Turning up the volume on cloud storage conversations

With Thanksgiving and December just around the corner, I naturally find myself reflecting on 2016 and this year’s highlights for IBM Storage. Continued leadership in flash, software defined storage, object storage, as well as mainframe and tape storage are surely worthy of note. Equally significant are the strides that IBM has made in allowing customers to leverage the economies of storage in the cloud – private, public, and the ever-more pervasive form, hybrid.
As over 70% of organizations already know, hybrid cloud has become the prevalent way to deploy IT. And that means that IT infrastructure – including data storage – must, yes must, empower organizations to simply and efficiently store and move all types of data across the IT landscape. To that end, IBM continuously infuses offerings with functionality that enables end-users to squeeze as much value as possible from hybrid cloud. A stream of enhancements and features has rolled out in 2016, and here are only three of the many enhancements (learn more in this presentation):

  • Moving data among clouds – transfer data simply and securely to a variety of clouds with Transparent Cloud Tiering, now available in offerings such as IBM Spectrum Scale, IBM Spectrum Protect, and IBM Spectrum Virtualize 
  • Managing hyper-scale environments – monitor and manage over 100 IBM FlashSystem, IBM XIV, and IBM Spectrum Accelerate instances on- and off-premises as one flexible hyper store (watch the demo here)
  • Deploying object storage anywhere – scale large unstructured data volumes across on-premises systems as well as public and private clouds quickly and easily with IBM Cloud Object Storage

Cue up the dialogue, live and on-demand
What’s been especially interesting over the last 24 months is listening to a growing number of enterprises and service providers as they share their cloud-building experiences. Those were on display in droves at the recent IBM Edge event with dozens of end-users such as Microsoft, University of Chicago, and Unisys presenting at length on their experiences using IBM Storage to build out clouds of all shapes and forms.

The good news is that a recently launched webinar series keeps the dialogue on tap. We’ll continue talking to IT experts so that you can learn from their experiences and best practices. A number of excellent ones such as those with Unisys and Winnipeg Free Press are already available for your listening pleasure.
welchs-builds-hybrid-cloud_socialtile_01-02As part of this series, I will be hosting Mukesh Sharma, senior IT manager at Welch’s. Register to tune in and hear how this leading juice and jelly company is transforming its IT to stay ahead of the competition; placing workloads such as Oracle, email, finance, etc. across its hybrid cloud environment; and planning for the future with cognitive computing.

I look forward to seeing you on the 28th and, until then, wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating the holiday later this week!

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End of year storage reflections with XIV’s Ayelet Shomer

Ayelet Shomer

Ayelet Shomer,  IBM XIV Business Line Manager

I am fortunate to have my office in the epicenter of IBM’s  XIV “universe,” where development, business line, product, and marketing activities take place. So I get to rub elbows with the bright, energized folks who live, breathe and, yes, love XIV. Last week, I caught up with one of these great folks: XIV business line manager Ayelet Shomer. Over tea, Ayelet shared her end of year thoughts on the storage market and XIV.

Q: What are your impressions of the storage market?
A
: I see two significant changes today. First, there’s massive data growth. In the past, companies acquired storage for linear growth. What we at IBM call CAMSS [Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social, Security] is causing exponential data growth, and traditional storage models simply can’t cope. Storage needs to be more efficient and simpler, so that it can absorb the massive data tsunami. Second, time to market for applications and businesses is very quick today. There’s no time for the old models of infrastructure acquisition, installation, configuration, tuning, and application development. So today, companies need storage technologies that are dynamic, agile, and easily “consumed.”

Q: What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for storage admins?
A:
 In addition to coping with data growth and the need for quick time to market, storage administrators have to broaden their horizons. They can’t afford to focus on one storage solution that does one thing well. Storage is not “siloed” anymore; it isn’t only in one data center or stored on one platform – it’s distributed, on-premise, off-premise, a mix of media types, and in private and public cloud combinations. So storage needs to work well across all of these platforms just as it provides performance and advanced data services. In software-defined storage terminology, both control and data planes are needed for efficient storage.

These shifts are an opportunity for admins as new technologies enter the market. They’re also an opportunity for vendors who can provide proven solutions that can be used in different environments in a well-integrated manner.

Q:  In which verticals does XIV have or see the most traction?
A:
 Because of its inherent characteristics, XIV is found across many industries. You can see from the references on our web page that these include finance, telco, healthcare, MSPs, etc. From our experience, these companies tend to be innovators, have a lot of data, and have a tendency to be very dynamic. XIV has the “cool” factor alongside two other things: a rich feature set (e.g., mirroring, snapshots, DR) and the maturity needed for acceptance in an enterprise environment.

Q: What is that cool factor, and how does it get customers to their goals?
A:
 XIV has a unique mix of technology and simplicity. It caters to the needs of specific business lines without the complexity of storage management that other solutions involve. In fact, I like to say that we help our customers by efficiently managing unavoidable storage complexities.

And this is true beyond technology. In 2014, we introduced new acquisition programs such as Advanced System Placement and the XIV Cloud Storage for Service Providers offering that add simplicity and flexibility to the purchase of storage.

Q: IBM positions XIV as a go-to for cloud storage. Can you speak to that?
A:
 Sure. Many organizations are deploying a private cloud and/or identifying workloads that can be placed on public cloud.  XIV is an ideal storage foundation for cloud. Many enterprises and MSPs tell us that XIV delivers the predictability and reliability needed for cloud while at the same time avoiding complexity. XIV predictability is evident in so many ways. Just two examples: XIV works with mixed, dynamic workloads without the need for tuning, and it scales linearly, again without tuning or hotspots.

Q: Looking back, what were some of the biggest XIV achievements of the year?
A:
 2014 was a great year for XIV on all fronts. We brought much to the market: cloud features such as multi-tenancy, OpenStack and VMware vCloud Suite integration, while addressing key enterprise requirements such as three-site mirroring. And I can tell you two things: the market likes what it sees, and our customers like our responsiveness to their wants and needs.

Q: Any parting words?
A: 
Yes, as always, much thanks to our loyal customer base. And of course, happy holidays, happy New Year, and here’s to a great 2015.

Disclaimer: My questions and Ayelet’s answers are our own words and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.