IBM FlashSystem Overview

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: June 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

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ST
Senior System & Storage Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
SRM, Highly Scalable, multivendor backend storage support, Easy Migration Path

What is our primary use case?

In a bank.
FS
Project Manager at Insirio S.p.A.
Real User
Storage virtualization simplifies space management

What is our primary use case?

Storage virtualization. Two Storwize V7000 systems in a cluster configuration serve about 500 servers (physical and virtual).

How has it helped my organization?

Storage virtualization simplifies space management.  Thin provisioning saves space. Copy services simplify environment replication.

What is most valuable?

Virtualization, because it abstracts hardware and allows to use other storages (old DS series) as unique storage spaces.

What needs improvement?

The cluster should be improved because non-disruptive failover was supported only on a few operating systems.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.
Learn what your peers think about IBM FlashSystem. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2021.
509,641 professionals have used our research since 2012.
COO at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Reseller
Virtualization significantly decreases the data migration time

What is our primary use case?

We usually use Storwize for SMB customers, when they need small but reliable storage and fast response times. The performance is great.

Pros and Cons

  • "They have a virtualization feature and, even if you do not want to buy that feature, you can have it as a trial for two to three months. If you have another brand of storage from another company, you can use this tool to transfer all your data from the old system to the new Storwize system, which really shortens the migration time."
  • "I have looked at a few pages of a report I download and I saw a graph there regarding software-defined vendors. IBM is not in a good position on this graph. I know that they are working very hard on this, to make it much better and to get to a level where it's not only hardware but also software to provide a complete solution."

What other advice do I have?

IBM is really open and available to those who want to find out what kinds of solutions will fit their needs. More than that, if it becomes more serious, with potential, IBM can provide you almost everything you need to see in its labs, to show you that the numbers they talk about are not only on paper but in real life. They are real and they can get to these performance levels. IBM does a lot of customer setups in their labs and they invite the potential customers in and show them. But it's not for everyone. When we have a real potential customer and they demand it, that's what we do for them…
Diretor de TI at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Stable storage but other solutions have more features

What is our primary use case?

I use it for virtualization and databases.

What is most valuable?

It is simple but stable storage. I use the Snapshot feature.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Excellent.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have never used technical support for this solution. I haven't needed support.

How was the initial setup?

I did the initial setup based on the documentation it came with. It was very simple.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I looked at Dell and HPE solutions. I probably wouldn't buy a 3PAR but it does have more features than Storewize.

What other advice do I

Storage Administrator at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Consistently delivers performance below 1ms for read/write

What is our primary use case?

We are using the IBM FlashSystem 900 in a tiered storage environment virtualized behind the IBM SAN Volume Controller in a stretched-cluster topology.

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial customer technical support was efficient and effective."
  • "The performance monitoring feature is useful as it can report in 15 minute intervals by hour, day, week, month, or by a custom date range."
  • "The FlashSystem 900 consistently delivers performance below 1ms for read/write. This performance is essential for an effective SVC stretch-cluster configuration across two datacenters, and presenting active-active storage to the customer."
  • "Include an option to upload the support package to the IBM ECuRep when opening an IBM PMR."
Senior Systems Engineer & Support Contracts Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Virtualization and Data Migration help make management of IT environment easier

What is our primary use case?

Using IBM storwize V7000 as storage to be used in daily operation as well using the virtualization capability along with doing data migrations of old storage data.

Pros and Cons

  • "High availability and enhanced security; Proven dependability; Data compression with hardware acceleration; Advanced copy services features are all in this product."
  • "GUI interface should be enhanced more as there is some issues in copy services."

What other advice do I have?

I advise everyone to have a look at their current use of storage and think of single management and live migrations of their data, and how they will save money instead of having multiple vendors to reinstall and migrate data.
RP
Senior Technology Engineer at a consultancy with 10,001+ employees
Real User
We use this product for a variety of the applications and databases.

Pros and Cons

  • "The GUI is very easy and performance is also good."
  • "Replication features need improvement. Currently, they are there in the product, but I'm not sure as to how it works exactly."

What other advice do I have?

You can use this product for your applications, databases or for whatever other solutions that you have. Cost and performance are the two things that we consider while selecting a vendor.
Systems Integration Expert & IT Consultant at a tech services company
Consultant
Initial setup is pretty straightforward with a nice GUI

Pros and Cons

  • "Virtualization of external storage, while adding cache and speed to the external storage."
  • "Events/log analysis tools."

What other advice do I have?

Get the control box first, without any expansion boxes, and make sure you add at least three SSD drives, because this system has an auto tiering option. Thus, your frequently used data will be automatically placed on SSDs and be accessed faster by hosts. Data for shared folders, which is not so important, you can keep on older storages virtualized by the V7000, or put on bigger, cheaper, and slower disks.
Gestor de Capacidad at a logistics company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Versatile, reliable, performs well and makes admin simple

What other advice do I have?

If you are going to go with a V7000, you will not regret it. Be sure to clarify what you need, and it will give you the expected results.
Senior Systems Consultant at a tech services company
Consultant
One screen to control multiple arrays means simplified administration

Pros and Cons

  • "Ability to manage third-party arrays and virtualise them: One screen to control multiple arrays. Simplified administration."
  • "One area for improvement is in the GUI, where host clusters are not properly dealt with. With Hypervisor host clusters, all hosts must see the same volumes in the same order. Using the concept of a “host-group” has been around (even with IBM) for many years, so why not with the V7000?"

What other advice do I have?

* Download the IBM Redbook on best practices to implement. * Engage IBM support or your integration partner/reseller at a detailed level. * Know what you want to do and document your requirements. * Investigate upgrade costs and five-year maintenance options.
System Administrator at Dhaka Bank Limited
Real User
Back end command line interface is very comfortable for scripting, though needs improvement in number of disk shelves

What other advice do I have?

This is highly reliable storage. Other than not having very high IOPS requirements, RAID5 would be good enough for application and database LUN. But before creating the RAID group/array, the implementer should have proper projections.
General Manager Information Technology Department at a university with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Thin Provisioning and Flash Copy are valuable but stability has been an issue

What is most valuable?

Thin Provisioning Flash Copy User friendly management interface

How has it helped my organization?

We run our business applications on it. Also OS was booted from SAN.

What needs improvement?

Product support is restricted to IBM only. It must be decentralized to IBM partners as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

Six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, we faced power supply failure, Multiple SAS drives failure, and at the end both controllers were dead.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are able to add additional drives easily.

How are customer service and technical support?

One out of 10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No, it was our first…
Sistem Yönetimi Uzman? at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
​User friendly interface and robust hardware but deduplication is limited

What other advice do I have?

Check IOP values and disk speed. Check often for updates and firmware. Make absolute SNMP settings for warnings and alerts.
Solution Architect tct at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Provides data reduction for many workloads.

What other advice do I have?

Read anything and everything you can, such as documentation manuals and best practices that are coming out. Stay plugged into the IBM communities and leverage services if this is your first engagement for capacity and sizing.
Technical Head at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Licensing has everything you need.

What is most valuable?

Auto Tier is 1M-iops.

How has it helped my organization?

It improves our number of TPS.

What needs improvement?

Flash Manager needs to be included.

For how long have I used the solution?

2 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Only battery for controller.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

None so far.

How are customer service and technical support?

If 10 is the highest, I would rate them at 9.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using a V7000 before, so only upgraded.

How was the initial setup?

Almost straightforward and the same as doing a V7000 series.

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

Licensing has already everything you need…
IT Specialist / IBM Software and Hardware support at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Consultant
One of the fastest available in the market today​.

What other advice do I have?

I recommend adding a pair of SAN switches to the Flash solution, otherwise it's a waste to use as and direct attach storage.
Senior Technical Specialist with 51-200 employees
MSP
The FlashSystem 900: A Powerful Building Block for Flash Infrastructure

What other advice do I have?

If you are looking for a great flash solution that can be virtualized or utilized as a building block for a scalable flash solution, or if you're looking for flash for a very specific workload, then you may want to consider a FlashSystem 900. It's probably the most straightforward piece of hardware you can get. The user experience from the interfaces and the price points for the performance a really solid. I'm an IBM Business Partner, so there's really only one vendor that we go to for our storage. However, even if I weren't an IBM Business Partner, having a pretty stable track record with…
San Admin at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It is easy to use and manage. We are a hospital and have zero downtime.

What other advice do I have?

The most important criteria while selecting a vendor are reliability and their level of maturity. It's not the best solution, but it's very reliable. It depends as every company is different. Some companies choose reliability, while others prefer the market. You have to assess your own stuff and see accordingly, what fits your bill.
Tactical Expert at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Easy to use GUI, both for me and the customers is the most valuable feature of this solution.

What other advice do I have?

This product is so easy to use. Have it checked over, test it out and try it. Compare it to the other competitors and make a decision from there, because I think this will definitely be a winner.
Senior Technical Specialist at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
All of the company's storage infrastructure can be done underneath this single product.

What other advice do I have?

For us, it's all about the commodity while selecting a vendor. In addition, the other important factors are their support level, infrastructure, how good they are, and what is their roadmap for keeping the product around. Give it a try and look at the demos. You will like it and you will want to get it. It's pretty good; I've been happy with it. I've worked with other infrastructures as well such as HPE, Dell, Logic and Nutanix but I like IBM Storwize.
Design Engineer at a recruiting/HR firm with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
I can provision the storage, find problems, and I can SSH in and do CLI commands.

What other advice do I have?

Just be careful if you're going to try to use compression, because of the specific issues we've had. If it's a high performance computing environment, just keep it thick provisioned. Get the best performance from it. Don't try to save and then screw up the user experience. If something fails, it's not going to bring down the application. V9000 is redundant through and through, so it's a great product. When selecting a vendor, stability, ease of use, and resiliency are the most important things.
Storage Engineer at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
We don't have to learn more than one interface to manage the storage arrays.

What is most valuable?

The ease-of-use and scalability are the most valuable features.

How has it helped my organization?

The common interface has improved the way we work. We don't have to learn more than one interface to manage the storage arrays.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, it seems pretty stable. We haven't had any major issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We find the product very scalable. We've been able to implement many storage arrays in our environment with very little effort.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used technical support. So far, we haven't had any bad experiences with them. We have been able to get the proper support we needed.

Which solution did I use previously and

Senior Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
MSP
Incorporates both the Spectrum virtualization layer and flash technology.

What other advice do I have?

Read the Redbook. The most important thing when selecting a vendor for me is how well the vendor works with me. It's a partnership, not just a sales, “here's a product” kind of thing. If you partner with us, you really get in, dive deep with us, and work through the solutions if needed. That's what makes a good vendor.
Storage Administrator at Sprint
Vendor
Redundancy that the machine provides is the most valuable aspect for us.

What other advice do I have?

Reliability is the most important aspect while selecting a vendor. I would recommend to use it.
Head of IT infrastructure at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The valuable features are snapshots and snap logs.

What other advice do I have?

Test all of the products as you evaluate them.
Systems Engineer at a tech vendor with 11-50 employees
Real User
Valuable features include compression, disaster recovery, and storage pooling functions.

Pros and Cons

  • "The valuable features for us are the extra add-ons, such as the FIM provisioning, the compression, the disaster recovery capabilities, and the storage pooling functions."
  • "AHV is Acropolis Hypervisor – A relatively new Hypervisor, robust and stable as VMware vSphere, has built-in advanced analytics and powerful operations, Self Service Portal and components for DevOps included, managed by a single pane of glass (Prism) via HTML5 and it is free of charge – That is why Nutanix is so advanced and revolutionary."

What other advice do I have?

Just buy it. Support for sure is important when considering which vendor to go for, as well as ease of use and the track record of the code base.
Storage Administrator at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
The most valuables features are the virtualization of the storage and the compression.

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are, of course, the virtualization of the storage, the performance, and the compression."
  • "With regards to the IBM V7000 storage system, where we have multiple tiers of storage, a heat map would show I/O distribution across the tiers of storage."

What other advice do I have?

I would just tell them to give it a try. Benchmark it and compare it with the other vendors. Talk to some customers about their experiences.
LS
Systems integrator at a government with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
It allows our organization to provide a more timely response to our customers.

How has it helped my organization?

It allows our organization to provide a more timely response to our customers.

What is most valuable?

The speed of the unit is its best feature. It performs very well.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see bigger modules. That's about the only thing that needs improvement.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, it's been very stable. There have been no issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have used technical support and they have been very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were having performance issues. We decided to find the lowest latency device and this was it.

How was

Programmer Analysts at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We migrated from EMC storage and it was virtualized.

What other advice do I have?

If cost is not a factor, I would definitely say IBM is good. Their business partners are good. For instance, they will try to get you vouchers to get training. With EMC, we never really got any training. It was all a cost for us in the public sector. We have to evaluate what training we can take, because I have a jack-of-all-trades type of role.
Enterprise Architect at Horizon
Consultant
It virtualizes storage and provides thin provisioning and compression.

What other advice do I have?

Take it for a test drive. You’ll be impressed.
Enterprise Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
MSP
The biggest benefit is the latency. It increases the speed of block storage.

Pros and Cons

  • "The speed and the ease of installation are the most valuable features."
  • "I would like to have a larger disk. Right now, you can get 57 terabytes in a shelf. Once they get the larger disk and you get larger capacities, it'll be even better."

What other advice do I have?

If they: * Have to choose from what's out there in the industry * Are looking for storage efficiencies where they're going to get deduplication and compression * Are looking for pure speed Then the IBM FlashSystem is the way to go. If they need efficiencies, like compression and deduplication, then they need to look at the IBM A9000. Support is the most important thing when looking at vendors.
Network Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
You can run it on several different configurations.

What other advice do I have?

Definitely give it your time. Give it your time, get some IBM folks to show you some benefits and maybe do a demo. It's a great solution.
Storage Engineer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
You don't need to buy hardware solutions that are vendor-bound.

What other advice do I have?

When looking for a vendor, support is important, as well as market position.
Senior Technical Specialist at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
Provides external virtualization, compression, and a failover mechanism.

Pros and Cons

  • "The valuable features are high availability, compression, and a failover mechanism. It's a very highly available storage solution."
  • "I know they have a flashcopy manager, but it is extra software, an additional license, and some customers don't like to add addition costs to their infrastructure. If IBM could create, or include snapshot management within the GUI, that would really be helpful."

What other advice do I have?

I highly recommend it.
CTO at CAS Severn
Consultant
Provides our customers with virtualization and flattening.

What other advice do I have?

Folks that are looking to implement the V9000 really should take a look at the simplicity that an all-flash array can bring to their environment. They should look at the efficiency of being able to take skills that they might have learned within other Storwize products and be able to directly translate those into the V9000. To summarize: Similar interface, similar support interaction, and the way they can take knowledge that they previously had and be able to directly translate that to their all-flash array decision.
Systems Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Consultant
Provides virtual capabilities and enables us to move data between tiers.

What other advice do I have?

I would tell them, "The ease of use of the system. If you have a small storage team, then this is the platform for you. It's really easy to manage, really easy to use, and it doesn't take a lot of training." The biggest key to deciding on the product is the support and replacement capabilities.
Storage Admin at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
Compression and deduplication are important to us. There is a limit on the flash memory.

What other advice do I have?

If they are cost conscious and have a release table solution, this is probably the best solution available.
Web Operations Manager at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
We have not seen many drive failures. It should have built-in reporting to understand the health of the array.

What other advice do I have?

There are far better products with better support for less cost. The hardware itself is good, but the code that runs on it is not good at all. We have LUNs that will just go offline, and support has no clear answer. Each result is a code upgrade that does not resolve the problem. There is no built-in historical reporting. That is a costly add-on for an already overpriced system.
IT Program Manager at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The cost was low when we purchased it. Some of the platform limitations need to be addressed.

What is most valuable?

The cost was low when we purchased it.

How has it helped my organization?

It has not improved how we function.

What needs improvement?

ACLs should be more compatible with other NAS-based platforms. Some of the platform limitations need to be addressed.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this product for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had to bounce services several times over the past two years.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is horrible. IBM doesn't have much expertise with the product.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using EMC VNX.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was fairly simple.

Which other

IT Director Of System & Security Dep at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The easy GUI is the most valuable feature.
Senior UNIX Systems Administrator at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
It has helped us to achieve a good response time for users. The memory card failure and the array's inability to create a spare card resulted in several crashes.

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features were the performance of the array, i.e., very low latency and high IOPS. Plus, the management interface is very easy to use."
  • "The array level RAID does not seem available."

What other advice do I have?

For resilience, you need to buy two of these devices per site as RAID only applies within in each memory card, i.e., the whole array is not resilient if a card fails. Failover would only be possible for a standby device.
Storage & Backup Transition Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
It facilitates those applications that need low latency and high speed for transferring the data.

Pros and Cons

  • "Speed (IOPS/second) – It is most vital for applications that need low latency and high speed for transferring the data."

    What other advice do I have?

    This product has the best quality, performance and cost.
    IT Specialist at Slovenská sporiteľňa
    Vendor
    It supports a high IOPS rate. Initial setup is simple.

    Pros and Cons

    • "The most valuable feature is that is supports a high IOPS rate."
    • "It has room for improvement in the area of stability."

    What other advice do I have?

    I would advise colleagues to use FlashSystems. It's a very good solution for us to achieve our goals. When I evaluate vendors, for me, the historical relationship is very important, and definitely the communication. With IBM, we know the vendor well.
    Senior Analyst at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    The GUI is easy to use. The SAN Volume Controller provides a single management interface for virtualized storage.

    Pros and Cons

    • "IBM FlashSystem has an easy to use GUI, similar to the IBM Storewize family, which make it one of the best flash storage systems in the market."

      What other advice do I have?

      Go ahead and implement it. IBM storage provides you everything that you’ll need for a block-level architecture, as they have many different products which provides you with a variety of options to meet your needs.
      Technical Head at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Real User
      Top 5Leaderboard
      IBM FlashSystem V9000 stands for Virtualized

      Improvements to My Organization

      IT Improve our TPS (transactions per seconds)

      Valuable Features

      Flash disk with Easy Tier option Same GUI as v7000

      Room for Improvement

      When you provision a datastore auto-format takes a long time .. to disable is you have to redo the whole process. this is a bit difficult if you want to make adjustments on the datastore

      Stability Issues

      none so far.

      Scalability Issues

      Scale in scale out design was implemented

      Customer Service and Technical Support

      Customer Service: We have a good relationship with IBM Technical Support: Highly skilled implementor

      Initial Setup

      Straightforward

      Other Solutions Considered

      HP, EMC,
      IT Program Manager at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
      Vendor
      The services to help us migrate our NAS data from an existing EMC VNX system has failed once already with ACL permissions issues specifically on how the V7000U NAS works.

      What other advice do I have?

      The sales team was great as was the technical team. I now feel the EMC VNX and NetApp are both better NAS systems. If I had to do it over again, I would stayed with the EMC VNX for NAS.
      Arquiteto de Soluções at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Consultant
      Micro latency of the flash provides real-time information, but it's a little expensive.

      What other advice do I have?

      Have good knowledge about the clients business.
      Buyer's Guide
      Download our free IBM FlashSystem Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.