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Tom Richards


Tom Richards,
Storage and Systems Practice Lead



In this blog post, Tom explains how a recent announcement about IBM Flash Storage offerings brings new features and benefits to businesses. Using products from the FlashSystem family, backed by our own deep experience in deploying and managing enterprise storage, Northdoor can help companies simplify data storage, improve performance, reduce costs and increase resilience.

One big family

IBM recently announced a shake-up of its Flash Storage offerings. In a nutshell, the vendor has folded its low/mid-range Storwize systems into the IBM FlashSystem family, creating a single range of flash storage solutions. While many competing vendors require their customers to mix and match different storage ranges as they expand or try to meet different use cases, IBM now offers one consistent range for all requirements, large and small.

Although this is perhaps closer to a re-naming exercise than a major change in technology, the enlarged FlashSystem family offers a genuinely cohesive experience, providing the same management software across the entire range. The IBM systems also have the same physical form factor, making physical deployment and scaling much simpler. Since just about every organisation is seeing significant growth in storage requirements, this should be a popular move in the market, simplifying capacity planning and removing obstacles as companies expand.

For new and existing users of IBM Storwize and/or FlashSystem technology, the change should translate into simplified management, ultimately reducing operational costs. And because the underlying IBM Spectrum Virtualize (formerly SAN Volume Controller) management software can virtualize more than 500 storage systems from other vendors, deploying a new IBM FlashSystem array could also help you consolidate other capacity into a single pool, all managed behind the same interface. Not only is this simpler and faster on a day-to-day basis, but also it could allow you to reduce the number of systems on which admins need to be trained.

IBM Flash Storage

Packed with features

Naturally, there are still technical differences across the IBM FlashSystem range. At the lower end of the range (models 5010, 5030, 5100), FlashSystem provides NVMe-based storage, while the mid-range FlashSystem 7200 is IBM’s first NVMe flash solution to include ultra-low-latency Storage Class Memory (SCM) options. The top-end FlashSystem 9200 and 9200R add further resilience, performance and capacity for mission-critical use cases.

All systems include IBM Storage Insights – a free, cloud-based tool that uses machine learning to sift through billions of data points from deployed systems all around the world, determine potential issues in each system, and provide proactive notification.

Another cloud element in the IBM FlashSystem line-up is IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud, which makes it easier than ever to build a hybrid multicloud storage environment. In addition to increasing the mobility of data – for example, enabling fast and seamless copies to a cloud container for backup or DevOps purposes – this feature can provide an “airgap” as protection against ransomware attacks. Whatever happens to local copies of data, it is much harder for malware to corrupt cloud-based copies.

Available across all systems is IBM FlashWatch, 90 days of free virtualization to help you migrate from older storage systems while guaranteeing performance, reliability and data compression. FlashWatch also includes the IBM Flash Momentum upgrade programme, whereby you can replace both the controller and the storage flexibly every three years. Another potentially interesting option within FlashWatch is IBM’s Storage Utility pricing, which enables organisations to pay on a monthly basis for the storage they actually consume during that period.

Get the right solution with Northdoor

Given the number of features and options – we’ve barely scraped the surface in this blog – Northdoor believes that companies will get the most value out of IBM FlashSystem by working with an experienced partner to select, configure and deploy the technology. We’ve helped blue-chip companies maximise the value of their business data for more than 30 years, and as an IBM Platinum Business Partner with the highest-level Expert rating from IBM Storage, we’re one of the most skilled solution providers in the UK.

To find out more about the latest in flash storage from IBM, and to learn how we can help you increase performance while reducing costs, contact Northdoor today below.


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