IBM FlashSystem Overview

IBM FlashSystem is the #2 ranked solution in our list of top NAS tools. It is most often compared to Dell EMC Unity XT: IBM FlashSystem vs Dell EMC Unity XT

What is IBM FlashSystem?

IBM FlashSystem products are enterprise computer data storage systems that store data on flash memory chips. Unlike storage systems that use standard solid-state drives, IBM FlashSystem products incorporate custom hardware based on technology from the 2012 acquisition of Texas Memory Systems. This hardware provides performance, reliability, and efficiency benefits versus competitive offerings.

IBM FlashSystem is also known as IBM Storwize.

IBM FlashSystem Buyer's Guide

Download the IBM FlashSystem Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: April 2021

IBM FlashSystem Customers

Celero, Friedhelm Loh Group, Clarks, Mingkang Natregro Health Food Group, Sofia, Etisalat Fights Fraud, UF Health Shands Hospital, Generali, Elecon Engineering Company Limited, Ventiv , Technology, CPFL Energia, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., SciQuest, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Paddy Power, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Interconnect Services, Severstal

IP-Only AB, PVU Group GmbH

IBM FlashSystem Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about IBM FlashSystem pricing:
  • "The integration is already included in the license cost of IBM FlashSystem. The integration is very easy. You get the IBM storage core with all software, firmware, and upgrades. EMC provides the features in the box, but they are not free for customers. There is a licensing cost for features. We have yearly licensing, but IBM has also provided a new option where you pay as you go. They provide a big box, and I pay, for example, for 10 terabytes. If I exceed 10 terabytes, IBM will charge for the new storage after 10 terabytes. It is a good opportunity in the market for using the storage as a cloud and paying as you go."
  • "They've been much more aggressive in the last five, six years than they were before that."
  • "Among IBM, Dell EMC, and Pure Storage, IBM is the cheapest. The price is also based on our location, the size of our entity, and our regular annual purchases from them. We are a very big IBM customer, so we normally get very high discounts. We are not a big customer of Pure Storage. We don't buy that much from Pure Storage per year. Everything is included in the price. There is no extra license for different functions."
  • "For a yearly license, it is about $100,000. There are no additional costs. The entire system is included."

IBM FlashSystem Reviews

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Ahmed Zaki
Infrastructure Architect Supervisor; Solution Delivery Supervisor at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Nov 2, 2020
Simple licensing, good performance, and easy to use and administer

Pros and Cons

  • "Most of the features for the reduction in data compression are useful. It is also very easy to use and administer. Its performance is also good."
  • "They can include Amazon file system S3 protocol in the upcoming releases. It is a cloud file system. IBM FlashSystem doesn't have this feature in the box for high-end or mid-range. We have got requests for this from customers because we need to use S3 for EDI application storage. At the beginning of every year, IBM releases firmware. When I find any bugs in the firmware during the year, I am unable to find any information from IBM regarding the bug. I need to open a ticket, and the IBM engineering team makes a patch only for me. This patch is not public. By creating a customized patch for a client, they don't really solve the issue for everyone. If multiple users have the same bug, IBM should upload the patch on the official website so that we can download it. IBM FlashSystem has a monitoring tool in the box, but it is not advanced. I need a more advanced tool for more advanced equations and monitoring. All top three storage vendors, that is, EMC, IBM, and Pure Storage, don't have a powerful monitoring tool. To monitor our box to show the statistics for I/Os and latency, I need to pay for extra software. The built-in monitoring storage is not mature enough to handle all requests and generate all reports that I need. They can include the functionality to stretch a cluster natively without using any additional boxes. In addition, there are some features that EMC has integrated with the box. These features are not available in IBM FlashSystem."

What other advice do I have?

I work only on high-end storage. Before recommending a solution, I need to know about the workload, that is, application workload, backup workload, and database workload. IBM provides a free workload script that can be applied to any environment, such as Windows, Unix, or Linux. I need to see the I/O performance, and after which, I can provide the best solution for a customer from Pure Storage, EMC, or IBM. I would rate IBM FlashSystem a nine out of ten.
KV
reviewer1081236
Director Technical at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 10
Nov 17, 2020
Reliable protection that is easy to scale with no limitations

What is our primary use case?

We are solution providers. We deploy solutions around VMware. Typically we deploy data protection, and disaster recovery of workloads in the cloud, and on-premises. If I need to know about a platform or the base platform on which I'm working, I try to read up on their model. We are also storage integrators and solution providers. The primary use case is for storage, enterprise workloads, and databases.

Pros and Cons

  • "Over the years, it has become increasingly user-friendly."
  • "The customer's expectations are what they get on the cloud, they're expecting even in the on-premises deployments, going forward."

What other advice do I have?

My basic advice is to work with partners who really understand what they're talking about. Anybody who sells one of these boxes doesn't necessarily have the capability to supply or support them. Be very clear that you're dealing with organizations that have the experience to actually deploy and support you. That would be what is critical. Because it's not something that we just rack it up and switch it on and it works. There are many things involved. Also, initially, before purchasing, the sizing is very critical. There has to be enough time spent on performance metrics, analyzing the workload…
Learn what your peers think about IBM FlashSystem. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: April 2021.
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Ajai Jayakumar
Solution Architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Aug 16, 2019
A scalable, stable solution that offers very good performance

Pros and Cons

  • "The performance of the All-Flash System is very good. There is more enhanced performance and data production in the solution, which I appreciate."
  • "The solution is not easy to implement. It takes a lot of time to study the product and it's a little complicated in general."

What other advice do I have?

We use the on-premises deployment model of the solution. In terms of advice, I would give to others, I would say that you need to have the proper training for the solution. You need to train your staff on this product because it's not a straightforward implementation or a straightforward product, so you need to have some knowledge about the storage and how it works. Then plan and size your infrastructure prior to your deployment. We planned for five years in advance, and we are happy with the solution because we did our homework prior to implementation. I would rate this solution eight out of…
Storemgr67
Storage Manager at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Dec 22, 2020
Good compression and deduplication features, good price, and stable

What is our primary use case?

It is block storage. We basically use it for the storage units.

Pros and Cons

  • "The compression and deduplication features are the most valuable."
  • "They can improve its initial configuration. The initial configuration is currently very difficult. There are multiple choices or alternative ways to configure based on the use case and what you are targeting out of the device, that is, more capacity or more performance. These multiple alternatives cause a lot of confusion. They should increase the processing part of the nodes. Currently, you can cluster up to eight nodes. From my experience and the workload that I am facing in my environment currently, I would like to see either a bigger or stronger node or a larger number of nodes that can be clustered together. We formally communicated to them that we need to see either this or that, and they are working on something."

What other advice do I have?

I would advise others to get somebody to do it for you. Don't do it yourself, or read the book carefully. Our implementation was complicated, so we ended up doing it multiple times. Other colleagues I know in other institutes have much smaller systems than the one we bought. They implemented it in four hours. So, for complex and big implementations, either get an expert to do it for you or read the documentation multiple times before you start, which we didn't. I would rate IBM FlashSystem an eight out of ten.
Ghulam Mustafa
BT Area Champion/Trainer at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Feb 21, 2021
Reliable and robust with good scalability

What is our primary use case?

We are living in IBM FlashSystem. We have more than eight flash storage devices deployed in our environment for different kinds of workloads such as applications, core systems, core banking applications, et cetera.

Pros and Cons

  • "The power systems are very reliable if you are running 24/7 operations. For ongoing mission-critical applications, it's the best solution."
  • "IBM should improve its data reduction development."

What other advice do I have?

We are a customer and end-user. We are using the V9000, and currently, we have deployed SS9100. This is a financial Institute. As per regulatory compliance, we cannot share our customer data. We keep our confidential customer data on the cloud that is deployed on-premises. Overall, we have been happy with the solution. I would rate it at a nine out of ten.
Gokhan Aricioglu
IT Manager at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
Jul 19, 2019
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.

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup was really straightforward. It was not complex. Deployment took one month, due to the data migration duration."
  • "The solution is not able to replicate data in one-to-many scenario."

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.
BB
reviewer1480077
Deputy Chief Technology Officer at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 10
Jan 10, 2021
Flexible and easy to configure but not very stable

What is our primary use case?

The solution is like a storage device that is for our old organized cloud infrastructure. We are using it as storage for all our databases, for the data we are preparing for in developing our own applications, or for running some infrastructure services.

Pros and Cons

  • "The installation is nice and easy."
  • "The pricing needs to be more competitive."

What other advice do I have?

Currently, on the market, I see a lot of different vendors who are offering the same functionalities or even better options for the same or less money. They should try to be more competitive. Overall, I would rate the solution at a six out of ten. If it was less expensive and a bit more stable, I would likely rate it higher.
Storemgr67
Storage Manager at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Sep 16, 2019
Good deduplication features and stability

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case of this solution is deduplication.

Pros and Cons

  • "The feature I find most valuable, is the deduplication, because the nature of the data that we are using in our current environment, has a lot of replicated data."
  • "I would like to see an improvement in the handling of large amounts of rights."

What other advice do I have?

My advice to others would be to go for the big one, the A9000. It is a little bit more expensive but it offers a better total cost of ownership. In the next version, I would like to see external virtualization. We are currently using LVC for external virtualization, and then we are using the boxes under LVC. If IBM embeds the LVC feature inside the box, I will only need to use the box and then virtualize the smaller boxes behind it. It will simplify my issues. I rate this solution a nine out of ten.
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Buyer's Guide
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