IBM announces ESS 5000, enhanced COS and new Spectrum Discovery

In Cloud Object Storage, Elastic Storage System, IBM, Spectrum Discover by AdministratorLeave a Comment

IBM® recently announced a new ESS 5000 storage appliance, an update to their Cloud Object Storage (COS) and new Spectrum Discover functionality.

New Elastic Storage System (ESS) 5000

The ESS 3000 2u appliance was just announced last fall and now IBM has revealed a new ESS 5000 with more capacity options for scale up storage. All ESS systems use Spectrum Scale software that provides scale out storage options for massive unstructured data repositories. Indeed, Spectrum Scale supports many of the largest HPC installations around the world. Customers can add ESS 5000 to other ESS 5000 and 3000 appliances, in a single storage cluster, to suit performance and capacity requirements for just about any environment, even up to YB scale repositories

The ESS 5000 incorporates two new data dense, storage models:

• ESS 5000 SL, comes with 1 to 6 drive enclosures, having up to 92 drives each, supplying from 552TB to 8.8PB of usable capacity or ~220TB/u in a single node. Drive options include 6TB, 10TB, 14TB or 16TB in physical capacity.
• ESS 5000 SC, comes with 1 to 8 drive enclosures, having up to 106 drives each, supplying from 1PB to 13.5PB of usable capacity or ~338TB/u in a single node. Drive options include 10TB, 14TB or 16TB in physical capacity.

Both models come with two new IBM Power9 servers and one IBM Power9 ESS Management node per cluster. ESS cluster interconnects include 10, 40 and 100GbE as well as 56 and 100Gbps InfiniBand. For data protection, the ESS 5000 provides (8D+2P or 8D+3P) erasure coding and 3-way or 4-way mirroring, in any combination.

The new ESS 5000 can be set up in a matter of minutes using pre-configured systems. And the ESS 5000 supplies up to 55GB/sec of performance per node.

Cloud Object Storage (COS) enhancements

COS has been reimplemented for faster (object) data access. Moreover, COS now supports SMR (shingled magnetic recording) drives. Although SMR drives are inexpensive ($/GB) and offer higher capacity per drive, they have slower performance than conventional disk drives. But COS’s new faster data access can help compensate for SMR drive performance.

COS can now provide up to 55GB/s of data throughput per 12 nodes. This has improved write performance by up to 150% and read performance by up to 150%, depending on object size.

New Spectrum Discover functionality

Spectrum Discover, with its advanced meta data gathering and analysis tools will offer an improved policy engine, later this year. Recently, Spectrum Scale AFM (active file management) caching layer, which can provide a single namespace across geo-distributed, Spectrum Scale clusters, has added object storage as a new tier.

Spectrum Discover has also added support for new industry standard data movers, such as Moonwalk to improve data transfers. Moreover, Discover now supports unstructured data discovery services for RedHat OpenShift clusters.

With the upcoming Spectrum Discover policy engine improvements, new data movers and AFM enhancements, customers can pre-stage object data into Spectrum Scale storage clusters for AI application access. IBM calls this new combined Spectrum Scale-AFM-COS-Spectrum Discover functionality, Active AI Acceleration.


The new ESS 5000, super dense, high performance, scale up appliance is a great addition to the ESS storage family. And as both the ESS 3000 and 5000 use Spectrum Scale software, they can be clustered together with any other Spectrum Scale nodes to support up to YB sized name spaces.

COS updates bring higher object storage performance while at the same time allow the inclusion of less expensive, SMR drives into COS clusters.

Spectrum Discover’s upcoming policy engine improvements together with its support for new data movement engines and Spectrum Scale AFM object storage tier support will enable a new capability that ensures your AI data pipeline never goes empty. As such, those expensive, high performing FPGA, TPUs/IPUs and GPUs should never have to wait for data again.

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

This storage announcement dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in July 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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