IBM Continues to Deliver New Multicloud Storage Solutions

The ever-increasing vast quantities of data that need to be stored, distributed, and managed cost-effectively with security and reliability are looking to the multicloud for a solution. IBM recognizes this and is delivering new multicloud storage solutions in response to that need.

Overview of Multicloud and IBM Storage’s Multicloud Solutions

The movement to the multicloud represents a dramatic shift in how the majority of enterprise class IT organizations will restructure their information infrastructure now and in the coming years. A multicloud represents at least two cloud environments — say a private and public cloud — but more typically describes the use of multiple public clouds typically in conjunction with an on-premises or private cloud. Enterprises want to be able to move applications and data swiftly and easily from place to place to best handle workload requirements (such as performance and availability) while at the same time generating the best possible cost-efficiencies. That demand for agility and flexibility comes with the challenge of providing the necessary levels of data protection that prevents not only against the loss of data, but also complies with regulations that ensure the necessary privacy.

Doing all this — and much more! — is a real challenge for any IT organization and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. And this is where IBM Storage comes into play with a broad portfolio of Spectrum Storage software-defined-storage solutions, as well as all flash array and tape solutions from which an IT organization can select the right mix and combination of products (as well as services) to meet their particular needs. All of IBM’s storage and storage software solutions embrace this move to the multicloud enterprise.

IBM has already done a lot in the multicloud arena. See will ge-in-a-data-driven-multi-cloud-world/ for an illustration. We will further illustrate with three examples of adding features, function, and a new product model that have come out of the recent IBM Storage announcement. These involve three areas which feature prominently in the multicloud world — namely, modern data protection with IBM Spectrum Protect and IBM Spectrum Protect Plus, mainframe storage with the introduction of the DS8882F model, and cloud object storage with enhancements to IBM Cloud Object Storage to better manage large quantities of data.

What IBM Is Doing for Multicloud Data Protection

Data protection is often a prominent use case for the multicloud. For example, storing a backup copy on a public cloud may be more cost-effective than storing it on-premises; however, storing it in a public cloud might negatively impact an RTO (recovery-time objective). IBM Spectrum Protect 8.1.6 resolves that dilemma by creating a tiering option for backup data based upon state. Data in an active state (which means the most recent backup copy) remains on-premises to help meet RTO needs while inactive data (which means previous backup copies) are stored in a cloud to reduce costs.

IBM had previously announced “solution blueprints” to help IT organizations to more easily deploy to the multicloud for a particular purpose, such as modern data protection or reuse of secondary datasets. Now blueprints are available with IBM Spectrum Protect to make it easier to deploy to popular cloud environments, namely IBM Cloud, Amazon AWS, and Microsoft Azure.

While IBM Spectrum Protect focuses on traditional “real” environments, IBM Spectrum Protect Plus focuses on data recovery and reuse in virtual machine environments (such as those managed by VMware vSphere). IBM Spectrum Protect Plus has added encryption of vSnap data repositories, as well as support for vSphere 6.7 and DB2.

Mainframe Storage Plays a Key Role in the Multicloud World

IBM has announced the introduction of the DS8882F, the latest all-flash storage system in the DS8880F mainframe enterprise-class storage family. The DS8882F fits into the same 19-inch industry standard rack with the IBM mainframe, while delivering up to 50% savings in power consumption and in physical space as compared to deploying an array as a separate item on the data center floor, while delivering from 6.4 to 368.64 TB of raw capacity. It is the first enterprise class storage system that can be integrated into IBM Z model ZR1 or IBM LinuxONE Rockhopper II. It also provides a straightforward and cost-efficient means for the upgrade of legacy mainframe storage systems, such as the non-flash DS6000, DS8000, and DS8870 systems.

Along with its fellow members of the DS8880F family, the DS8882F plays in the multicloud world through Transparent Cloud Tiering (TCT). See for an introduction to TCT for DS8880 systems. The D8880 family in conjunction with TCT now provides a Safeguarded Copy capability that protects sensitive data copies, as well as enhanced data encryption before a DS8880 family member sends data to a cloud or IBM Cloud Object Storage.

IBM Cloud Object Storage Support of the Multicloud

IBM Cloud Object Storage (COS) software offers IT organizations a wide range of cost-effective options on how to store vast quantities of data that range from more active data, such as required for ongoing analytics, to less-frequently-used colder data, such as for archiving or backup, on a broad set of multicloud platforms, including on-premises and the public cloud.

Although COS already supports over 30 hardware server configurations from Cisco, Dell, HPE, and Lenovo among others in addition to IBM, the hardware verification process for a new server could take months. But this verification process has been reduced to weeks. With the next verification process a Quanta system that can start as an entry level solution in 1U at each of three sites and grow online while never going down (due to the very high availability of a COS system) and even upgrade to exabyte scale (technically, as very few if any are likely to reach those exalted levels).

COS plays an important role in data protection (such as backup) and lifecycle management (such as archiving) using more than 77 certified applications. IBM Cloud Object Storage includes three other IBM solutions, namely, DS8880 arrays using TCT, IBM Spectrum Scale NAS storage, which also uses TCT, and IBM Spectrum Protect enterprise backup software.

Mesabi musings

Multicloud represents an powerful and flexible evolutionary view of cloud strategy that says that enterprises need to distribute their applications and data across multiple clouds. Changing an information infrastructure dramatically always presents a number of challenges to IT organizations. IBM brings to the table a broad range of software-defined-storage software and storage systems solutions to help IT organizations address those challenges.

IBM plays an important role in multicloud and that was demonstrated in 3 different areas in this paper. The first was modern data protection, which is critical for multicloud deployments. The second is mainframe storage, where IBM is one of the leading storage providers, and which must not be neglected in a multicloud solution for those organizations using mainframes. The third is IBM Cloud Object Storage, which provides a cost-effective and reliable means of storing data in the cloud. And these are only three of a number of solutions that IBM Storage is delivering to make the move to the multicloud real and viable.