IBM’s got a brand new pizza box – an entry-level FlashSystem

IBM has launched the pizza box-sized FlashSystem 5200, its most compact storage system to date. The company has further updated the 5000 line with new 5015 and 5035 systems and added Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud on Azure.

The FlashSystem 5200 is faster and stores more data than its predecessor, the 5100, but base price averages out at 20 per cent lower.

Denis Kennelly, GM for IBM Storage, said in a statement: “Systems that provide global data availability, data resilience, automation, and enterprise-class data services are more critical than ever. Today’s announcement is designed to bring these capabilities to organisations of any size.”

IBM FlashSystem family. The 9200R is a rack mount 9200.

The current FlashSystem 5000, 5100, and 7200 and 9200 models are 2RU enclosures with up to 24 x 2.5-inch format FlashCore Module Drives (FMD) mounted vertically across the front.

FlashSystem 5200

The 5200 is half the height at 1RU – so rack densities are doubled – and has up to 12 FMDs mounted horizontally in two rows across the front. The NVMe FMDs use 96-layer NAND which is organised into a combination of SLC flash and QLC flash and come with a seven-year warranty in 4.8, 9.6, 19.2 or 38.4TB capacities. Industry-standard storage-class memory drives fit in the same slots. 

In-drive FMD hardware compression yields a general 2:1 data reduction ratio. Software deduplication in the 5200 controller ramps this up to 5:1. Thin provisioning can yield a further 2:1 effective data reduction.

A clustered system supports up to four 5200 enclosures for a maximum of 48 drives, meaning a theoretical maximum raw capacity of 1.84PB using 48 x 38.4TB drives. SAS SSDs are supported in the expansion enclosures.

FlashSystem product range characteristics.

After data reduction, the 5200 scales from 38TB effective capacity to 460.8TB in the chassis and out to 1.7PB.

The FlashSystem 5200 has one 8-core 2.3GHz Skylake-D Intel Xeon D-2146NT processor per controller with two dual-active controllers per control enclosure. The 5200 is equipped with a PCIe gen 3 bus and has eight x 32Gbit/s Fibre Channel or 25Gbit/s iSCSI ports.

The system incorporates all the software features of the 5100, including high-availability and external storage virtualization. But it offers 66 per cent greater maximum I/Os than the 5100 and 40 per cent more data throughput at 21GB/sec.

The operating system is Spectrum Virtualize, which manages up to 300 external storage arrays and adds their capacity to the FlashSystem pool. A Smart Data Placement algorithm puts the hottest data in the SLC flash for faster access.

The IBM FlashSystem 5200 supports Red Hat OpenShift, Container Storage Interface (CSI) for Kubernetes, Ansible automation, and VMWare and bare metal environments. The system comes with IBM Storage Insights, which provides visibility across complex storage environment.

Future plans

IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud is software that enables users to replicate or migrate data from heterogeneous storage systems between on-premises environments and IBM Cloud or Amazon Web Services. IBM will extend the same capabilities to Microsoft Azure, starting with a beta program in the third quarter of 2021.

The company is developing IBM Cloud Satellite software to enable customers to build, deploy and manage cloud services from any vendor anywhere.

Cloud Satellite standardises a set of Kubernetes, data, AI and security services. It will be delivered as-a-service from a single console, managed through the IBM public cloud and is currently in beta test.

The software is expected to become generally available in March and IBM will add support for it to the FlashSystem portfolio, SAN Volume Controller, Elastic Storage System and Spectrum Scale.

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