IBM refreshes Storwize V5000 series, and adds AWS and container support

IBM is making a broad series of storage announcements today at an event in Rome, with completion of the Storwize refresh with the V5000 series, including new NVMe models, being the highlight.

The Storwize V5100

Today, at their Storage, Made Simple event in Rome, IBM is making multiple announcements across their storage portfolio. They include a refresh of the Storwize V5000 line, which introduces the first NVMe models to this part of the Storwize family. The price drops also bring the lowest model in the series, the V5010e, into the entry level price range, at least the top of it. In addition, IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud, formerly only available for the IBM Cloud, is being extended to AWS. Container support is also being expanded with the announcement of support next quarter for the Container Storage Interface [CSI], followed by native container support later in the year.

“This launch in Rome is multi-faceted, but three elements really stand our as being big news for partners and end users,” said Eric Herzog, Chief Marketing Officer, Vice President, Worldwide Storage Channels, IBM Storage. “First we have completed the refresh of our Storwize product line. Last fall, we announced a refresh of our Storwize V7000 models, and also gave a commitment that they would be sold 100 per cent through the channel globally. Now we are refreshing the Storwize V5000 series, which are also sold entirely through channel partners.”

The new v5000 family contains four models.

“The V5010e will replace the old V5010,” Herzog said. “It has 2x the IOPS performance and 4x the cache of the V5010, for a 30 per cent lower street price than the V5010.”

Herzog thinks that the V5010e will also expand Storwize’s addressable market downstream.

“Storwize historically has been sold in the lower to the middle of mid-tier storage,” he said. “This is still high-end storage, but the V5010e is on the very cusp of being a true entry space offering. It will get us into the top end of IDC Band 3 – under $15,000.”

The second refreshed model is the V5030e, positioned upstream from the V5010e, with data reduction and scale-out storage capabilities.

“It will also be about 20 per cent faster than the V5030, and is also about 30 per cent lower in price than the older model,” Herzog indicated.

The family is being expanded with two new NVMe models, which are suited for demanding applications that require lower storage latency

“Our first NVMe was the FlashSystem 9100 from last year, then last October we extended it into the Storwize V7000 series,” Herzog said. “Now we are introducing NVMe into the V5000 series with the V5100 and the V5100F all-flash model. It gives 2.4 better performance and has 9x more cache than the predecessor model [the Storwise V5030]. The price tag is 10 per cent higher than the V5030.

“The V5100 and V5100F also support FlashCore modules as well, which are custom-built NVME accelerated flash solutions built by IBM,” Herzog added.

All the V5000 models also now include a copy of IBM Spectrum Virtualize software.

“You used to have to order the software separately, and it is now included in the product,” Herzog said. “This is something that end users don’t care about, but partners do.”

A second major enhancement Herzog identified also involves Spectrum Virtualize software.

“We have been talking about IBM storage being multi-cloud, but until now it has only been available on the IBM Cloud,” he said. “As further support for our multi-cloud strategy, our Spectrum Virtualize software is now available on AWS.”

This will enable the extension of on-prem deployments from SVC, Storwize, FlashSystem 9100, VersaStack, and over 450 supported storage systems, including competitor systems like Dell EMC Unity and HPE Nimble.

“We can also provide cyber resiliency with air-gapped snapshots in the public cloud,” Herzog added.

The plan is to extend this support to the other major public clouds, but Herzog was closed-mouthed specifically about what the timeframe would be.

“Some enterprises use five or more clouds, so this is important,” he said.

“The third big announcement is about containers,” Herzog said. “We have been extending support to containers for a couple years, starting with persistent block storage, and then file and object storage and IBM Cloud Private. What we are doing now is extending support for Container Storage Interface (CSI), the initiative to provide a standardised API for container orchestration platforms to talk to storage plugins.” IBM’s CSI support will be available next quarter.

“We will be providing container-native SDS by the end of the year,” Herzog added.

IBM’s storage system business has significantly declined in share in recent IDC tracking, but Herzog said the numbers are rather brighter when software is added in.

“The IDC numbers of storage and systems combined make us second biggest in the world, as we are the biggest storage software vendor behind Dell EMC,” he noted. “We view it holistically. Our introduction of Spectrum Protect Plus [in mid-2017] expanded the product line, especially since it can be a standalone product. This had been overkill for most small companies, but Spectrum Protect Plus let us expand there. Our move to channel-only with Storwize has been a benefit. And now Storwize V5010e gives us expansion into the entry space. We have better opportunities in a wider market than in the past.”

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