IBM System Storage DS8000 Series Review

Some of the features are global mirror and replication for DR.


What is most valuable?

The most valuable features for us are the box itself, the controller, and the DS 8800s. You are able to store more data on them. They have the neat little features that we use these days. These are global mirror and replication for DR, which allow us to do a lot of DR testing.

We do monthly DR testing. So they're very, very fast. So there are fewer footprints, which mean that fewer boxes are needed. These boxes can actually hold much more than the others.

How has it helped my organization?

You have fewer boxes to maintain. The throughput increases, and the features are the same, just better.

What needs improvement?

When it comes to the 8800s, other than capacity and speed and then, of course, continuing to use the same features that they have today. It's important to have replications. It's important to have flash copy. Those are things that are required to improve upon.

These days, every company needs a disaster recovery plan. If they are in trouble, these boxes, these controllers, the 8800, allow you to provide this plan in different flavors.

There are different types of replication, depending on your company's needs. Nowadays, a financial company, actually any large company, has to have these types of boxes with these capabilities so they can do disaster recovery.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't encountered any issues with stability. So far, so good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to work with and to configure. On the mainframe side, once you're configured everything, it is straight up. On the open system side, it's a little different. At least from the mainframe perspective, it's easy.

How is customer service and technical support?

Regarding technical support, the boxes are new, but the only thing that we've had to do, was in the DDMs. These are the disk drives that go bad from time to time. That's something that's normal. It doesn't hurt anything, because the way the box is designed is that if one of them fails, it has spares. It tells us, "This has failed", it calls IBM and IBM comes and replaces them. It's all pretty much automatic.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We didn't have a previous solution. It's like anything, in that hardware gets improved. We were using 8800s and the 8870s. Now we just went into the 8886s. Again, hardware changes and we had to change with it.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. Actually, I designed the setup when it comes to how it's going to be implemented in our shop. I then worked with an IBM representative to double-check everything and to help me CARP, i.e., what we call "configuring the box to our needs".

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I don't know about alternative solutions considered. I don't do procurement. We're pretty much an IBM shop, so everything in there is IBM.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise them to look into it. See if it matches what they want to do. Most vendors provide these features. If they want to sell their boxes, then they have to have these features. Otherwise, why would you want a box that doesn't have the features that you need for disaster recovery? Other vendors offer similar features, but this is the one we chose.

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