IBM Revs FlashSystem Line, Adds Cyber ​​Vault

February 14, 2022

Alex Woodie

IBM launched new members of its NVM-Express family of all-flash storage arrays last week, including the FlashSystem 7300 and FlashSystem 9500 arrays. It also launched a new version of the SAN Volume Controller (SVC) and rolled out the Cyber Vault to thwart ransomware.

The FlashSystem 7300 replaces the FlashSystem 7200 in the all-flash hierarchy of IBM systems, offering a 25% performance improvement. According to IBM Hardware Announcementeach 2U device will have two node canisters, each with two 10 cores Intel Cascade Lake processors and 128 GB of standard cache (with options up to 1.5 TB). The array has slots for up to 24 NVM-Express drives, four of which can support storage-class memory. It also supports IBM FlashCore Modules (FCM).

On the connectivity side, each cartridge has four 10 Gb/s Ethernet ports for 10 Gb/s iSCSI connectivity. Alternatively, the customer can select three I/O adapter functions per cartridge to support 32 Gbps Fiber Channel, 10/25 Gbps Ethernet, or 100 Gbps Ethernet connections each. Customers can connect a variety of 2U and 5U expansion modules to the FlashSystem Model 924 main system, adding dozens of NVM-Express or HDD drives and terabytes of storage.

The FlashSystem 7300 runs IBM Spectrum Virtualize software, which brings a variety of technologies including encryption, deduplication, compression, thin provisioning, SCSI Unmap, HyperSwap, Easy Tier, FlashCopy, and remote data replication. Offer ships March 4th.

The IBM FlashSystem 9500, on the other hand, is the latest high-end array in the FlashSystem line, replacing the FlashSystem 9200. The 4666 machine-type base module is a 4U device that includes two node canisters, each equipped with two 24-core Intel Xeon processors with up to 3TB of memory, depending on the IBM Hardware Announcement. With 50% more cache, the FlashSystem 9500 offers twice the performance of the FlashSystem 9200, according to IBM.

Each cartridge supports six I/O adapter functions for connecting to servers via 32 Gb FC, 10/25 Gb Ethernet, or 100 Gb Ethernet connections. A single IBM FlashSystem 9500 enclosure supports up to 48 standard NVM-Express flash drives, IBM FCM, or storage class memory drives for ultra-low latency workloads. Fully loaded capacity with 48 FCM is 2.3 PB; which will increase to 4.5 PB with a planned FCM update.

IBM FlashSystem is a family of storage arrays that connect to IBM i and other servers.

Total effective capacity is up to 18PB via expansion modules. The system, which will ship March 4, requires the latest Spectrum Virtualize software, version 8.5.

March 4 also marks the start of shipments of a new high-end version of its SAN Volume Controller (SVC), the Model SV3. This particular model is based on the same 24-core Intel Ice Lake processors found in the FlashSystem 9500, offering double the performance of the previous offering.

According to IBM Hardware Announcement, the SV3 has six I/O card slots with options for connecting to hosts via 32 Gb/s Fiber Channel connections and 25 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Ethernet connections. Up to four node pairs or I/O groups can be grouped together, for a total of eight nodes. IBM supports adding the SV3 storage engine to existing SVC clusters based on previous generation models. In total, the SV3 can manage up to 32 PB of storage on a mix of heterogeneous storage environments from IBM and other vendors.

IBM also launched the FlashSystem Cyber ​​Vault last week. This solution is based on the Safeguarded Copy software that IBM launched last year, as well as the installation of IBM Lab Services and continuous monitoring services to ensure rapid recovery in the event of a ransomware attack.

Secure copy protects data by creating an immutable snapshot of a customer’s data, which is then stored in an isolated part of the storage system. According to IBM, these snapshots “cannot be viewed or modified by unauthorized users.” Should a ransomware attack occur, or should there be a security event or natural disaster, the customer can recover their system using the copy of data that was backed up in the FlashSystem array.

Cyber ​​Vault’s goal is to speed up this recovery process. To this end, Cyber ​​Vault provides monitoring services that run continuously to detect attacks early. If Cyber ​​Vault detects corruption in one of the secure copy snapshots, the Cyber ​​Vault solution helps identify the last uncorrupted copy, which can help speed up recovery. According to IBM, recovery from a ransomware attack can take hours instead of days.

“As enterprises face increasing security threats, they must anticipate and prepare for cyberattacks in addition to maximizing the business agility of day-to-day operations,” said Denis Kennelly, general manager of IBM Storage, in a statement. “IBM FlashSystem Cyber ​​Vault and our most advanced FlashSystem storage are specifically designed to meet the levels of performance and security demanded by our hybrid cloud customers.”

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