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IBM Intros Next-Gen FlashSystem 840 Storage Appliance

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

IBM's next generation of RAID FlashSystem 840 almost doubles the performance over its predecessor. The update is IBM's attempt to keep pace with the growth and demand for big data, analytics, cloud computing, virtualization, and other data-centric applications. The general availability of the new FlashSystem storage appliance was announced today.

IBM FlashSystem 840 Storage Appliance. Image courtesy of IBMIBM FlashSystem 840 Storage Appliance. Image courtesy of IBMLess than a year ago, IBM announced a strategic initiative and an investment of $1 billion dollars in research and development to improve flash storage which the company planned to integrate into its product line.

At the time, IBM also released its FlashSystem 820, which has a capacity of 24 terabytes (TB) and an Input/Output per second (IOPS) random read of 525,000 and an IOPS random write of 280,000.

IBM's latest generation FlashSystem 840 has a usable capacity of 48TB. The 840 has an IOPS random read of 1,100,000 and IOPS random write of 600,000, which more than doubles the performance of its forerunner.

The IBM FlashSystem 840 supports 4TB to 48TB in a 2U form factor. The 840 utilizes what the company calls MicroLatency and is designed to provide fast response times (estimated at less than 135-microsecond access time) to speed up responses from critical applications. With faster response times, the FlashSystem 840 could allow organizations to provide access to additional concurrent users, while lowering costs or avoiding future costs if there is a need to expand the system to accommodate additional users.

To reduce downtime, FlashSystem 840 supports IBM Variable Stripe RAID to continue operations even in the event of a partial or full failure of the flash chip. The 2U form factor provides front loadable access to the flash modules and modules are hot swappable. The architecture also supports RAID 0 and 5. Having both IBM's Variable Stripe Raid and standard RAID 5 technology eliminates the possibility of having a single point of failure on the FlashSystem drive.

The FlashSystem devices also include Active Spare support and error correction code (ECC) at the chip level to provide additional reliability.

Upgrades to the firmware are nondisruptive and the FlashSystem 840 supports concurrent code load. Additionally, the new FlashSystem supports hardware accelerated AES-XTS 256 encryption for data at rest.

The FlashSystem supports eMLC for higher intensive write or hybrid read/write transactional workloads.

As the demand for flash drives increases, prices for the higher cost storage options will continue to decrease, making the decision to purchase flash less of a challenge to CIOs and IT decision makers. For organizations already working with big data and analytics, the decision may already have been made and any technology that reduces the bottleneck between the application and getting an answer may be well worth the cost.

IBM will be providing a bundled FlashSystem 840 and IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller as a FlashSystem Enterprise Performance Solution that will include some additional data management features.

Availability and pricing for the device has not been announced.

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Bill Oliver has worked in IT as a techie, trainer, manager, and in business roles supporting IT for 20+ years.  For the past 12 years his focus has been on the business side of IT Contracts, Software Licensing, and all things related to IT Purchasing.

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