IBM announces new FlashSystem family, new SVC hardware and other enhancements

In FlashSystem, FlashSystem 5100-5030-5010, FlashSystem 7200, FlashSystem 9200, SAN Volume Controller (SVC), Spectrum Discover, Spectrum Protect Plus, Spectrum Scale by AdministratorLeave a Comment

IBM® recently announced a broadening of their FlashSystem storage systems, enhanced media and hardware for FlashSystem storage, new SAN Volume Controller engines and updates to Spectrum Scale, Spectrum Discover and Spectrum Protect Plus software.

New FlashSystem Product Family

IBM has added Storwize storage systems to the FlashSystem lineup, including the Storwize V5010E, V5030, V5100 and V7200 which will now be known as FlashSystem 5010, 5030, 5100 and 7200 storage. All these systems have at their heart Spectrum Virtualize storage software which is exactly the same as the high-end enterprise FlashSystem storage. Both the FlashSystem 5100 and 7200 have new media options which include FlashCore Modules (FCM), storage class media (SCM) and new NVMe SSD media. 

In addition, the high-end enterprise FlashSystem 9150 storage has been updated with new hardware, larger cache (up to 1.5TB) with new FCM, SCM and NVMe SSD storage media and is being offered as the FlashSystem 9200. 

The FlashSystem 5100, 7200 and 9200 support 16 or 32Gbps FC/NVMeoF host protocols as well as 25Gbps Ethernet iSER using RoCE or iWARP for use with the new media. 

Any of the new media can be used to directly host LUN or volume data storage. Alternatively, just like any other media in Spectrum Virtualize systems, the new media can be automatically managed in a pool of up to 3 different media types by Easy Tier automated storage tiering. 

The new SCM storage comes from two vendors, Intel with 375GB or 750GB drives or Samsung with 800GB or 1.6TM drives. SCM is a new industry leading storage technology which has been specifically designed to support extremely low NVMeoF IO latencies, high IOP performance and the highest media endurance.   

FCM storage is an IBM designed, proprietary NAND based storage device and comes with hardware data compression and data-at-rest encryption. IBM FCM media is available in 4.8TB, 9.6TB, 19.2TB, and a new, 38.4TB capacity drive

The FlashSystem 7200 offers up to 2.4M IOPS per system or 9.2M IOPS per cluster and up to 35 GB per sec per system or 140GB per sec of data bandwidth per cluster.  The new FlashSystem 9200 can provide up to 4.5M IOPS per system or 18M IOPS per cluster with 45GB per second per system or 180GB per second of data bandwidth per cluster. FlashSystem 5100, 7200 and 9200 all offer a latency as low as 70 µsec using NVMeoF with FCM storage. 

New SAN Volume Controllers

IBM has also introduced new SAN Volume Controller (SVC) engines, specifically the SVC SV2 high-performance engine and SVC SA2 entry engineThe new systems support faster hardware and IO to support higher performing external storage. The new engines are compatible with the older SVC SA1 and SVC SV1 engines in the same cluster so they  can be used to non-disruptively update cluster controller hardware. The new engines also support 32Gbps FC/NVMeoF.

Enhanced Spectrum Scale, Discover and Protect Plus software

Spectrum Scale now offers support for the ESS 3000 AFA announced last year, which with just 3 systems, in 6U, can scale up to 1.5PB and 120GB per second of IO bandwidth. 

Spectrum Discover is a metadata management and visibility solution for unstructured data. Spectrum Discover has added support for Spectrum Protect as a data source to understand your unstructured data protection environment.

Spectrum Protect Plus now supports backing up container persistent volumes residing on CEPH volumes. Now CEPH container data can be backed up along with your more traditional bare metal and virtualized storage environments. 


We always like to see high end storage being updated with new hardware and providing ever more IO performance. The availability and use of the new FCMs and SCM drives add functionality and higher IO performance to the high-end FlashSystems storage. 

The new SVC engines also offer more IO performance, both at the entry and at the high-performance engine level. The updates to the Spectrum Scale to support the ESS AFA is another great update to increase file performance in a dense but scalable solution. 

The new Spectrum Protect Plus support for containerized storage is a step in the right direction but there is more needed here. And adding Spectrum Protect to the Spectrum Discover unstructured information management and visibility provides much needed visibility into data protection storage.

[This storage announcement dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in February of 2020.  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. ]   

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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