IBM Storwize V3700: Towards Greater Control of its Own Destiny
On November 6, 2012, IBM announced Storwize V3700, a baby brother to the SVC-based product Storwize V7000 that has been shipping for a couple of years now. Along with Storwize V7000 Unified and Flex System V7000 and, of course, the SVC controller itself, IBM now has a genuine mid-range and entry family of storage products that is 100% IBM-developed. We can look at the specs on the Storwize V3700 and compare them to competitive products and to Storwize V7000, and see how it fares, but, in my view, the strategic message of this announcement is more important. With the introduction of Storwize V3700, IBM can now address an even bigger portion of the disk market with its own Storwize family. The only exception is DS3500, which will continue being marketed due to capabilities such as NEBS compliance, HDD encryption or Dynamic Disk Pooling.
IBM has long wanted to free itself of the OEM’d products. On the block side, the high end has been solidly protected by the DS8000 series for years. It was always the low to mid-range area where IBM had no choice but to go out and OEM someone else’s products. The issues of this approach were obvious: two distinct product families, with their own unique ways of protecting, replicating and managing data. The combination of the XIV acquisition and the development of SVC gave IBM the weapons to smoothen out the discontinuities and built a solid IBM-developed low end and mid-range product line. And add a star performer (XIV) to the high end category. IBM took the user interface technology from the XIV side and developed the first SVC-based storage array, Storwize V7000, to start the mid-range family. To that they added Storwize V7000 Unified and Flex System V7000 and, to spread the wings, in a consistent fashion. The introduction of Storwize V3700 completes the family for the moment. It is consistent with the rest of the Storwize family in the way it is configured, managed, upgraded, migrated, replicated, and connected. It simply has lower extensibility, performance and capacity but all the XIV and SVC “goodness” remains intact. The Storwize V3700 product becomes a great complement to the rest of the family but provides special appeal for the channel and the small to mid-size companies (or remote offices of larger enterprises).
With this introduction IBM now has complete control of its own destiny, at least in the mid-range and entry array category. I believe the Storwize V7000 platform has been delivering good results for IBM and its customers. I expect the Storwize V3700 would be a welcome addition to the family.
Now that the high end, mid-range and the low end of the block array side is solidified, IBM needs to turn its attention to the world of NAS and follow suite. But that is a three year exercise and a topic for another time. In any case, the introduction of Storwize V3700 is an important marker that culminates what I believe to be stage 1 of their strategy to get a solid lock on their own future.
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