IBM set to sell Elastic Storage in a Power-based box

The software-defined storage technology will be available in software, cloud and integrated form

IBM will extend its Elastic Storage technology with two new products as the company moves to offer software-defined storage in several forms.

An integrated Elastic Storage system built around the IBM Power platform, as well as support for Elastic Storage for Linux-based System Z mainframes, will be announced Monday at the IBM Enterprise14 conference in Las Vegas. Both are due to go on sale Dec. 5. They're the latest products based on Elastic Storage, which was introduced in May.

Elastic Storage is software that can turn file and object storage all across an enterprise, from tape to server-based flash, into a single, virtualized pool of capacity. Depending on the needs of applications, it can automatically shift data between those resources for faster access to the most critical data. IBM is now set to offer it as software for existing systems, as a cloud-based service and as a preconfigured system to roll into a data center.

The IBM Elastic Storage Server will be a combination of IBM Power Systems server hardware, storage enclosures and disks along with Elastic Storage software. It will come in a range of configurations to meet the needs of different size enterprises and will be scalable to hundreds of petabytes of capacity, the company said.

Also on Monday, IBM will announce Elastic Storage for Linux on System Z, ensuring customers can run the software in Linux virtual machines within the company's System Z mainframes.

Much as computing and networking have gone from being built into dedicated hardware to being implemented across shared capacity, some storage systems are now defined by software, too. EMC announced an ambitious entry into this field in May with its ViPR 2.0 software, which also brings together a vast array of storage resources. Like ViPR, Elastic Storage can be implemented on hardware from third-party vendors.

IBM is aiming Elastic Storage at enterprises that want to collect all the unstructured data they can from a range of sources and analyze it to learn about trends and make better decisions. It supports OpenStack for use across private and public clouds, as well as big-data technologies including Hadoop. Elastic Storage is based on technology that IBM's Watson system used to access facts it needed to compete on the TV game show "Jeopardy" in 2011. It also has its roots in GPFS (General Parallel File System) but got a new name with major enhancements that came this year.

Since introducing Elastic Storage as a software product in May, IBM has also released it as a cloud service through its SoftLayer IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) offering. Now it's set to announce an integrated hardware-software system for Elastic Storage that's based on IBM's Power architecture.

Elastic Storage is already available on the GPFS Storage Server, an x86-based integrated system that will now be sold by Lenovo following its acquisition of IBM's x86 server business, said Bernie Spang, vice president of software-defined strategy at IBM.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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