Using internal disk storage for IBM i environments on IBM Power Systems certainly has advantages. It is simpler to have a single box for both processing and storage, and data transfer is extremely fast. So what are the key benefits of moving to external disk instead? In a nutshell, you’ll gain a dedicated, specialised platform for storing data that will provide more built-in functionality and easier expansion. Any storage capacity you deploy in an external array can also be shared with other servers, both within your Power landscape and in your distributed landscape. This means that you can invest in new capacity with more confidence and less risk of obsolescence.
In the past, the cost and complexity of external disk arrays for IBM i arguably put them out of reach for the non-enterprise sector. Today, IBM external storage is affordable and accessible, and a number of solutions are fully compatible with i.
With options for both small and mid-sized organisations, the IBM FlashSystem family offers direct-attach compatibility with i (7.1 TR8 and later). Featuring both all-flash and hybrid disk/flash options, FlashSystem uses IBM Spectrum Virtualize software to simplify the creation and management of pools of storage that can span multiple disks or groups of disks. The sophisticated thin-provisioning functionality enables you to plan future capacity without immediately needing to deploy all of it.
Thanks to Spectrum Virtualize, deploying FlashSystem also enables you to virtualise other storage arrays, including non-IBM systems, and IBM Real-Time Compression technology enables capacity savings of up to 80 percent, as well as potentially accelerating batch runs. With its ability to take point-in-time snapshots of critical production environments – so that you can back them up without bringing them down – adopting FlashSystem could also help you ensure greater uptime for i workloads.
As your requirements grow, you can add further IBM Storage solutions and enjoy the ease and convenience of a common set of software management tools, delivered through a standardised user interface. For more information, see our pages on IBM Storage and software-defined storage.
Northdoor plc is a Platinum level IBM Business Partner recognised as a Specialist for IBM Power Systems and Expert for IBM Storage product families. Recognised by IBM as a Centre of Technical Excellence for IBM Hardware, Northdoor has deep skills in IBM AIX, IBM i and Linux for IBM Power Systems. We are also experts in storage sizing and configuration, and in providing high-availability and business continuity solutions based on IBM PowerHA.
Whether you are seeking to update and consolidate your existing Power Systems landscape, extend your footprint into the cloud, or bring new analytics workloads over from inefficient x86 server farms, Northdoor has the technical skills and successful track-record to help.