IBM announces new FlashSystem 9100 storage & Spectrum solutions

In 9100, Spectrum Connect, Spectrum Copy Data Management, Spectrum Insights, Spectrum Protect Plus, Spectrum Virtualize by AdministratorLeave a Comment

IBM® recently announced new FlashSystem® 9100 storage systems based on FlashSystem IBM FlashCore™ technology and NVMe SSDs.

New IBM FlashSystem 9100 Storage Systems

IBM FlashSystem 9100 is an all new FlashSystem with new NVMe FlashCore modules (FCMs) that also supports NVMe SSDs. The new storage systems support IBM Spectrum Virtualize™ data services and come in a 2U base configuration that includes on board, 24 NVMe SSDs or NVMe FCMs with an option to add SAS attached SSD storage shelfs.

The new NVMe FCMs offer hardware compression plus encryption and come in a new 2.5” Small Form Factor (SFF) configuration with 4.8TB, 9.6TB or 19.2TB of flash capacity. The new FCMs include all the FlashCore technology of the previous generation FCMs. The SFF NVMe SSDs are industry standard SSDs and come in 1.92TB, 3.84TB 7.68TB or 15.36TB of flash capacity. NVMe SSDs and FCMs can be intermixed within the base appliance. Moreover, with the option to add expansion storage shelves to the FlashSystem 9100, system capacity can be expanded considerably.

There are two systems in the FlashSystem 9100 family:

  • IBM FlashSystem 9110supports dual 8-core Intel Skylake CPUs per canister, and
  • IBM FlashSystem 9150supports dual 14-core Intel Skylake CPUs per canister.

Both systems have the same advanced storage functionality and support the same maximum 460TB (24 19.2TB FCMs) capacity and response times but because of its higher performing processors, the 9150 will perform more IO than the 9110.

The FlashSystem 9150 with FCMs was able to demonstrate 34 GB/sec of throughput with 2.5M IOPS at 100 msec response times. Spectrum Virtualize is a clustered storage system and as such, one can configure up to 4 FlashSystem 9150s in a single storage system that would provide 10M IOPS.

Also, FlashSystem 9100 is NVMeoF (FC and Ethernet) ready. When the specifications are finalized, FlashSystem 9100 won’t need any hardware upgrades to support NVMeoF.

Spectrum Virtualize also recently introduced deduplication which can be used to multiply the effective capacity of FlashSystem 9100 storage. Further, Spectrum Virtualize supports Easy Tier automated storage tiering and external storage. This means that customers can configure their old storage behind FlashSystem 9100 and gain many of the benefits of higher performance and the latest in advanced data services but still use old storage capacity.

There are many other features of Spectrum Virtualize worth looking into and it’s running over 100K storage systems in the field. So, it’s rock solid.

IBM Spectrum Storage™ software bundled with FlashSystem 9100

With FlashSystem 9100, IBM has bundled additional Spectrum software, including

  • Spectrum Insights– which uses an AI enabled, cloud-based SaaS system so clients can visualize & understand storage capacity and performance trends and expedite resolution for support calls.
  • Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud – which allows customers to migrate data and workloads from on premises to the cloud and back again. Today this only works for IBM Cloud, but plans are to support other public clouds soon.
  • Spectrum Copy Data Management – which offers a simple way to create and manage copies of data while enabling controlled self-service for test/dev and other users to use snapshots for secondary use cases.
  • Spectrum Protect Plus – which provides data backup and recovery for FlashSystem 9100 storage, tailor made for smaller, virtualized data centers.
  • Spectrum Connect – which allows Docker and Kubernetes container apps to access persistent storage on FlashSystem 9100.

Also announced were three new multi-cloud solution blueprints, data reuse, protection & efficiency, business continuity & data reuse, and private cloud flexibility & protection, all based on FlashSystem 9100 and its bundled software. IBM created and validated these solution blueprints to help ease client adoption of the new, multi-cloud world.


With data reduction that includes dedupe and compression the FlashSystem 9100 is a 2PB midrange system in 2U configuration with 2.5M IOPS of FCM performance or 32PB in a single rack with 10M IOPS and all the functionality of Spectrum Virtualize. It’s quite a competitive offering from IBM for this space.

Bundling all the other software speaks to the market requirements and enables midrange customers to grow infrastructure to meet demands for a multi-cloud world. And it just about covers any and all software you would want or need with your storage systems.

IBM continues to double down on FlashSystem storage. And now with 2.5” FCM they have made the transition to media they can bring out in a lot more storage systems. It will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

[This storage announcement dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in July of 2018.  If you would like to receive this information via email please consider signing up for our free monthly newsletter (see subscription request, above right) and we will send our current issue along with download instructions for this and other reports. Dispatches are posted to our website at least a quarter or more after they are sent to our subscribers. Also we have recently updated (May 2019) our SAN Storage Buying Guide so if you are interested in purchasing block or file primary storage, please checkout any of our Buying Guides available for sale on our website. ]  

Silverton Consulting, Inc., is a U.S.-based Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting firm offering products and services to the data storage community

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