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Flash Core Modules Shoot Beyond Speed, Density and Cost Barriers

Apr 11, 2019 3:25:21 PM | CIO-CS, Storage, Infrastructure Optimization, High Performance Storage

In IT, we’re always striving for technologies that are faster, smaller, cost less, easier to manage, and more reliable. Occasionally, a new solution comes along that crashes through past barriers.

A revolutionary storage technology, called Flash Core Modules (FCMs), has done just that by providing unprecedented density, speed, and efficiency improvements. Developed by IBM and Intel, IBM’s FlashSystem 9100, V7000 and V5000 solutions are the first FCM-enabled entrants on the market.

Why are FCMs such a huge deal? An FCM is a miniaturized storage system with a 2 ½ inch form factor that includes RAID data protection, encryption, compression, data reduction, and more. See that little pluggable FCM popping out in the photo? You can plug up to 24 FCMs in a 19 x 3 ½ inch rack unit enclosure. That equals the capacity and capabilities of a storage frame weighing 2,800 pounds and using least 30 flash drives.

FCMs deliver eye-popping improvements, such as 6x performance, 8x data reduction, “no performance impact” hardware compression, petabytes of storage in a 1U rack, and 4x resiliency compared to any other previous-generation flash system. Add data center floor space, power, and noise reductions, and simplified management, and you get dramatically lower capex and opex.

Conventional storage enables RAID, compression and other capabilities with microcode running on the controller hardware and in the software, which is a drag on performance. FCMs incorporate these functionalities in the hardware. That is where the speed and efficiency advantages for FCM come into play.

Another big speed factor is the new Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) protocol. In conventional storage, the SCSI-3 protocol runs on top of fiber channel and uses 200 different commands to block data, direct spinning disk heads and platters, and mount, search, and rewind tape drives, and so on. That complexity makes everything slow down. NVMe only has 13 commands, which are written for flash.

IBM guarantees that the FlashSystem 9100 provides a minimum 2xs increase in logical usable storage over physical storage. In other words, you’re getting at least twice as much as you paid for.

Consider that one of our customers was nearly out of space in their nearly 20,000 square foot data center. With 15-20 storage systems from five vendors, the data center was a spaghetti nightmare of switches, cables, and ports. Costs were high with every new port costing $1,000 and a never-ending cycle of code updates, warranty expirations, and disruptive storage refreshes.

Enter FCM and things got a whole lot better. Two rack units and 1.6 petabytes of FCM replaced all storage and freed up thousands of square feet of floor space. Because FCMs consume the power of a few light bulbs, our customer saw an 80% drop in power and cooling costs while feeling good about doing right by the environment. This photo says it all.

There is more goodness about FCM with data availability, simple storage management, and easy, automatic upgrades. Read our FCM eBook to learn more.

At Jeskell, an IBM Platinum Partner, we’ve deployed IBM FlashSystem 9100s and V7000s for 14 projects since they were introduced only a few months ago. It’s safe to say that we likely have more hands-on installation experience than any other systems integrator or reseller.

Are you ready to start capturing the mind-bending improvements of FCMs? Then contact me at 408.666.8200 or russell.schneider@jeskell.com for a complimentary assessment and we’ll get you started. We have the most experienced storage architecture team in the industry backed by finest workload and capacity modeling tools.

 

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Russell T. Schneider

Russ 2

For more information on this topic, contact me below.

Russell Schneider,
Storage Systems Practice Director,
Jeskell Systems, LLC
408.666.8200 or
russell.schneider@jeskell.com

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