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.
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 was previously known as IBM Storwize.
Download the IBM FlashSystem Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021
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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.
I have been using this solution for six years.
It is stable.
It is scalable. All projects in my company use the IBM FlashSystem. I am working on high-end storage, not mid-range. I can scale out or scale up. IBM has introduced FlashSystem 9200 to the market in which I can scale SAS disk, NVMe disk, and SSCM disk. I have three options on one box, which are not available with EMC or Pure Storage.
You can also scale out storage in EMC. In Pure Storage, there are issues in scaling. Pure Storage has different boxes like X70, X90, X50, and if I need to scale or upgrade the box, I need to change our controllers. Every Pure Storage box has limited capacity, whereas, for IBM storage, the capacity of the box is not limited.
The response of technical support is good.
I have used NetApp storage and EMC storage. NetApp storage is very poor and bad. EMC is a good competitor of IBM in the market now, and in terms of the number of customers, EMC is number one. User Interface is the main big difference between IBM and EMC. IBM FlashSystem is very easy and friendly comparatively. EMC is very complicated.
EMC is also closed, whereas IBM FlashSystem is very open. It provides a lot of communication over the internet for administrating and implementing the storage. I am working on a customer project that has EMC storage, and the customer daily complains regarding EMC Unity or XtremIO.
IBM is integrated with the different operating systems by a native operating system multipath. EMC works with PowerPath multipath. Until recently, EMC didn't have these features in the box, and you had to pay for a multipath license. In new technology and operating system versions of EMC, a separate multipath license is not required.
The initial setup was very easy.
I implemented it. I have experience of ten years in implementing IBM storage. It is very easy to implement.
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.
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.
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.
The V5000, and the V7000, both are equally good.
Over the years, it has become increasingly user-friendly.
There is always room for improvement, but IBM is less interested in on-premise storage or on-premises solutions going forward.
They're highly focused on the cloud. I don't see IBM being a very major player, the way that they used to be because they are moving away from this and are trying to move all their customers to the cloud.
Nothing really comes to mind for needing improvement. Some years ago, there would have been an answer to what could be better about this product, but nowadays, virtually all of the companies are meeting all of the features.
More and more, we would like to see how it's easier for the solutions to be bought by the customer more on a pay-per-use basis. That is certainly an improvement.
The customer's expectations are what they get on the cloud, they're expecting even in the on-premises deployments, going forward.
They want to pay-per-use and not own and get stuck with what they're buying.
They want flexibility.
IBM does that in a few products, but then more and more you see the business model changing towards that. We'd like to see that in all IBM products.
We have been a services and deployment company for more than 30 years.
We've worked across the board with the various solutions across various vendors.
It's very, very stable, and we have never had issues.
It's extremely scalable. There are no limitations, because of the profile of the customers they work with.
Most of their boxes are highly scalable to meet that requirement and the scaling is pretty straightforward.
There's no rip and replace. It's a very scalable tool.
Previously, I had experience with Hitachi SAN.
The suitability of either solution depends on the use case. If you talk about modular storage virtually from any company, they will have solutions which more or less do the same thing.
There will be a competing model at each bracket of requirements. When you talk about storage hardware, you can't really say which is better, or which is worse.
You can talk about reliability and support, or you can talk about how good it is in a particular geography. But, this is not like Mercedes Benz is a good car and the Fiat is not, it doesn't work like that.
We find the initial setup to be fairly straightforward because we understand the technology.
We do this as service delivery, so we understand that we have trained ourselves in it.
It can take half a day to get the initial things up and running.
In today's world, nothing is reasonable because the customer's budgets are thinking on a daily basis.
They've been much more aggressive in the last five or six years than they were before that.
They are more realistic.
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 requirements, and things like that.
Before the purchase and after the purchase and the deployment, there needs to be quite a bit of involvement. This is why I would advise the customer to work with partners of IBM or Hitachi.
Whoever you're talking about, and who has experience. Not somebody who just comes and says, "I'll do anything, and for the price, I'll give you the best deal."
The best deal is not always the best deal.
Once you buy it and it doesn't work for you, ultimately you are paying more.
I would rate IBM XIV and eight out of ten.
The general use cases depend on the size of a company. I work with the commercial sector, the FlashSystem 5000 and its different models. It suits the small to medium, or SME, companies. The FlashSystem 9200 goes mainly to big enterprises, like banking or governmental sectors. The 7200 plays sometimes in SME and sometimes in bigger enterprises.
One of the most valuable features is that it's very easy to use and configure. It used to be more difficult, but now it's almost flawless.
The pricing could be improved, but I think it's getting better and better with each version.
IBM needs to implement NAS storage again, as this is a big flaw. Dell EMC is very good at this and if you compared them based on NAS storage, Dell EMC would win right away. IBM's solution for NAS storage is very complicated. We don't have a storage box that provides file sharing from itself, we have to put software on it and go through a whole complicated process. It should be simplified.
I have been working with IBM FlashSystem for around seven years.
It's really stable, and many customers have experienced this as well.
It's easy to scale, but it depends on the model. The 5100 is obsolete, but the 5200 has line expansions, up to two controllers, and can scale out both ways. The 7000 and 9000 can scale to 20 expansions and four controllers. It's very scalable, both horizontal and vertical.
I believe the second line and third line are very responsive here. It depends on the customer's warranty level, if it's 9x5—it can't be like 24x7, which is immediately.
IBM has some features that don't exist in other brands. External virtualization, for example—Dell EMC has the same feature, but it's applied differently. IBM's approach is to make it usable in many different scenarios so that the customer can work with multiple vendors under the IBM controller. Dell EMC can't do that. The external virtualization stacks with Dell EMC, and the features stack to every box. If I have a main box with high specs and I virtualize another box with minimum specs, that means I'm stuck with the minimum specs. With IBM, if I'm working with the virtualization engine with higher specs, I get the benefits from these higher specs, even if the virtualized box has minimum specs.
The initial setup is very straightforward and user-friendly. The FlashSystem 5000 can be deployed in around 20 to 30 minutes, but it depends on the number of volumes and the tools we set up afterward. On average, it can be installed and initiated within an hour, including microcode updating. If you calculate from the time I begin unpacking to the time I start to configure volumes, it will not exceed around 45 minutes.
I implemented myself.
The pricing may be a bit higher than other brands. If you compare the IBM FlashSystems in midrange with Dell EMC in midrange, IBM costs a bit more, but I prefer IBM because it has more specs that I can benefit from.
Two years ago, we had all features installed in the midrange box without any need for extra licensing. However, lately we have features like Easy Tier and FlashCopy, which need extra licensing. We can purchase it with the box or afterward, and it's a smooth process.
In my experience, IBM doesn't need maintenance at all. Every year, there is a microcode update to get a new feature or fix a bug, but I know some customers who have had the box for more than five or six years without updating it and it still runs well.
To anyone who's looking into implementing IBM FlashSystem, I would advise you to read the instructions on the box. If you follow the instructions, implementation will be very smooth and easy, even if you're not a professional.
I would rate this product a ten out of ten.
It is block storage. We basically use it for the storage units.
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.
I have been using this solution for 14 to 15 months.
If you set it up correctly, it is very stable. After we configured it correctly, we didn't have any issues. I didn't have any issues after the first week of the configuration.
We haven't scaled it yet, but based on the documentation and specification, it is actually scalable.
I have been in touch with IBM support, and I did it a lot. Normally, they respond within an acceptable time with a sufficiently detailed answer. Around 90% of the time, you will get the answer straight back. In some rare cases, you need to ask them more. You send them a mail asking to clarify something or get more details about how to do a specific task, but normally, they provide a satisfactory answer.
We are a very large bank, and we have a lot of storage devices from multiple vendors. We have devices from Dell EMC, NetApp, and Pure Storage. Every product has its advantages and disadvantages.
If you are targeting functionality, we get the most functionality from IBM FlashSystem, and then from Pure Storage, and then from Dell EMC boxes. If you are targeting performance, then Dell EMC will come first, then IBM FlashSystem, and then Pure Storage. If you are targeting compression deduplication that will generate more capacity, then Pure Storage will come at number one, IBM FlashSystem will come at number two, and Dell EMC will come at number three.
Its initial configuration is difficult. We went through the books and manuals, but we didn't do it correctly. Therefore, we had to start again from scratch. It took two or three attempts to do it correctly.
We implemented it on our own. My team is managing all of the storage devices that we have, and there are six of us. IBM is responsible for its maintenance.
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.
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.
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.
Overall, the product is good.
We've been using it for the last five years, and we haven't had any issues at all.
The power systems are very reliable if you are running 24/7 operations. For ongoing mission-critical applications, it's the best solution.
We have been using the V9000 storage for the last five years. It's been very reliable. It's robust from a redundancy and reliability point of view.
Recently, we deployed SS9100. At the core level that is deployed on that storage, it is not stable. We had an incident not too long ago. Both controllers rebooted simultaneously, within 15 seconds. There was some threshold value defined in the core level, and the system exceeded that threshold value.
We logged the case to IBM. IBM did internal checks, which we deployed. The permanent fix will be available in the first quarter of 2021. It seems to be an issue on IBM's side. Obviously, we were surprised by how both controllers rebooted. We faced downtime on our applications and on our services.
The issue which we had recently faced relates to the core level. It should be first tested at IBM labs and then introduced for general release.
IBM should improve its data reduction development.
Overall, I have 14 years of experience in implementing enterprise solutions, and also managing them. We've been using IBM Flash Storage for the last five years.
While the 9000 series has been robust and reliable, the SS9100 hasn't been so stable. IBM is currently working on a patch that should be out soon to handle the issues we've had.
The solution is quite scalable. A company can expand it if they need to.
We are a financial institution with two million customers. This is the storage we use behind all of our solutions.
While we don't plan to expand usage in the near future, we have recently acquired new storage solutions for an upcoming upgrade.
I have experience with a variety of other solutions. On storage, I have experience with IBM FlashSystem, IBM block storage, Dell EMC, block storage VMAX, VNX5600, and unified storage. Also, I have experience with Huawei storage, like Dorado and OceanStor. I've also worked on HPE Enterprise Virtual Array.
If you're talking about flash storage, we have FlashSystem IBM V9000, SS910091, 9200. On cloud storage, we have VMAX 10K, 20K. On unified storage, we have VNX5600 EMC.
We required a homogenous environment that's end to end. We chose to use IBM.
The initial setup is not overly complex. IBM makes the process very smooth. It's very straightforward and quite easy to accomplish. A company shouldn't have any issues with the setup process.
A company could benefit from bringing on a reseller or consultant. They could help with the process.
When we procure enterprise storage solutions, the license is always be bundled with the deal. There are different licenses for encryption, replication, deduplication, data reduction pools, et cetera, and all should be included in one bundle when we buy a new solution. It's part of that deal.
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.
The solution is primarily a file infrastructure. It contains all the virtual machines for our company.
The solution is still new to us and needs to be explored more.
The documentation is excellent so far.
The solution uses all flash. The connection to the server is a fiber connection. It's very fast.
The possibility of expanding is very good. It offers very good flexibility.
The price point is pretty decent.
The product is user-friendly. The setup process is easy.
We've found the solution to be very stable so far.
We need to spend more time with the solution in order to detect any shortcomings. So far, we haven't really seen any.
The design is a little old-fashioned and could be updated. The rack is very primitive and designed in an older style.
I've only been using the solution for two months. It hasn't been that long just yet. It could be maybe less than that, as we just recently installed it and we decided to go for it about three months back. About one and a half months ago the implementation was completed and we started using it.
The stability of the solution is very good. We haven't detected any bugs or glitches. it doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable.
The solution has the potential to scale quite well. If a company needs to expand it, it can.
However, it is a hardware, and you do need to take scaling into account early on. We can grow with the hardware we have and put on new drives, et cetera.
We have approximately 200 employees, and anyone that's connected to the network, those files are stored on this particular solution. Therefore, even if they aren't aware they are using the product, they, in fact, are.
Personally, I haven't directly dealt with technical support. That said, apparently, it looks like it is quite good. The support is proactive. My system is already connected to IBM tech centers. They can highlight predictive failures, for example. My assumption is that they are quite good, although I can't yet peak from personal experience.
We previously used Dell EqualLogic. We switched, as we had used it for close to six years and it needed to be replaced. Initially, we thought to replace it with another Dell EqualLogic product, however, after comparing different brands, we landed on this.
The initial setup is definitely not complex. It's not difficult. They make it straightforward and user-friendly. A company should have no problems implementing it.
The price is quite good. We find it to be rather reasonable overall. When you compare it to other brands especially, the price is quite good.
We did look at other solutions, including and updated Dell EqualLogic and HPE.
We are just a customer and an end-user.
We are using the latest version of the solution at this point.
I'd recommend the solution. Everything is fiber from start to finish. I don't need to use a fiber switch. It's an expensive component. However, IBM says I don't need it and I can do I direct line from my own source. It's a supported solution. It's very good.
I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten so far.
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.
The solution is very flexible.
It's a very fast product. It's not slow in any way.
The product is very, very easy to configure.
The installation is nice and easy.
The stability of the solution isn't great. We have had a lot of issues with discs over the years.
There should be better integration with utilization platforms.
The pricing needs to be more competitive.
I've basically been using the solution for ten years or so.
It isn't really stable per se. We've had some problems over the years. We experienced some problems with the backplane, from what I recall. There were issues switching the discs. We had a lot of issues with discs. Of course, the problems didn't really happen in production.
We have about 100 users on the solution currently.
We've dealt with technical support in the past and we were satisfied with their level of service. However, we no longer pay for support. We have enough knowledgeable people in house to handle everything.
We are actually in the process of changing solutions. We're going to switch to Lenovo's DE4000.
The initial setup was not complex at all. It's pretty straightforward and easy to handle.
The deployment was very fast as well and may have only taken about a day or two.
We had a team of three that handled everything. They don't just handle the storage, however. They're handling the servers and network as well.
We didn't need to use a consultant when we were implementing the solution. We did everything in-house and with our own internal teams.
We initially paid for licenses and support for I don't remember how many years. Later on, if you want to extend the support you needed to pay for the license. However, due to the fact that we are rather experienced, we decided we didn't need to renew the support.
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.
The IBM FlashSystem is the primary storage for files and data in our organization.
The most valuable features are deduplication and compression, which together, enable you to have more space.
Performance is a major advantage of this storage.
When you add more flash drives or more NVMe, that is the bottleneck or shortcoming with this type of storage. When you fill the first enclosure, you won't be able to add more NVMe until you add more SAS drives.
The security features can be improved such that the encryption does not affect performance in any way.
I have been using IBM FlashSystem for about four years.
The stability is very good.
We have approximately 1,500 people who are directly or indirectly accessing the data that is residing on this storage.
The technical support is pretty good, especially the local team in Pakistan. Normally, the response time is very good.
This is the first flash storage system that we have used. Prior to that, we were using a hybrid Dell EMC storage.
The initial setup is not very difficult. I would say that it is similar to the way other storage systems are set up. I believe that it took one week for our deployment, which included testing.
We have three administrators who take care of the different applications and data that are hosted on this storage. We don't perform maintenance on a daily basis. We may extract some stats for the performance and for evaluating capability. However, when it comes to maintenance, we probably work on it once or twice a month.
Before purchasing this product, I recommend that everyone should do a PoC because there are multiple flash drive systems now available. All storage vendors are now making flash drives because it is a new technology that replaces existing hybrid systems. I would suggest doing some analysis and some R&D because Huawei, for example, is doing well. EMC is also top of the line, with IBM. There are slight differences in features, however, so it is important to do a comparison before making any decision.
I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.