IBM Bolsters Storage Play, Ups x86 Hardware Portfolio


IBM is selling its x86 server business to Lenovo, but that’s not stopping the company from rolling out new System x and Flex hardware at the Edge 2014 partner conference this week. IBM also is using this year’s IT infrastructure-focused show, held in Las Vegas from May 19-23, to trumpet new storage services and hardware that it said will help companies leverage the software-defined storage technologies it unveiled last week.

IBM is using Edge to show its commitment to x86 hardware that it said will be an important piece of an evolving storage strategy that includes tape, flash and cloud services. Earlier this month, IBM unveiled new SAN Volume Controller and Storwize models. Last week, IBM unveiled new Elastic Storage technology and services. This week it’s all about enhancing IBM’s hardware and cloud services infrastructure.

IBM Monday said it has revved up its storage portfolio, including its Storwize, XIV, tape library and Flash storage products, with new cloud-friendly capabilities such as virtualization, real-time compression and “easy” tiering and mirroring. The new storage solutions are aimed at companies with high-performance needs and include IBM’s Storwize V7000, which has been enhanced with double the storage capacity to 4 PB. IBM also introduced its DS8870 Flash enclosure with impressive reported speed and feed boosts that show a tripling in flash performance while utilizing half as much storage space as previous models. Meanwhile, IBM is touting its TS4500 tape library technology as now being able to store three times as much data on the same tape footprint.

[Related: IBM Partners Split On Impact Of x86 Business Going To Lenovo]

IBM also enhanced its XIV Cloud Storage for Service Providers program, including new pay-per-use pricing models for channel partners that the company said will reduce the initial cost of a system by as much as 40 percent.

IBM, which does 20 percent of its business through the channel, is now awaiting regulatory approval for the sale of its x86 low-end server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion. As a show of commitment to the x86 hardware line ahead of its expected sale this fall, IBM Monday rolled out new Flex and System x hardware.

Part of IBM’s hardware blitz includes a new line of Flex systems including eight-, four- and two-socket compute node configurations designed to reduce complexity while at the same time delivering 300 percent faster performance, according to IBM. Systems start at $15,700, with availability beginning June 13. IBM also introduced a new compact tower called System x3100 M5, which comes configured with Intel Xeon E3-1200v3 processors, optimized for RAID and enhanced data protection. The System x3100 M5 starts at $755 with availability beginning June 18.

Lastly, IBM unveiled PureFlex Solution For Parallels-MSP, a software and service designed to help MSPs by giving them the flexibility to integrate Web, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service. IBM said the new PureFlex MSP solution allows businesses to “efficiently and economically” manage their Parallels Automated software platform.

 The IBM storage, hardware and software moves are about workload optimization and hardware tuned to deliver results for companies, said Adalio Sanchez, general manager of IBM's System x business, in a press conference Monday.

PUBLISHED MAY 19, 2014