IBM Tackles Big Data with Smarter Storage

Posted on June 04, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez

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IBM today kicked off Smarter Storage, a Smarter Computing initiative based on new and newly enhanced storage hardware and software. The goal: taming Big Data.

As businesses are discovering, throwing more capacity at the problem only adds to the Big Data management challenge. IBM argues that self-optimizing features and built-in intelligence are the way forward, so it is baking capabilities like real-time data compression and automated tiering into some members of its enterprise storage lineup.

To start, Storwize V7000 unified disk storage arrays and IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller both get real-time compression, enabling up to an 80 percent reduction in capacity requirements. These efficiencies are achieved, says IBM, because they compress active data, in contrast to traditional data compression, which approaches that target data at rest.

The V7000 also receives four-way clustering support, doubling maximum capacity to 960 drives or 1.4 petabytes. Other hardware highlights include thin provisioning and Enhanced FlashCopy, which enables 50 percent more snapshots and faster backups, for the SMB-flavored DS3500 array and its upmarket stablemate, the DCS3700.

For Big Data processing environments, the company has added Active File Management software to its General Parallel File System. A benefit for analytics apps, its inclusion now allows the file system software to provide "fast, trusted access to unstructured data, regardless of where the data resides so it can quickly be turned in to insight," says IBM.

In other software news, IBM is touting Tivoli Storage Productivity Center upgrades designed to help organizations gain better visibility and management over their Big Data storage requirements. Improvements now include a new web-based UI, Cognos integration for enhanced modeling and reporting, and a simplified licensing structure.

Two new tape software packages, Tape System Library Manager and Linear Tape File System (LTFS) Storage Manager aim to help organize growing, sometimes disparate magnetic tape collections. Tape System Library Manager integrates with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager and works with multiple types of tape drives and media to create a unified tape storage pool. LTFS Storage Manager brings multimedia file lifecycle management to bear on video files to help lower archive licensing costs.

In paving Big Data's path to the cloud, IBM announced SmartCloud storage support services. Comprised of IBM's SmartCloud Managed Backup, Archive and Object Storage cloud services, SmartCloud will help guide businesses as they backup and manage huge quantities of cloud-based unstructured data.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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