UPDATED 05:02 EST / FEBRUARY 17 2015

IBM expands into SDN & hybrid clouds with Spectrum Storage

airship-360550_640IBM is pushing ahead with its plans for the hybrid cloud, in the belief that actions and words speak louder together. First up, it’s making a big promise – $1 billion to be invested in the development of its software storage portfolio over the next five years; and second, the release IBM Spectrum Storage, a new software package that’s designed to manage storage and make data assets more efficient.

IBM makes its move at a time when the reality of software-defined storage is rapidly hitting home among all the major enterprise storage players. It’s a reality that’ll see less hardware being sold as companies instead look to squeeze more efficiency out of how data is stored. The likes of EMC, Hitachi and NetApp are already evolving to meet this new demand, while Cisco and VMware may also get into the game.

Spectrum Storage is essentially the software layer for IBM’s XIV storage applicance. Applicance is designed for large organizations with Big Data storage needs, and is built for hybrid cloud environments to faciliate its customer’s desire to move to the cloud.

“IBM’s Spectrum Storage portfolio can centrally manage more than 300 different storage devices and yottabytes of data. This device interoperability is the broadest in the industry – incorporating both IBM and non-IBM hardware and tape systems,” said IBM in its release.

By taking such an open approach to interoperability and standards, it’s clear IBM is hopeful Storage Spectrum will become more than just an added layer on XIV, but instead become an integral part of companies’ data centers as those customers move to a hybrid architecture – a mix of on-premise storage, in-house and public clouds.

The trend towards software-defined storage is growing fast – by 2019, research firm Gartner Inc. expects that 70 percent of storage array solutions will be available as “Software only”, and that by 2020, between 70 and 80 percent of all unstructured data will live in low-cost hardware managed by such systems.

IBM says one of the packages in its new release, Spectrum Accelerate, is currently being tested by companies including Netflix, China State Grid, and City of Hope on over 100,000 servers scattered worldwide.

“IBM Spectrum Accelerate enables clients to layer their infrastructure with intelligent features derived from XIV,” the company said. “These features include unique architecture with zero-tuning that can help clients dynamically add storage capacity in minutes versus the months it takes today to add, install and run storage hardware systems”

Netflix revealed how it swapped out 16 of its existing storage solutions with just three XIV systems, freeing up almost 80 percent of its data center floor space. The following clip from IBM explains how Netflix is using XIV in more detail.

Image credit: SteveBidmead via Pixabay.com

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