IBM FlashSystem OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

IBM FlashSystem is the #2 ranked solution in our list of top NAS tools. It is most often compared to Pure Storage FlashArray: IBM FlashSystem vs Pure Storage FlashArray

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: September 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."
  • "This is an expensive product and if the price were reduced it would be better."

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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
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
Director Technical at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 20
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: September 2021.
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Storemgr67
Storage Manager at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
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 5
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.
Abdullah Mahmood
Network and System Administrator at TWD Technologies Ltd.
Real User
Top 5
User-friendly with good documentation and the capability to scale

What is our primary use case?

The solution is primarily a file infrastructure. It contains all the virtual machines for our company.

Pros and Cons

  • "We've found the solution to be very stable so far."
  • "The design is a little old-fashioned and could be updated. The rack is very primitive and designed in an older style."

What other advice do I have?

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.
BB
Deputy Chief Technology Officer at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
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.
Usman Rasool
VP - Head Enterprise IT Infrastructure at MIB
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Deduplication and compression afford us more space, but there is a bottleneck when adding more flash drives

What is our primary use case?

The IBM FlashSystem is the primary storage for files and data in our organization.

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are deduplication and compression, which together, enable you to have more space."
  • "The security features can be improved such that the encryption does not affect performance in any way."

What other advice do I have?

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.
PV
Senior System Administrator at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
A stable product with good support for our production system data

What is our primary use case?

We use the FlashSystem to store our company data that is used in production systems.

What is most valuable?

The maintenance service and support from IBM is very good.

What needs improvement?

It could be easier to implement. This is an expensive product and if the price were reduced it would be better.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the IBM FlashSystem for a few years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is absolutely a stable product. However, we will probably not continue to use it in the future. One of the reasons for wanting to switch is the price. Also, technology is evolving and we will probably adopt a hyper-converged solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

…
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Buyer's Guide
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