IBM 2010 Oct 07 Announces Their Storwize V7000 Storage System

In IBM, SAN Volume Controller (SVC), Storwize V7000, Tivoli Storage Productivity Center by Administrator

IBM recently announced a new storage subsystem the Storwize V7000, which takes some of the DS8000, SAN Volume Controller (SVC) and XIV and combines them into one low-cost, highly compact storage solution.

Storwize V7000 Storage Subsystem

First, about the branding, IBM wanted something to signify storage intelligence and now that they own the Storwize brand they plan to use that nomenclature for this storage subsystem.  The V7000 does not contain any of the acquired company’s storage compression functionality, which IBM will rebrand as their Real-time Compression Appliance.

IBM’s new mid-range subsystem, the Storwize V7000 blends advanced functionality like Easy Tier and RAID from DS8000, storage virtualization from SVC and user interface from XIV into a highly compact storage subsystem.  The base Storwize V7000 subsystem comes in a 2U enclosure that contains up to 12-3.5” or 24-2.5” SAS connected drives and dual storage controllers.  At general availability, this base subsystem can be expanded by adding up to 4 more 2U drive bays (with 24-2.5” or 12-3.5” drives only) but a follow on release is planned which increases this to a maximum of 9 drive bays for a total of 10 sets of drives attached to the controllers.  The two storage controllers come equipped with 8-8Gbps FC ports and 4-1GigE iSCSI ports as well as 16GB of cache standard.

The Storwize V7000 drive support consists of 300GB-, 450GB- or 600GB-2.5” disk drives, 2TB-3.5” disk drives or 300GB STEC SSDs.  Interestingly, drives can be purchased in increments of one.  When fully configured with the base enclosure and 4 drive bays, the GA subsystem can support up to 120TB of raw storage.

The controller software is based on IBM’s very popular SVC storage virtualization system and includes all the advanced functionality of that system, e.g., thin provisioning and flash copy.  In addition, the Storwize V7000 contains Easy Tier automated storage tiering functionality originally available only on IBM’s DS8000 storage subsystem.

As the storage virtualization capabilities of the Storwize V7000 are based on IBM’s current SVC storage system, just about any heterogeneous storage subsystem can be FC connected to the Storwize V7000 and be managed as a single pool of storage. As such, any of the Storwize V7000 advanced functionality can be provided to any of its external storage as well as internal storage.

The Storwize V7000’s storage management has been designed to mimic the XIV GUI that has been well received by the customer community.  This new administration panels are very graphically oriented and hides much of the subsystem complexity behind judicious use of system defaults. Consequently, an administrator can deploy a out-of-the-box subsystem in 10 clicks and can configure a new volume in 6 clicks.

In addition to the onboard storage management, the Storwize V7000 can be purchased with a new, lightweight version of IBM’s Tivoli Storage Productivity Center (TPC) to administer the SAN as well as Storwize V7000 storage.  Also, IBM’s Systems Director can be purchased with a new TPC plug-in that allows a single administrator to configure and manage from servers to Storwize V7000 storage with only one pane of glass. If needed, one can still purchase the full TPC in addition to Systems Director for even more administrative capability.

At announcement, IBM provided some impressive performance numbers with the base Storwize V7000.  The base subsystem can sustain over 950K cache read hits/second.  For non-cache operations, using internal storage only, the Storwize V7000 can perform about 80K disk reads or 24K disk writes per second (presumably, with a fully populated backend).

Also, IBM has gone to a bundled pricing model that includes the base system, the storage controllers/drive enclosure, all the storage functionality except Metro Mirror, Global Mirror and “full time” storage virtualization all of which can be purchased separately.  However, if one only needs virtualization to migrate data from other storage to the Storwize V7000, this transient use of storage virtualization can be had free of charge.

Announcement significance

When asked about how the Storwize V7000 fits within their current storage line up, IBM said they will continue to sell and enhance their DS3000 and DS5000 subsystems but over time those users should migrate to their new Storwize V7000.  In contrast, the Storwize V7000 and XIV seem to overlap and provide similar customer value using completely different architectures but both will coexist and be enhanced for the foreseeable future.  Finally, IBM’s current SVC will be re-targeted towards the higher end, enterprise customer.

The Storwize V7000’s high performance, compact size and advanced storage features make it a formidable mid-range storage subsystem.  A base 2U high storage subsystem with 24TB of SAS connected storage that can handle almost a million cache reads per second with optional storage virtualization seems almost like enterprise storage masquerading as a mid-range subsystem.

A PDF version of this can be found at

IBM 2010 Oct 07 announcement of Storwize V7000 Storage System

Silverton Consulting, Inc. is a Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting services company, based in the USA offering products and services to the data storage community