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IBM grows Smarter Computing portfolio

IBM has accelerated its Smarter Computing initiative by announcing a broad array of performance and efficiency enhancements to its storage and technical computing systems – the engines of big data.
As part of its ongoing Smarter Computing effort, IBM announced a new strategic approach to designing and managing storage infrastructures with greater automation and intelligence, as well as significant performance enhancements to several key storage systems and the Tivoli Storage Productivity Center suite.
At the same time, the company announced its first offerings that incorporate software from IBM’s acquisition of Platform Computing earlier this year. These offerings are intended to help a broader set of enterprise customers use technical computing to achieve faster results with applications that require substantial computing resources to process growing volumes of data.
“Enterprises are dealing with data that is increasing exponentially in both size and complexity,” says Gary Carroll, director of general business at IBM.
“The enhanced systems and storage solutions we’re announcing today have the performance, efficiency and intelligence to handle this big data. This is smarter computing that allows our clients to organise and analyse their data to better understand and serve their customers.”
Constructing and evolving storage infrastructures to better respond to constant social, economic, and business change is critical to the long-term viability of every organisation. To do it right, they need a smarter approach to storage – an approach that exploits automated intelligence to increase the efficiency, utilisation, and performance of storage systems while lowering costs.
IBM has been building a portfolio of products and technologies for the past several years toward this end and has announced a formal approach behind it called IBM Smarter Storage.
With this approach, customers are able to architect storage infrastructures that leverage such leading edge technologies as realtime compression and automated tiering to help get more performance out of their systems, faster and for less cost.
To drive this initiative further, IBM is announcing enhancements to a several key products. For example, it is adding realtime compression to IBM Storwize V7000, as well as to the IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC), the company’s industry-leading storage virtualisation system.
Unlike traditional storage systems that compress only “low activity” data, or data not frequently accessed, realtime compression on the Storwize V7000 and SVC systems compresses active data by as much as 80%, increasing total effective storage capacity by up to five times.
In addition to realtime compression, IBM also added four-way clustering support for Storwize V7000 block systems that can double the maximum system capacity to 960 drives or 1,4Pb.
“From the move to electronic records to the ballooning sizes of medical images, storage in medical centres as large as ours, is rapidly becoming ground zero for big data,” says Rick Haverty, director of information systems division at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
“IBM has recognised the need to start approaching the management of the growing data volumes in a strategic, smarter way, through built-in intelligence, automation, and the cloud, to gain greater performance, reliability and better economics.”
IBM added efficiency and performance boosts to several other systems as well, including:
* IBM System Storage DS3500, designed for small and mid-sized organisations and DCS3700, designed with high density for high performance computing environments, now feature Enhanced FlashCopy capabilities that result in 50% more snapshots, designed to speed up backups; and thin provisioning, which helps increase utilisation of disk storage while lowering storage costs by reserving unused pools of storage for applications on an as-needed basis;
* IBM Tape System Library Manager (TSLM) is new software that expands and can simplify the use of IBM TS3500 tape libraries by providing customers a single, consolidated view of multiple libraries. The TSLM works with multiple generations of enterprise and LTO-based drives and media to store data into a single reservoir of tape that can be managed from a central point through IBM Tivoli Storage Manager;
* IBM Linear Tape File System (LTFS) Storage Manager is new software that provides lifecycle management of multimedia files, such as large video files, to customers using IBM LTO 5 tape libraries and IBM’s LTFS Library Edition. As a result, video archive licensing costs can be dramatically lowered, as well as video tape cartridge costs.
* New enhancements to the IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center (TPC) suite will enable organisations to better manage big data storage requirements. With a new Web-based user interface, TPC can radically change the way IT managers view and manage their storage infrastructures.
Also new to TPC is the integration of IBM Cognos, which provides intuitive reporting and modelling that can enable customers to easily create high-quality ad hoc and customised reports for better decision making. TPC offers simplified packaging that provides comprehensive management, discovery, configuration, performance and replication in a single license.
In addition to these new enhancements, IBM will advance the Smarter Storage approach further in the future when it announces plans to extend its IBM Easy Tier capabilities to direct-attached, server-based SSDs to help customers co-ordinate data migration between their disk systems and servers.
IBM Easy Tier automatically moves data to the most appropriate storage, including multiple tiers of disk and SSD, based on policy and activity.
Once considered the domain of supercomputing, workloads such as simulations, computer modeling and analytics are increasingly being adopted by a broader set of mainstream clients to drive business benefits.
In order to make technical computing easier to use, IBM is enhancing its portfolio of hardware platforms with software to create integrated solutions that can help enterprises more quickly derive value from high performance applications that require a lot of computing power and data.
At the same time, IBM is committed to maintaining support for non-IBM systems with existing platform computing partners. The highlights of what IBM is announcing today include:
* The IBM Platform Symphony family, a grid manager that is now integrated with the MapReduce software framework to provide faster throughput and performance for  demanding analytics and big data workloads in a single grid environment. Platform Symphony’s resource sharing model makes it cost-efficient for clients to expand their analytics environment as needed.
* The IBM System x Intelligent Cluster integrated with IBM Platform HPC software to simplify cluster deployment, deliver results more quickly and improve productivity so clients can focus on research and analysis instead of 
managing their IT infrastructure.
* The High Performance Computing (HPC) Cloud portfolio from IBM expanded with the new IBM Platform Cluster Manager offering as well as IBM Platform LSF to provide clients with a shared pool of cloud resources available from anywhere, making it easy to create and manage HPC clouds.
The new IBM Platform Cluster Manager enables clients to self-provision clusters in minutes and automatically, dynamically manage cluster environments that include both IBM Platform Computing and non-IBM workload managers.
These new offerings will help IBM aggressively pursue the over $20,3-billion combined opportunity for technical computing, which IDC is projecting for 2012 and that is expected to grow at 7,6% annually to almost $29,2-billion by 2016.
Other technical computing offerings IBM is announcing include:
* IBM Platform LSF family – IBM Platform LSF is a comprehensive set of intelligent, policy-driven workload management and scheduling tools that can be used to manage high performance workloads across a distributed, virtualised IT environment with up to 100% utilisation to help keep costs low.
* IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS) – GPFS now includes Active File Management (AFM) software to provide fast, trusted access to unstructured data regardless of where the data resides so it can quickly be turned in to insight.
* IBM System x iDataPlex dx360 M4 – The latest iDataPlex system can double performance on selected workloads with the latest Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) from NVIDIA, increases maximum memory to 512Gb and – with the new slotless FDR (Fourteen Data Rate) Infiniband adapter – provides superior performance and flexibility for technical computing environments.