IBM FlashSystem Review

Decreased the run time of batch jobs from an hour to minutes but more granularity is needed in the software features.


What is our primary use case?

The product is used as a central storage system. All live and test environment data, except for periodic data backups and centralized log management system data, is stored on the IBM Flash system.

How has it helped my organization?

As a result of the accelerated read and write operations from disks, productivity across the enterprise has increased in daily work.

What is most valuable?

Ability to compress the data at the NVMe disks is valuable as it is off-loading the process from the storage controller units. Hyperswap feature is valuable as it is increasing the availability without an intervention in the server operating system.

What needs improvement?

Deduplication feature is not mature and it is significantly increasing the latency. Additionally, the product has limitations in the software features and granularity. For example, data reduction feature cannot be aligned at the logical unit (LUN) level. It is aligned at the pool level. However, I expect to create some LUNs with deduplication and HW compression while some other LUNs with HW compression only. The other limitation is available at the remote copy feature. You can not create one-to-many scenarious for the LUNs which is created as the Hyperswap LUN.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for three months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product has been stable for the last three months.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable enough.

How are customer service and technical support?

We recently contacted the technical support and received prompt response. IBM Company has a strong customer service and support organization in my country.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

This is the first time we are using a Flash System. In the past, we were using traditional hard disk drive (SAS and SATA) storage systems. We needed to increase the capacity and didn't want to invest in an old technology and slower systems.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was really straightforward. It was not complex. Initial setup, data migration from the old products and the remote copy synchronization between Primary DC and DRC was completed in one month period.

What about the implementation team?

We worked together with a local partner of IBM for the setup of the product. They showed satisfactory performance. Data migration was achieved by our own team.

What was our ROI?

We didn't buy the product for any specific purpose like increasing the number of such transactions for completing more deal in a day. Therefore, I am not sure how can I say the ROI is but it was pretty big investment for us.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Licensing is very straight forward for IBM Flash System and the warranty includes highest level of support conditions. The initial setup was very easy and smooth. The cost was higher than some other competitors.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We chose this solution among 6 solutions from different vendors. Local support organization, performance test results, cost and the technology of the product were the key parameters in the comparison.

What other advice do I have?

Almost all vendors are offering data reduction functionalities (deduplication, compression, thin provisioning etc.) in their newest products. Reduction techniques are offering up to 10 times reduction in data but this ratio is not more than 2 or 3 in real life for mixed type of data. Therefore, customers should test the products with their real and different type of data to measure the reduction rates properly.

Otherwise, vendors may offer smaller sizes in their proposal and there might be conflict in between two parties after setup of the product in the live environment.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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