IBM Revs FlashSystem Line, Adds Cyber Vault
February 14, 2022 Alex Woodie
IBM last week debuted new members of its family of NVM-Express all-flash storage arrays, including the FlashSystem 7300 and FlashSystem 9500 arrays. It also launched a new release of the SAN Volume Controller (SVC) and rolled out the Cyber Vault to thwart ransomware.
The FlashSystem 7300 replaces FlashSystem 7200 in the all-flash hierarchy of IBM systems, delivering a 25 percent performance boost. According to IBM’s hardware announcement, each 2U device will feature two node canisters, each with two 10-core Intel Cascade Lake processors and 128 GB of cache standard (with options ranging 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 (FCMs).
On the connectivity side, each cannister sports four 10 Gb/sec Ethernet ports for 10 Gb/sec iSCSI connectivity. Alternatively, the customer can select three I/O adapter features per canister to support 32 Gb/sec Fibre Channel, 10/25 Gb/sec Ethernet, or 100 Gb/sec Ethernet connections each. Customers can connect a variety of 2U and 5U expansion modules to the core FlashSystem Model 924 system, adding dozens of NVM-Express or HDD drives and terabytes of storage.
The FlashSystem 7300 runs IBM’s 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 The offering ships March 4.
The IBM FlashSystem 9500, meanwhile, is the latest top-line array in the FlashSystem line, replacing the FlashSystem 9200. The core machine type 4666 module is a 4U device that includes two node canisters, each sporting two 24-core Intel Xeon processors with up to 3 TB memory, according to the IBM hardware announcement. With 50 percent more cache, the FlashSystem 9500 delivers twice the performance of the FlashSystem 9200, IBM says.
Each canister supports six I/O adapter features for connecting to servers via 32 Gb FC, 10/25 Gb Ethernet, or 100 Gb Ethernet connections. A single IBM FlashSystem 9500 box supports up to 48 industry standard NVM-Express flash drives, IBM FCMs, or storage class memory drives for ultra low-latency workloads. Fully outfitted capacity with 48 FCMs is 2.3 PB; that will expand to 4.5 PB with a planned update to FCMs.
Total effective capacity can reach 18 PB via expansion modules. The system, which ships March 4, requires the latest Spectrum Virtualize Software, version 8.5.
March 4 also marks the beginning of deliveries for 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, delivering double the performance of the previous offering.
According to the IBM hardware announcement, the SV3 features six I/O card slots with options for connection to hosts via 32 Gb/sec Fibre Channel and 25 Gb/sec and 100 Gb/sec Ethernet connections. Up to four node pairs or I/O groups can be clustered together, for a total of eight nodes. IBM supports adding the SV3 storage engine to existing SVC clusters based on previous generation models. All told, the SV3 can manage up to 32 PB of storage across a mix of heterogenous 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, along with installation from IBM Lab Services and continuous monitoring services to ensure a rapid recovery should a ransomware attack happen.
Safeguarded Copy protects data by creating an immutable snapshot of a customer’s data, which is then stowed in an isolated part of the storage system. According to IBM, these snapshots “cannot be accessed or altered by unauthorized users.” If a ransomware attack were to occur, or if there’s a security event or a natural disaster, the customer can recover their system using the copy of the data that has been safeguarded in the FlashSystem array.
The goal with Cyber Vault is to speed up that recovery process. To that end, Cyber Vault provides monitoring services that run continuously to detect attacks quickly. If Cyber Vault detects corruption in one of the Safeguarded Copy snapshots, the Cyber Vault solution helps to identify the last uncorrupted copy, which can help speed up recovery. According to IBM, recovery from a ransomware attack can take just hours, instead of days.
“As companies are under increasing security threats, they must anticipate and prepare for cyber-attacks in addition to maximizing business agility of day-to-day operations,” Denis Kennelly, the general manager of IBM Storage, says in a statement. “IBM FlashSystem Cyber Vault and our most advanced FlashSystem storage are specifically designed to address the performance and security levels that our hybrid cloud clients demand.”