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Made in IBM Labs: IBM Research Unveils Storage Innovations

September 8, 2008

As part of IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) largest launch ever of new storage hardware, software and services — the building blocks for the world’s strongest information infrastructure portfolio — the company today outlined next-generation technologies incubating in IBM’s labs that could further enhance future information infrastructure offerings.

The IBM future technologies are designed to enable businesses, governments and other institutions to transform static data managed in silos into more dynamic information that is accessible by individuals wherever they go in a cloud computing environment. Among the highlights:

Preventing a Digital Dark Age: As the volume of digital information continues to grow, individuals and businesses alike will face ever-growing data archiving and retention problems. Data generated 20 years ago on a 5.25 inch floppy disk will likely become impossible to access in the near future; as the world becomes digital, clients may be entering a new “Dark Age” in which business, public and personal assets are in danger of being lost due to changing technologies. IBM Research is leading the charge to preserve myriad types of information, such as scientific, financial, healthcare, artistic, and cultural data for tens and even hundreds of years.

Breakthrough Storage Performance: Engineers and researchers at the IBM Hursley development lab in England and the Almaden Research Center in California have demonstrated groundbreaking performance results that outperform the world’s fastest disk storage solution by over 250 percent. IBM has demonstrated, for the first time, the game-changing impact solid-state technologies can have on how businesses and individuals manage and access information. The results were achieved using Flash solid-state technology coupled with IBM’s industry leading, highly scalable storage virtualization technology. Under the codename “Project Quicksilver,” IBM achieved groundbreaking results in transferring data at a sustained rate of over one million Input/Output (I/O) per second — with a response time of under one millisecond (ms). Compared to the fastest industry benchmarked disk system, Quicksilver improved performance(1) by 250 percent at less than 1/20th the response time, took up 1/5th the floor space and required only 55 percent of the power and cooling.

A New Revolution in Storage Technology: In April, IBM outlined a computer memory milestone that could lead to electronic devices capable of storing far more data in the same amount of space than is possible today. Within the next ten years, “racetrack” memory, so named because the data “races” around the nanoscale wire “track,” could lead to solid state electronic devices — with no moving parts, and therefore more durable — capable of holding far more data in the same amount of space than is possible today. For example, this technology could enable a handheld device such as an mp3 player to store about 500,000 songs or 3,500 movies, 100-times what is possible today with far lower cost and power consumption.

Unparalleled Processing of Real Time Data: IBM’s System S rapidly analyzes data as it streams from a variety of sources to help organizations increase the speed and accuracy of decision making. Today for example, a financial services client is piloting stream computing from IBM — IBM Stream Computing Software running on an IBM Blue Gene supercomputer — to examine thousands of real-time information sources to capitalize on up-to-the-minute market changes.

New Computing Paradigms for Business Advantage: IBM is working on select prototypes of Information Cloud Services to deploy its information infrastructure across groups of servers accessed remotely (from the “cloud”) from a variety of devices.

Power Management for Storage: As servers become larger and faster, our disks and their capacities are also becoming bigger. Meanwhile, components are getting smaller and speedier — creating more IT heat density. Reducing the energy consumption of IT systems is a major challenge. Until now, power management for storage systems has been limited, but this is all changing. After intensive studies of the factors that affect power usage in storage systems, IBM researchers have developed new algorithms and models that are being incorporated into IBM capacity planning tools to estimate the power consumption of different storage controller components for various workloads characteristics. These technologies are targeted at helping SMBs, archives, and enterprises better manage their storage power resources.

More than 30 new products and services from IBM Systems and Technology Group, IBM Software Group and IBM Research were announced today, supporting the information infrastructure pillar of IBM’s New Enterprise Data Center strategy. Coupled with new announcements from IBM’s Global Technology Services business, IBM aligns critical storage usage to a client’s direct business priorities, helps them reduce the risk, cost, complexity and planning efforts required for large data migrations, and delivers strategic IBM design and implementation services to target client pain-points. For a full listing of all the products and services announced today, please visit http://www.ibm.com/systems/storage/products/showcase/index.html

Through home-grown innovation, development and acquisitions, today’s announcement marks a $2 billion investment, three years of research and development, and a global team of more than 2,500 storage technical professionals, engineers and researchers from nine different countries including France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland, United States, and the United Kingdom. Key acquisitions of XIV, Diligent, Cognos, Arsenal, Optim, FilesX, Softek, and NovusCG over the last twenty-four months add strategic pieces to the strongest ever information infrastructure portfolio of offerings unveiled today.

These new tools and offerings for the IBM information infrastructure will allow clients to streamline their data centers with highly integrated storage offerings focused around archive, compliance, retention, and security pain points to help clients deliver information as a service to their customers — the consumers, who are looking for access to information at any time from any device. These tools and technology resources which IBM has been developing and amassing, open doors to new industry collaborations, and on demand storage technologies — a key pillar in the emergence of cloud computing.

For more information on IBM and the IBM Information Infrastructure, visit http://www.ibm.com/information_infrastructure. For more information on IBM Research, visit http://www.ibm.com/research.

(1) Comparison based on IBM customer representative benchmarked workload

 Charles Zinkowski IBM Communications 917-472-3415 charlesz@us.ibm.com  Jenny Hunter IBM Communications 408-927-1261 jennyh@us.ibm.com

SOURCE: IBM




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