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Taneja Blog / Data Center Systems

IBM Raises the bar with a new high-end XIV model

XIV has been a rising star for IBM ever since its acquisition a few years ago. This product line has been instrumental in the company acquiring new customers who have never purchased an IBM storage product (or haven't purchased one in the past two years). Forty eight hundred units have shipped out since 2008. On July 12, 2011, IBM upgraded the XIV line with a high end model and raised the bar even further. The new model is targeted at ultra-high performance workloads. For the first time the XIV nodes will be using an InfiniBand backend, for extremely low latency and a 20X increase in interconnectivity speed. The cache per module was increased by 50%, FC ports now boast 8Gb speeds, more iSCSI ports were added, as were SAS and SSD drives, and the minimum capacity was raised to 54TB. An SSD caching option now allows up to 7.5TB max capacity. In effect, storage system were expanded in practically all the dimensions.

The results presented by IBM were spectacular: Cut backup times and boost performance of backups (using ProtecTIER) and archiving by up to 4X; improve throughput for big data applications to 10GB/sec or better; improve performance of mixed enterprise workloads by up to 3X and OLTP workloads by 2X; up to 2X density increase in snapshot density via algorithm improvements and reduction of latency for small blockIO.

The list of improvements is impressive indeed. With these changes we expect XIV to become even more important to IBM and its customers. The timing of this announcement signifies something deeper. IBM is transforming its storage product line from partially OEM'd/partially in-house developed to completely in-house developed, over the next three years. XIV is a strategic workhorse in that future lineup, which would consist of the DS8000 series at the high end, XIV in the mid-range and VS7000 at the lower end of midrange, and below. Given that IBM's primary midrange supplier, LSI Engenio, is now owned by NetApp, who by all measures is first a competitor and then a NAS supplier (and over time we believe will be eliminated as a supplier), the new line up makes total sense. Without question XIV has been a star performer thus far. With this announcement it is clear that XIV architecture is scalable and its destiny within the IBM portfolio is bright. Nothing about this architecture has surprised us.

Knowing this, the existing and the new IBM customers can buy the XIV models with the confidence that they can ride this racehorse for many years to come.

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  • Premiered: 08/11/11
  • Author: Arun Taneja
Topic(s): IBM XIV


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