Lotko: Virtualization insulates applications from changes to the physical storage infrastructure. A data architecture from IBM provides the intelligence and efficiency needed from the storage infrastructure, and more important, helps our clients get the most value from their data with the least cost and effort. A data architecture has three pillars that each help drive the focus on data rather than storage:

• Independence: Separate data from storage—this allows clients to focus on data management.
• Orchestration: Automatically, intelligently move data with no disruption to applications and users—this allows data to always be on the right tier of storage.
• Optimization: Implement the latest advanced efficiency capabilities—this allows data to be stored at the lowest cost possible while meeting or exceeding service level agreements.

Data virtualization allows all storage from any vendor to be managed as a single pool. When the environment is comprised of different storage devices from different vendors acquired over time, data virtualization saves both time and money. The most amazing thing about this technology is that it extends capabilities from the virtualization layer across each of the underlying storage devices that they, in and of themselves as a standalone, don’t have. For example, IBM has an industry-leading, Real-time compression capability. With data virtualization, any storage can now support Real-time compression, even storage from other companies. It’s like what a synthesizer or mixing board can do in the music industry, allowing even the novice singer to sound like a superstar.

EE: What kind of pressure does the MegaTrend with Cloud place on storage and the importance of infrastructure?

Lotko: Everyone talks about the server or software in the cloud space. But don’t we all want our storage to be just as flexible and capable? As businesses deploy cloud computing to increase the speed at which they operate or to provide an environment to empower their employees or end-users, they face pressure to provide the right (ideal) infrastructure to access the data. There are three key factors for storage in the cloud: First, instantly respond to constant change; second, provide the ultimate in efficiency to minimize costs; and third, work in cloud deployment models. IBM has introduced new Storage Systems and SmartCloud storage solutions to meet these needs. As an example, our XIV Storage System is grid-based, allowing simple scalability, automating many tedious management tasks and providing the simplicity required for virtualization and cloud environments. It also seamlessly integrates with leading cloud deployment models such as OpenStack and products from IBM and other vendors.

EE: Tell us about IBM's investment in the storage portfolio and how this is helping to gain momentum in the market.

Lotko: Because of our highly integrated approach, IBM Storage leverages the significant hardware and technology investments being made across IBM. Similarly, both our organic and acquired offerings leverage (and even embed) significant software technologies. Further, the hardware/software combinations are frequently “wrapped” in services to deliver fully integrated and optimized storage solutions to our clients.  

IBM has the products and expertise to address the requirements driven by today’s world of cloud, social, mobile and Big Data, which are changing workloads and transforming IT. In this new era of infrastructure, it’s all about choice and flexibility. IBM is providing that with all-flash storage, disk-based and hybrid systems, grid scale storage and data virtualization. The IBM FlashSystem, the Storwize Data Virtualization Family, the IBM DS8870, XIV, tape, as well as all of our storage product portfolio, can help our clients develop a data agenda—a strategic, cost-effective approach for getting the most value from their data.

Last April, IBM announced it will invest more than $1 billion for flash research and development in systems and software over the next three years, including 12 IBM flash centers of competency around the world. At PartnerWorld 2014, we introduced the IBM FlashSystem 840 Enterprise Performance Solution, which integrates our most advanced all-flash array, the FlashSystem 840, with our leading storage virtualization system, the SAN Volume Controller, that gives customers not just tremendous performance gains, but also innovative management features such as Real-time compression, Easy Tier and thin provisioning.

We continue to invest in innovation for high-value solutions, but most important, we continue to collaborate with our clients and partners to define the next generation storage solutions to drive greater success for them in their businesses.


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