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Finding the Perfect Fit

IBM System Storage Easy Tier tailors SSDs for your workloads

IBM System Storage Easy Tier tailors SSDs for your workloads

The attraction to new solid-state drive (SSD) technology is easy to understand. Implementing an SSD storage solution can substantially increase application-performance transactions and reduce over-provisioning of expensive server and storage hardware. Because some may feel unable to justify the cost of being an early adopter, IBM has a solution to help you find the best fit for your SSD implementation at the best price possible. Enterprise SSDs store data in flash-memory modules rather than the electromagnetic disk platters of traditional disk drives. With no moving parts, SSDs suffer no spinning-drive latency; finding data is immediate, explains Allen Marin, worldwide marketing manager for IBM System Storage*. “Think of your iPod or digital camera that finds a song or picture among thousands you might have in a fraction of a second. There’s virtually no delay, and for a client’s most important, time-sensitive information, these SSDs are becoming extremely popular.” Plus, the lack of moving parts means the drives are more reliable and don’t consume the energy to power and cool traditional, constantly spinning drives.

However, the new technology comes at a cost. According to Marin, they can be more expensive than enterprise Fibre-Channel drives, for example.

He says, “The main sticking point for clients when they talk to us is they know they can take advantage of the dramatic performance gains, but given the price premiums, they struggle to justify the additional costs. So they say, ‘Maybe I’ll just wait a few years until the cost comes down.’ ”

With the introduction of IBM System Storage Easy Tier, “you don’t need to wait to reap the benefits of SSD technology and justify the costs,” Marin says.

This new software feature on IBM’s flagship storage system, the DS8700*, was introduced in April and promises to help clients find the perfect combination of SSDs and traditional hard-disk drives (HHDs) for their workloads and then automatically relocate data to the appropriate drive tier.

Marin says many reasons exist for clients to consider introducing a few SSDs into their storage solutions, from driving additional revenue through more application transactions to increasing the utilization of existing storage and server resources. “The bottom line is virtually every client can benefit from deploying these drives if they do so in a smart way,” he says.

Increasing transactions. If revenue-generating transactions can be increased with SSD technology, clients can easily justify the cost of these new drives. Say, for example, a transaction-processing trading application drives 100 transactions per minute. If you can get a 300- or 400-transaction-per-minute increase, revenue grows proportionally. “It’s a very compelling argument,” Marin says. “The system is tuning itself to eek out as much performance as possible with the existing mix of lightning-fast SSDs and the cost-effective HDDs, by placing the right data on the right drive tier.”

Natalie Boike is a former IBM Systems Magazine managing editor.


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