IBM announces support for new faster protocols for flash storage including NVMe to speed data across systems and devices

IBM announced on Sunday its development of Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) solutions to provide clients the ability to lower latencies in an effort to speed data to and from storage solutions and systems. IBM is leveraging its leadership in storage software to ignite an industry-wide leap in system performance, which can reduce frustration for the many consumers experiencing data transfer delays.

IBM’s developers are re-tooling the end-to-end storage stack to support this new, faster interconnect protocol to boost the experience of everyone consuming the massive amounts of data now being perpetuated across cloud services, retail, banking, travel and other industries.

IBM Storage solutions provide the speed and performance of ready data access with the agility and efficiency of hybrid cloud and software-defined storage. By connecting data across any architecture, storage from IBM delivers deeper insights faster — giving users the edge to outthink and outperform competition and win in the cognitive era.

IBM unveiled last month an end-to-end flash portfolio with features specifically needed for cloud environments. The FlashSystem A9000 offers simple onramp for flash storage for IT service providers, and comes fully configured which helps drive down the cost of implementing an all-flash environment. The FlashSystem A9000R delivers scalable storage for cloud service providers with its grid architecture, and provides easy scaling up to the petabyte range.

These offerings incorporate industry-leading performance – a minimum latency of 250μs (microsecond) — to solve the challenge of accessing the massive amounts of data for cloud-based applications and workloads. Consumers are demanding cloud-based applications that are fast, easy and intelligent. Sub-second response times are critical when data is retrieved from the cloud to deliver a unique, personalized and positive customer experience. IBM MicroLatency technology transfers data within the flash array via hardware instead of the added layer of software.

Also built into the solutions are features designed to solve cloud requirements such as quality-of-service (QoS) to prevent the impact “noisy neighbor” problems have on application performance, secure multi-tenancy, thresholding, and easy-to-deploy grid scale out.

Last year, IBM responded to the transformation in data value with sweeping additions to its product portfolio to make data running on its systems more available and actionable. Among these improvements is the IBM FlashSystem A9000, which already includes features intrinsic to NVMe functionality like the user-space I/O paradigm, which speeds data performance by allowing applications to talk ‘directly’ to flash storage instead of navigating several operating system layers.

In addition to this, IBM Spectrum Scale, part of IBM’s storage software, offers NVMe capabilities through its local read-only cache (LROC) feature, which keeps data in reserve with very low latency and therefore improving application performance.

NVMe is a new language protocol that is replacing traditional SAS and SATA standards for solid state data storage. Through employing parallelism, to simultaneously process data across a network of devices, clients can anticipate significantly reduced delays caused by data bottlenecks and move higher volumes of data within their existing flash storage systems.

IBM’s NVMe strategy is based on optimizing the entire storage system stack – from applications requiring the data to flash technology to store it. Through the development of its FlashSystem family of all-flash storage solutions, IBM recognized years ago that multiple technologies would be required to address the demands of ultra-low latency data processing. IBM is developing solutions with NVMe across its storage portfolio, which it plans to bring to market in the first half of next year.

The availability of higher performing IBM all-flash storage solutions with new management control and insights from software defined storage are providing important options for users with varying data architectures and workload scenarios. NVMe is designed to allow users to manage larger real-time workloads that can lead to data as a natural resource that clients can monetize and to help their business become more competitive.

Jointly developed by IBM and Cisco, VersaStack brings together Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) integrated infrastructure, including Cisco UCS servers, Cisco Nexus switches and Cisco UCS Director management software, with IBM software-defined storage. VersaStack supports varied Cisco UCS servers, Cisco switches (Nexus and MDS), and IBM storage configuration options that enable enterprises to cost-effectively scale compute, network and storage capacity as needed.

VersaStack for Hybrid Cloud is a converged infrastructure solution with additional software components that deploy and manage applications and automate application-aware data to and between data center and cloud environments. This “converged cloud” capability extends existing VersaStack solutions that include both IBM and Cisco best-in-class hardware and software products. It adds easy-to-consume hybrid cloud solutions to scalable and automated VersaStack infrastructure.

IBM all-flash and hybrid storage solutions available for VersaStack are integrated with IBM Spectrum Virtualize or IBM Spectrum Accelerate. These IBM Spectrum Storage family members enable integration with cloud storage services and resources, including IBM Bluemix Infrastructure, Amazon S3, and Openstack Swift. IBM Bluemix Infrastructure, in particular, provides a range of high-performance global cloud compute and storage resources that are deeply integrated with IBM Spectrum Storage to optimize performance and management.

Additional IBM Spectrum Storage family members such as IBM Spectrum Control, IBM Spectrum Protect, and IBM Cloud Object Storage can be added to VersaStack configurations and delivered on-premises or as cloud-based services through IBM Bluemix Infrastructure to deliver a broad spectrum of storage solutions within hybrid cloud architectures.

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