’s Gen7 enables the network to make smarter decisions on traffic prioritization, congestion management, and notification to ensure optimal performance for applications and storage.

The self-healing capabilities of Gen7 increase network availability through new automatic avoidance and recovery features. For example, when potential disruptions or outages are detected, the network will automatically mitigate or resolve issues without admin intervention.

Self-learning, self-optimizing, and self-healing are the new autonomous technologies that greatly simplify SAN management and enable unparalleled network performance and reliability.

To manage the Autonomous SAN, IBM b-type Gen7 offers two new and complementary SAN management tools, IBM SANnav Management Portal and SANnav Global View. Together, the SANnav tools simplify configuration, management, monitoring, and troubleshooting of all your SAN resources regardless of location. While SANnav is for detailed SAN management at specific locations, SANnav Global View provides “single pane of glass” management of up to 20 instances of the Management Portal for a totally comprehensive view of an enterprise’s global storage infrastructure.

Investment protection is the final key to IBM’s Gen7 value. If you are currently running an IBM b-type Gen6 director chassis and want to realize the benefits of Gen7 then simply upgrade your Gen6 chassis in place to Gen7.  The Gen7 upgrade kit includes new Gen7 Core Routing blades and allows you to continue using existing Gen6 blades as well as add new Gen7 blades whenever you are ready.  Step-by-step documentation is available to lower risk and simplify upgrades. No forklift required.

Earlier this year IBM simplified its industry leading FlashSystem portfolio.  Add Gen7 fabric, and IBM has the whole package in an integrated storage solution.  Today’s ever-changing and increasingly digital businesses rely on fast, reliable, and secure access to their data.  This drives strong demand for greater IT infrastructure performance, simplified implementation and management of multi-cloud architectures, and greater system intelligence and simplicity. IBM FlashSystem, DS8000, and now Gen7 b-type Storage Networking solutions have responded with leading-edge innovation that is more than keeping pace.  With the introduction of the Autonomous SAN, IBM is leading the way.

Simple. Fast. Intelligent. This is IBM b-type Storage Networking.

For an overview of all the IBM Storage announcements on October 27, see this post.